Buy vs DIY - Risk and Regulatory System Analysis

Colin Ward
5/30/24 10:38 AM

Head directly to the whitepaper by clicking here.

Technology is critically important for public accounting firms to get right. Pressures from regulators and competitors demand the efficiency, consistency, and differentiation that technology affords. Firms have always had the decision in front of them to 'build vs. buy' each system, choosing the path to either create the system they need from the ground up or buy an enterprise system off-the-shelf.  

Today, a third path has emerged that is an iteration of “build”, which includes elements of 'build' and 'buy' for firms to consider. The third path is to “do it yourself”, or DIY, by purchasing foundational components and layering in configurations and integrations to develop an internal solution. 

The DIY path became viable to consider for public accounting firms with the rise of robust general purpose and open source software. In general, firms take this process for DIY: 

  1. Create business, feature, and technical requirements for the solution
  2. Determine the appropriate architecture and design of the technical solution based on the requirements
  3. Conduct proof of concepts on database management, workflow, rules management, dynamic question management, integration layer, and business reporting foundational software components 
  4. Conduct vendor and security reviews on each foundational software component 
  5. Select the proper foundational software components 
  6. Set up the cloud accounts and configurations where the solution will operate as well as any DevOps pipelines for the development project 
  7. Integrate the foundational software components together in accordance with the requirements, architecture, and design 
  8. Configure and customize the foundational software components in accordance with the requirements, architecture, and design 
  9. Build additional software where the underlying foundational software components do not meet the requirements 
  10. Test the system with stakeholders 
  11. Correct defects from testing 
  12. Deploy the software 

After deployment of the software to the user community, firms selecting DIY are then required to enhance the system based on business needs and regulatory requirements a well as maintain the various versions and security of the underlying foundational software components. 

Firms are left with the same critical decision - how does this compare to buying an enterprise system off the shelf? Should firm's buy or DIY?  Kingland embarked on a study of this question given its prevalence in public accounting. 

In this whitepaper, we examine five different criteria firms should consider when making this kind of decision. Using those criteria, we then put the analysis to practice by undergoing an analysis to answer this question as it pertains to Kingland’s public accounting products. We will specifically look to Kingland's Decision Management and Entity Management products for specific systems examples. 

Read more about this analysis in the whitepaper by clicking here.

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