When a client asks you how to manage their finances more effectively, what do you tell them? Do you stress the importance of liquidity and a healthy cashflow? Of invoicing early and often? Of having an adequate paper trail? Do you give them tips for doing things more efficiently?
Perhaps you even go one step further and push them towards simple tools and technologies to help them improve. After all, many chartered accountants now advise businesses – especially small businesses – to take advantage of cloud-based programs and apps that help them, at the very least, to keep track of receipts, expenses and other paperwork.
But are you taking your own advice?
All too often, we find ourselves neglecting to put into practice the very things that we urge our clients to do for their own good. And if you want to stay at the top of your game, you need to start with your own firm.
Let’s take a look at some of the things that Accounting Today’s Top 100 Influential People in Accounting have to say to accountants looking to improve and progress in the industry:
“Take advantage of every learning opportunity you can, ensure that you have technology skills that are at least the equivalent of the average consumer today, and stay on top of new trends. Most importantly, join a progressive firm that understands the positive impact and future implications of being truly relevant to their client base.”
— Jonathan Baron, Managing director, Professional Segment, Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting
“Choose a progressive firm or company that embraces technology and lifelong learning.”
— Erik Asgeirsson, CEO, CPA.com
“These are exciting and frustrating times for young people in our profession… The frustration stems from the fact that that many firms haven’t adapted their business models, technology and processes to keep up with the changing times.”
— Jim Boomer, CIO and shareholder, Boomer Consulting
Keeping abreast of new technology. Keeping up with your clients’ expectations. Futureproofing your business. These are the things that are going to give you the edge. And to make these goals a reality, the smartest, most forward-thinking accountants are looking to the cloud
1. It Removes Bottlenecks
You can’t maximise your productivity and you certainly can’t grow your firm if you’re struggling to manage your workload. Manual processes and traditional ways of sharing information between your team or with your clients mean setbacks and delays: they mean wasted time. Shifting your business to the cloud streamlines access, communication, collaboration and workflows, making you far more agile and effective at what you do.
2. It Improves Your Customer Service
Faster turnaround and communication ultimately means happier clients, and the cloud allows you to be far more responsive, organised and “always-on”. Making the most of these benefits will vastly improve your response times and help you to maintain productive conversations with your clients, leading to stronger, more loyal professional relationships.
3. It Facilitates Analysis
We all know that the modern accountant’s role is no longer limited to number crunching. You’re also supposed to be a strategist, advising on how companies can best leverage their financial situation to meet their business objectives and fuel their growth.
To do that, you’ll need to be able to extract valuable insights from financial information – and to do that quickly and accurately, you’ll need reliable ways to sync, organise and compare data. Switching to a cloud-based platform that draws together all of your documents, programs and business apps in one place is the perfect place to start.
4. It Models Best Practice Advice
There’s no better way to prove the value of your advice than to model how it works in practice, demonstrating the benefits and results. By implementing a top drawer cloud solution that streamlines your own accounting and business processes, you’ll not send out the message that you’re an innovative, tech-savvy firm, you’ll also have a readymade case study to wow your clients and upsell your consulting services. Show, don’t tell!