Each year at this time, I like to reflect on the past year and let what I’ve learned inform my business goals for the new one. Part of this process involves reexamining the previous year’s digital news and opinion to see if it remains relevant or better yet, useful.

This piece from Accounting Today caught my eye. The top ten accounting tech trends sounded exciting. After all, who doesn’t want to find out if he’s ahead of or behind the technology curve?

My excitement bubble burst when I started reading. Let’s face it. 2014’s trends looked a lot like those from 2013 and 2012 before it. Evaluate the IT environment, integrate technologies, outsource, and increase business intelligence. These are great ideas each and every year they are presented, not trends.

There’s a missing link between these high-level notions and the daily challenges we face. If you’re a CPA or a business owner, you don’t want to ponder technology in the abstract. You need to know what—if any—new or existing technologies can help your business thrive.

What Challenges Will Technology Help Me Meet?

It’s simple. Does your business face an obstacle or have an issue that can be solved with technology? If so, your operation is behind the technology curve until the problem is solved.

Those of us in finance and accounting are always facing new challenges—often the result of adding new clients or preparing for upcoming regulatory changes. That means we’re constantly on the hunt for tools that can add insight to analysis, improve compliance control, or just plain make our jobs easier.

Determining need is easy. Matching that need to the right technology, not so much. Lots of people (including me) offer technology solutions aimed at making your business or firm run better. How do you differentiate the valuable (again me) from the less effective?

Consult with Those You Trust

Talk to people you trust. Personal networking is still the best tool for cutting through the digital white noise. Whether you are just beginning to gather information or are on the cusp of adopting a new technology, it never hurts to ask colleagues and business partners for their opinions.

Our clients often find their way to Entryless by referral or association. For example, Malaysian accounting firm eXtracc engaged with us after learning we were a five-star partner of the cloud accounting software provider Xero.

I credit my personal network with helping me throughout my entrepreneurial journey. When I first started Entryless, the advice I received helped me to avoid pitfalls, dare to test crazy ideas, challenge the status quo, and set the stage for continuous innovation.