2 min read April 2023 — In an interview with Invest:, John Lanza, office managing partner and life sciences national industry leader at RSM US LLP, talked about workforce challenges and the impact of integrating technology within the accounting industry, the trend of offshore expansion across all industries and the incentives that New Jersey offers to life sciences companies.
How has the use of technology changed the tax and accounting sector?
We’ve explored the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to address repetitive tasks. For example, filling out state and local sales tax forms is very repetitive because you need to enter the company name, the ID, the address, what the company does, and so on. As such, we have leveraged AI to fill out this routine information for companies, which can alleviate manual processes related to tax filings. We’ve also found that AI can reduce workloads because of speedy automation, which enables us to bring further value to our clients.
Our clients seek an advisory role from us related to technology strategy, which is why it is initially more about listening and analyzing than coming up with a solution. For example, with the low unemployment rate, companies are often looking for more people and need to address trying to do more with less. We might suggest that within their finance department, rather than hiring additional employees, we can provide technology solutions to help with their capacity issues. It’s important to understand business needs, goals and industry perspectives first to provide our clients with the right technology solutions that address their challenges and opportunities.
How would you assess the workforce situation within your industry?
We work within the major life sciences hub, servicing pharmaceutical, biopharma, biotech and medtech companies with industry-focused professionals, with the opportunity to draw upon RSM’s global workforce in India.
Even though India is 12 to 14 hours ahead depending on where you’re located, the time difference is advantageous as it ensures 24-hour coverage.
Clients want to be served and are more receptive to the right person versus where they sit geographically, so we have a good service model around this. Our team in India is a highly skilled and innovative workforce of client service professionals, working together with RSM colleagues in the United States and Canada to fulfill client needs.
We are noticing this trend with big pharma companies, especially those in New Jersey, as well – they are embracing large service centers outside the United States.
How has the life sciences industry grown within the New Jersey region?
While Boston is a big life sciences hub, there is some movement to attract those companies to consider the New Jersey marketplace. New Jersey is the medicine cabinet of the world whereas Boston’s biotech space is nearly at capacity. There is limited space in Cambridge or in the surrounding towns to launch new life sciences companies. Plus operating a business in the Boston market can be more expensive than in New Jersey. In addition, New Jersey now offers enticing incentives to start biotech and biopharma businesses. The Economic Development Authority of New Jersey has really done a great job regarding credits and incentives.
What is your outlook for the public accounting industry overall for the next two to three years?
A primary change that I see impacting the industry is technology-related developments.
Clearly, the use of technology will accelerate in the next two to five years to enhance communication, collaboration, operations, integration and efficiency. Our firm continues to build solutions and implement new technology – we embrace the use of machine learning, AI and the greater tech enablement of our people.
Those firms that fall behind in technology adaptation risk becoming disadvantaged.
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