By Samir Gulati, vice president of Marketing, Appian

Samir Gulati Appian VP, Marketing
Samir Gulati Appian VP, Marketing

Why should finance and accounting businesses invest in product development?

When businesses are able to innovate products and services, organisations can better serve existing customers and attract new ones. Research and development (R&D) plays a crucial role in driving business growth.

The latest Office of National Statistics[1] report shows that the UK is lagging behind competitor nations when it comes to product development investment, and failure to back R&D could result in the slowing of growth for British businesses.


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In light of this research, we commissioned a YouGov study to explore how future fit the R&D departments of UK finance and accounting businesses are in 2016. The data was gathered from business executives from variety of different industries including manufacturing, retail, finance and accounting, legal, IT and telecoms.

Barriers to an efficient R&D process  

The YouGov survey shows that the majority (76 per cent) of finance and accounting (F&A) executives believe that product innovation is important to their business.

However, two main barriers to making product development efficient have been identified by F&A executives. Almost a quarter citing access to the right technology as a key issue, and almost a third say that legislative issues (31 per cent) makes it difficult to bring new products and service to the market, hindering research and development processes.

Let’s look at how these can be overcome.

The importance of using the right technology

Companies that successfully leverage technology within R&D are given an advantage over their competitors. They can identify future problems that require solutions, and act as a catalyst to bring new products to market to grow the business at a faster rate.

New technologies, such as business process management can help banking, finance and accounting executives solve a variety of different problems within the R&D process. Technology platforms can help in two significant ways: first, by making customer data more easily available in the context of R&D decision-making, and second, by accelerating the development and delivery processes for new products and services.

Overcoming legislative barriers through creating awareness

Driving awareness of the benefits of research and development across the c-suite is key to accelerating the testing and delivery of new products and services. It’s important that draconian measures are removed which impede product development by securing the by-in of senior decision makers.

It’s important that businesses understand that the foundation of all strategy is based on a well-informed customer insights. Without this they have no idea of how to make the user-experience better for their customers.

By harnessing customer feedback through R&D software, finance and accounting businesses can capture and analyse this data quickly. These insights can be used to make informed business decisions about the development of new products and services.

In a digital age, it is now possible to record the customer journey every step of the way. It’s crucial that businesses take advantage of the opportunity and are equipped with the right technology to stay competitive.