An old, veteran salesman used to tell me stories about the good ol’ days of enterprise technology sales from back in the late 1970’s.

He spoke of the fierce competition that existed between his company and a few others – all of which would one day become multi-billion-dollar global giants. He described how in those days, before computers were commonly used in the workplace, everyone used to track their sales prospects data on paper or on white boards.

The competitive sales strategies employed in those days resembled a spy thriller. One of the sales techniques my colleague used was “dumpster diving”: he would wade through the garbage of his competition in search of their lists of prospects. Another ploy was using binoculars to look into the windows of his competition and try to read their white boards. So much as has changed since the days when people relied on paper and whiteboards to track data. Basic spreadsheets gave way, first to desktop client-based sales software such as Goldmine, and then to powerful cloud-based SaaS solutions like Salesforce which are loaded with business intelligence features.

When new ways of working emerge, and there is a need to manage all the compliance and operational changes, we are reminded that manual processes are inefficient and just don’t work at scale. The move to a more remote workforce caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is one workplace concept that is front and center for us all whether we like it or not. According to an extensive 12,000 employee survey conducted by the Boston Consulting Group, “the future of work will be increasingly hybrid” and significantly more remote than pre-pandemic times. As companies deploy a more remote workforce and add new jurisdictions to their operations, their compliance obligations become more operationally complex. Right now, many corporations and their consultants are driving the compliance workflow and record-keeping through spreadsheets, and it harkens back to the days when a trip to the dumpster could mean a face-to-face meeting with your competitor’s VP of Sales.

When the data needed for a company’s compliance is tracked on spreadsheets, the files must be passed around to all those with important roles to play, such as operations, tax, finance, HR, line of business managers, legal, and even government affairs. And when corporations hire CPAs or attorneys to do most of the heavy lifting around compliance, they too, use old-fashioned manual processes that are not scalable. They create spreadsheets, copy and paste the same data, send these spreadsheets to their clients via email for approvals, and hope when they get the spreadsheets back the formulas or data have not been changed. It’s scary when you realize that 88% of spreadsheets have errors – it’s also been called “pandemic” by an expert on bad spreadsheet practices.

If the CPAs and attorneys are not using a technology product specifically built for compliance, such as the BIGcontrols product, the billable hours pile up. They may as well be wearing bell bottoms and sporting a 1970’s hairstyle. Trying to manage a 2020 challenge with retro tools creates more problems than it solves.

BIGcontrols embodies my old colleague’s spirit of doing everything that can be done to help your company eliminate government fines for non-compliance – while preventing the expensive and embarrassing consequences of errors in compliance and record-keeping. And while the story here has focused around compliance, the strategic benefits of using a technology platform like BIGcontrols include a single system of record, an AI recommendation engine, and a 360-degree dashboard view by connecting your company’s entire compliance technology stack.

CPAs and attorneys need technology to enable their services for the modern day delivery of value, and the BIGcontrols product, like Salesforce, makes paper-based solutions and spreadsheets a thing of the past.