What we don’t always fully understand is the intricate features of each system, and what will work efficiently for our clients. Generally speaking, after partaking in conversations with many accountants, the truth is that we as an industry are struggling to keep abreast of the sheer volume of products, versions, features and benefits of accounting software systems, mainly due to the pace at which software providers are moving.
Cloud-based servicing has been a game-changer for the software providers and they are focusing on one product and doing that well – meaning constant change. The difficulties for the accountant and the business owner are ‘Which product is right for whom?’ and ‘How do we keep informed and knowledgeable across all product offerings?’.
A number of accounting practices have navigated the path of following one provider and attempting to specialise in that singular service, bringing up a whole new set of issues that poses the following questions:
- Are you doing the best by your client if that product is not the best fit for their business?
- Could this strategy inhibit your practice from taking on new clients if they ‘love’ an alternative product and don’t want to change?
- Do younger accountants become pigeon-holed and unable to adapt to other systems and change in general?
- If the client is disgruntled with the recommended program, what is their alternative? A new accountant?
For myself, I prefer a good business client who is with me for the long term, rather than a fly-by-nighter – isn’t that why we tailor accounting advice rather than having one answer to fit all? Why is this not the case for the recommendations we make in relation to the systems that our clients use?
I have been as guilty as the next accountant of answering the question ‘What accounting system is best for me?’ incorrectly – I’ve defaulted to the ones I knew well instead of what was ACTUALLY the best solution for my client and, like many accountants, I only knew a few of them well.
I’ve observed in practice, with this major shift to get clients onto the cloud, that the question is becoming more difficult to answer comprehensively. As owners of accounting practices, you want to push this work down to the team for greater efficiency, but find they are now without a process or system to guide them to make these decisions. This change in technology and system offerings is beginning to pose a series of unanswered questions……
And so came the birth and recent launch of Saasset – developed by an accountant for accountants.
Saasset is a cloud-based system that analyses all the products by the major accounting software suppliers and is maintained on a daily basis for all product changes. When an accountant enters in the needs of a business, Saasset is able to compare them to the features and benefits of each product and supply the top three recommendations.
The accountant is then provided with a fully customisable, professional, white labelled software recommendation report, implementation plan, training plan, quote and engagement authority that they can offer to their clients – all branded with their own company branding.
Suddenly, Saasset has turned an ‘off-the-cuff’ software recommendation into something clients are prepared to pay for. In addition, Saasset has assisted the practice in formalising the implementation and training of the product – a part of the solution that is often overlooked, resulting in missing the opportunity for further income derived from this process.
Jane Heidrich was a director and part-owner in Toowoomba accounting firm, McConachie Stedman for 10 years. She has been working in the accounting industry for approximately 25 years and is currently consulting to McConachie Stedman for a number of the larger clients.
Jane specialises in taxation and business advice for small and medium sized business and does extensive work in business development. Jane has always been actively involved in the implementation of many IT systems to improve both the practice and the client experience. She is now using this expertise in developing tools to assist the accounting industry.
Jane is currently CEO and founder of Saasset which is the latest online platform she has developed - it analyses accounting programs for you and your clients to ensure your client is using a ‘best fit’ system for their needs. In addition, Jane is a Director of TaxStrategist, an online tax planning tool for accountants and has been involved with the development of TaxStrategist since it’s inception.