Accounting and bookkeeping practices that have yet to migrate their operations to the cloud risk being left behind as native cloud-based practices offer firms more streamlined, efficient solutions that make it easier to work with clients.
Big tech solutions for bookkeepers: how to build your digital ecosystem
Cloud-based accounting software delivers competitive advantages
It doesn't matter if you are an established accounting firm or bookkeeping practice or if you work for yourself, or anything in between, it’s incumbent on you to create the infrastructure that enables your business to thrive. This was the key message at a recent joint webinar hosted by Intuit QuickBooks and Accountants Daily.
Guest speaker Alan Fitzgerald, the ‘software whisperer’, from Practice Connections enthralled the audience with his recommendations and advice about adopting cloud-based technology.
“There’s a lot of technology out there and trying to choose the one that’s right for your situation can be a major challenge,” Alan explained at the start of the session.
He said most accounting and bookkeeping practices face the same challenges, including automating manual processes to uplift productivity gains, streamlining administration including finding documents and collaborating with colleagues. So, it’s unsurprising many firms are future planning and trying to understand what their technology platform is going to look like in the next three to five years.
“One of the things I try to achieve within a firm is to make it easy for them to do business with their clients and make it easier for clients to do business with them. It’s inevitable cloud is going to be part of that progression,” Alan said.
As he noted, now is the perfect time for firms to reconsider their infrastructure and whether it is still fit-for-purpose. “It’s an opportunity to re-evaluate and simplify your processes.”
Given the huge advantages cloud-based software delivers, he cautioned against persisting with legacy vendors that are not cloud natives.
“Those vendors try to innovate, but they are several generations behind vendors that made the progression to the cloud several years ago. Legacy systems are ultimately abandoned because it’s very difficult to put old software into a new environment; it has to be totally rewritten in a native format.”
The message to accounting and bookkeeping practices is if you’re not already in the cloud, now’s the time to explore its potential or risk being left behind.
Making the most of technology
Cloud-based accounting software is so powerful, the opportunities for it to streamline and improve accounting bookkeeping practices are almost endless. What’s important, however, is for firms to build in processes to take advantage of everything the technology has to offer.
“It's very easy to buy a piece of software to fix a problem, without delving into ongoing developments that can make life easier for a firm. Unlike legacy applications, cloud-based software applications typically release updates every few weeks, which are automatically embedded into the system. It’s important to have someone within the firm looking after a particular piece of software, so as enhancements come through, they are shared with the rest of the team,” Alan said.
His final piece of advice was to formulate a solid plan when shifting to cloud-based accounting software: “A journey of a thousand miles, doesn’t start with a step it starts with a plan, because otherwise you're going nowhere.”
The QuickBooks Online advantage
As Meagan Wood, head of advisor strategy at Intuit QuickBooks reminded the audience, last year everyone got to see how important accountants and bookkeepers are to small businesses.
“Many played the role of JobKeeper application master, business coach and counsellor. In fact, Intuit QuickBooks research showed a quarter of small businesses said there was no way they could have survived without the support of their accountant and bookkeeper,” Meagan said.
QuickBooks Online Accountant was a life saver for many accountants and bookkeepers through this period, helping them to manage their clients and workflow and track their time and billing. Additionally, QuickBooks Tax powered by LodgeiT supported firms to manage, prepare and lodge BAS and tax returns. It also allowed accountants to collect electronic signatures to sign reports – essential during lockdowns – and streamline tax processes.
“It’s a cost-effective solution that will have you punching above your weight,” Meagan said.
QuickBooks Online Accountant has lots of features accountants and bookkeepers really value, for instance the ability to schedule your work through templates that enable accountants to set up a process for recurring activities.
The ability to schedule reports is another great feature, whether that’s scheduling transaction reports to send to clients on a weekly or monthly basis or internal work-in-progress and data reports to be distributed to the team on a regular basis.
“Automating everyday tasks is a great time-saver and a way of creating efficiencies. In fact, Intuit QuickBooks incorporates a huge range of processes that free up time, which ultimately has a bottom-line impact,” she said.
From 1 May, Intuit QuickBooks is offering advisers who are new to QuickBooks the opportunity to purchase QuickBooks Online with up to 80 per cent off the recommended retail price locked in for three years*.
Visit QuickBooks or give the team a call on 1800 618 521 to access this great offer.