This is a guest post from Richard Francis at Spotlight Reporting.
There is no denying that cloud accounting software is the way to go for the progressive accounting firm and their increasingly tech savvy client-base. It’s ease of use, accessibility and integrations with a range of solutions makes it a far more compelling proposition for most of your clients than the desktop status quo.
The explosion of cloud accounting solution globally presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for our traditional, often slow-to-move industry to really undergo genuine transformation. Data, digitisation and value-added services are all client engagement opportunities made easy and smart by cloud solutions.
How to Hit the Ground Running with Cloud
It is mission critical to have a robust cloud strategy in place to ensure that your firm makes the most out of delivering this option to your customers. The selected cloud solutions must maximise value for them and you.
Your cloud strategy should aim to deliver positive outcomes such as:
- More engaged customers, inspired by your proactivity and use of best-of-breed technology such as Spotlight Reporting
- More engaged staff members, encouraged to be working for a progressive practice
- Access to new fee opportunities, because you should be targeting a massive return on investment
- Process improvement, shaving hours off compliance, reporting, data capture and administrative processes
- Cost savings, as you retire redundant processes, systems and on-premise technology.
But the starting point for any great strategic plan is to discuss, debate and plan. Have a robust planning process – giving it sufficient time, band-width and openness – is all-important. You want to only do this once, do it right.
Defining a Cloud Strategy
Your cloud strategy should encompass:
- Clear quantitative objectives – fee growth and increase in average revenue per customer, for example.
- Outward-facing success metrics – customer satisfaction, new customers attracted, marketing KPI improvement.
- Having a ‘cloud champion’ at each layer of the organisation, including full Partner buy-in. The cloud champion should know most of the tools, so needs the time to research and play. A great resource for this is the Quickbooks apps page.
- Research on what leading peer firms are doing – seek compelling examples.
- Your own robust assessment of the leading cloud accounting software available. Choose based on experience and recommendation, not a sales pitch.
- Investment in deployment. Staff time, training, events, marketing, sales and other ‘non-technical’ activity are often overlooked or starved of oxygen – don’t make that mistake.
- Team engagement and involvement – the strategy needs co-ownership.
- A partnership model. Who can be ‘suppliers for life’? Seek industry partners who genuinely understand the industry and want your firm to succeed.
If you progress these eight points, your strategy is more likely to be solid and your chances of transformational success that much higher. Now is the time to act, seize competitive advantage and build your cloud based accounting firm of the future.
Want to try out cloud accounting software for yourself? Sign up for a free trial of QuickBooks Online here.