I was honored this week with the No. 1 position of best business blogs in Australia. Smart company did the review. You can check it out here.
If Accountants want to retain their ‘trusted adviser’ status then they need to be much more involved in their client affairs. They need to get closer to their clients and understand their clients’ financial affairs even more than before. Having deep ‘financial intimacy’ with a client is what needs to be achieved.
Having financial intimacy with a client includes which accounting software they use. No longer are clients going to a retail store and buying a boxed product for their accounting software. The vast majority are buying their software over the internet – not in a box. The software is internet or ‘cloud’ based. The estimate is that around 7% of current businesses use a cloud based accounting product. That number is growing dramatically every month.
Are your clients coming to you for advice which software application they should use or are they just using one recommended by their friends? Surely the Accountant who is ‘doing their books’ should be involved in that decision.
There are some Accountants who are heavily (some aggressively) promoting 1-2 cloud based products yet the majority are not. It is farcical to think that just one application suits every client you have or want. In any Accountants client base the right thing to do is have 2-4 primary applications throughout the client base.
The movement to cloud based applications is one that no one can stop. Social change says that people want the information on their device 24/7 and technology companies are building applications to suit that appetite.
I think you need to get on the front foot and aggressively promote this unique opportunity. That means running information sessions, seminars, webinars, having product champions; KPI’s on how many clients are on cloud and mentioning it in all promotional material.
The major benefit to the Accountant is having real time information where you can offer real time ‘value added’ advice. Instead of having financial intimacy after the fact (up to 18 months later) you can have real time data at your fingertips. By adding value to the data and deepening the financial intimacy the secondary benefit is that you will strengthen the relationship with your clients and keep the client for longer.
Unless you get ‘on the front foot’, promote cloud solutions and add value to the data then someone else will.
If you want to know the ‘nitty gritty’ detail of how you can capitalise on this unique opportunity then I am running a full day seminar in March & April (starting on March 17) this year on the topic. Check out www.cloudseminar.com.au for more information. Click here.
There is one word to describe the future of compliance….commoditized. With a repetitive task eventually systemization kicks in and after that commoditization. Once a product is commoditized then price pressure and new competition takes over. This is what is happening with statutory compliance for individuals and companies.
The reason is simple. Cloud accounting software. New technologies at the clients end makes it far more streamlined, accurate and thus efficient. The data received by the Accountant is more accurate and better quality. There are fewer errors to make at the client end due to the way cloud solutions work. With the data in better shape what that means is that there is less time needed at the Accountants end to finalise the work. The software applications also offer reporting that previously only the external Accountants would provide – such as consolidated executive summaries with key performance indicator variances, budgeting & cash flow analysis.
In the past 18 months I have seen new entrants (Accountants) who have a very low cost base and are offering 50% – 75% reduction on standard compliance work. I am also seeing a growing trend of Accountants setting up teams of people in other countries and offering book keeping & other accounting services for $10-$20 per hour.
The next phase will be when the cloud based systems will offer ‘one click lodgement’ to the government agencies. This will by-pass the Accountant all together for these functions.
The reason this is happening is social change and technology companies who are fighting to remain relevant. Social change says that people want to access information on their mobile device whenever or wherever they want – including accounting and other key business data. It is hard to do that if all the information is on a hard drive at the office!
Technology companies know this and they are either creating new applications that are internet based or they are migrating their current ‘hard drive’ products to be internet based. If they do not then they will go the way of the dinosaur.
Cloud accounting gives the power to the client in real time. Previously the external Accountant had the power.
As an Accountant you cannot stop this. Social change, technology companies and the government are creating this change. You can choose to ignore it or embrace it. Ignore at your peril I say. If you want to embrace it and capitalise on it then you need the right education and tools to help you do that. Starting on March 17 into April 2014 I am running a full day seminar (14 cities) on how you can capitalise on this big issue and amazing opportunity. Go here or more information.
From July 13-17 I am hosting our annual conference in Bali. This time we are opening it up to the world for any Accountant to attend. We already have 340 booked and paid which will make it our biggest most exciting conference ever. I recorded a short video a couple of weeks back. For more information and registration details click here.