Australia has been in the process of migrating to cloud accounting for some time now. With attractive benefits such as the ability for accountants and their clients to simultaneously view data and work together from their respective workplaces, it’s easy to see why.
The 2015 Cloud Readiness Survey for Australian Accounting Firms revealed a mix of factors that are driving the move to cloud software. Some of these include security and data protection, higher productivity, mobility, better device support and pricing.
Accountants who invest time and money in cloud technology can service their clients more effectively and the efficiencies gained also means they can service more clients from a larger area without compromising on service levels. There is already evidence of firms that have embraced cloud-based accounting, adding large numbers of new clients.
So how do you get ready to embrace the new way of working? Here are five ways to help get your firm cloud-ready:
- Start the conversation - involve & educate your staff: The biggest business decisions start off as team conversations. The decision to migrate to the cloud is vital to your firm’s success and growth, and it is important to get all of the firm’s consultants and bookkeepers involved and educated about the usage and advantages of the cloud.
- Invest in a software that is secure and protects your clients’ information at all times: The accounting profession’s primary concern is fiduciary responsibility; accountants need to feel comfortable that their clients’ information is protected at all times. It is important to invest in a tried and tested, secure software such as Sage One, which helps your firm enhance its efficiency, saves time and money without compromising the security of your clients’ data.
- Take your clients on the journey with you: many small business and individual clients may not be aware of the cloud, its benefits and security measures. Work collaboratively with your clients and keep them informed every step of the way. Reassure them that a move to the cloud will not compromise their data or security, that the cloud has multiple benefits and that you are on this journey together.
- Develop a more consultative approach to clients: As cloud software automates the data entry and processes in reconciliation and accounts payable and receivable, accountants will have more time and incentive to proactively assist their clients’ growth. The classic SME accountant is likely to mature from a desk-bound abacus who rarely sees clients in person, to a better engaged, personable adviser who has deep knowledge of his/her clients’ businesses and is instrumental in solving operational problems to increase performance of the business. This will require a reimagining of the profession, as customer and advisory services become a key point of difference between firms.
- Take the opportunity to rebrand your practice: Market your firm as an innovative 21st century practice that embraces the newest technology. Let the market know that you are now able to provide the necessary accounting/financial services in a more efficient and timely manner. Also inform your existing and prospective clients that you now also offer a new level of advisory services thanks to the increased efficiencies of cloud software.
One thing is for sure, cloud-based accounting is the way of the future, and it is here to stay.
Sage One online accounting is a simple and secure online accounting system. Try it free today.
- Transforming from accounting practice to financial services practice
By Travis Allen, Hillyer Riches
- They said accountants had no future, and they were wrong
By Mark Chapman, H&R Block
- Practical tips for increasing your marketing prowess
By James Solomons, Xero