A scary new era of Slack accountants

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Trent McLaren
Head of Accounting & Sales Development
Practice Ignition
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There is a new era of Slack accountants on the rise and it’s incredibly scary. Scary good that is. Accounting firms have become API (application program interface) obsessed, and you better believe it’s happening all around the world.

Accountants are starting to shift their thinking when they decide what platforms and software they are going to implement in their business. And the scary cool thing is they are starting to look outside the accounting industry.

Why? Because the accounting industries incumbent players can’t get their act together when it comes to cloud based practice management.

The impact? Firms are starting to look where they can get their API fix elsewhere.

The solution? The one I want to refer to today is none other than Slack “Where work happens”. I’ll be completely transparent and upfront with you. I’m completely and utterly addicted to Slack. So much so that I get excited whenever someone tells me how they use Slack.

Quick history on Slack and why the rest of this blog is worth your time

Slack is an acronym for “Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge.” After only two years of existence, the company is worth 3.2 billion dollars and it’s incredibly popular with technology companies and start-ups.

Slack is an email-killer. It literally removes the need for any form of internal email communication and replaces it with a simple, cloud, mobile friendly, instant messenger interface. Imagine having a business version of WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.

I referenced before that technology companies and startups use Slack. We use slack at Practice Ignition, Xero use slack, Intuit use slack. Everyone uses Slack. It’s literally a game changer for any type of company with teams, especially remote teams.

Why do accountants care about Slack?

Slack has a huge variety of API (application program interface) integrations available to you. Think about all the automation you love and behold in the accounting industry and then start to think about what you could achieve.

Let me give you a few hints to spark your creativity. New lead or enquiry comes in on your website. This can automatically ping your team, a channel or team member instantly to notify them and link them the details to action (wherever it’s stored, think CRM, think Google sheets etc.) Instant notifications means your speed and reaction to your customer can be lighting fast (I’m a fan of amazing customer experience).

Payment gets declined in your online payment solution: ping, instant notification. New proposal accepted: ping, instant notification. Comments made on your Facebook Page: ping, instant notification. Think about all the things that may require lighting speed reactions that can help impact your business. My answer, find a way to ping it to slack.

Get your entire team on Slack, work collaboratively and watch your productivity and efficiency improve dramatically.

Bonus tip

A lot of this can be tied together using zapier.com, which is the next best thing I love after Slack. Zapier gives you the ability to connect the dots where lines can’t normally be drawn. It allows you to create integrations between products, when the integrations don’t exist to begin with.

I suspect 2018 will be known as the year of the zap in the accounting industry. Accountants will be going gung-ho for solutions like Zapier, as it allows them to feed their craving to connect all their API’s together from website, to accounting solution, to practice management, to marketing solutions, to CRM, to whatever you can possibly imagine.

Zapier.com currently has 750+ integrations available, things like Slack, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Asana, MailChimp, Xero, QuickBooks Online, Practice Ignition, etc. The list goes on, if you can dream it, you can make it happen.

2018 will be a breakout year for accounting firms that want to be able to react like agile tech companies and start-ups. Bobby Chadha recently told a story about how he implemented agile methodologies into his father-in-law’s accounting practice, an idea he borrowed from a Toyota engineer, who designed agile methodologies back in the 80’s.

My point is that accounting firms are starting to think and act like tech companies. This is a great thing as it allows an accounting firm to focus on their clients and how to get their data clean and seamlessly into the rest of their technology stack.

It’s time for you to be a Slack accountant and start making huge strides towards being a reactive firm. I’ve seen use cases of accounting firms that actually use Slack with their clients, which has also been exciting to navigate. Best of luck and happy hunting.

About Trent McLaren

Trent McLaren

Winner - AccountantDaily Thought Leader Of The Year for 2017

I lead a team of spirited people looking to make a difference in the accounting industry as we know it. Elimination of debtors, automated invoicing and the thought of never having to touch your firm's billing again is a reality we deliver to accounting firms all over the world.

I believe that in order to achieve your goals, you must be a leader and a believer. Your peers need to feel part of something real and exciting in order to succeed. Turning up to work is just not enough.

I believe in creating a positive environment that stimulates and motivates people. An environment that allows people to grow, develop and most importantly enjoy their work.

I am the head of accounting at Practice Ignition, a Sydney based start-up born out of an accounting firm, Interactive Accounting. We eliminate debtors and automate your invoicing through our digital proposal and engagement letter builder solution. We service 1000's of accounting firms around the world including the United Kingdom. 

In prior roles I have extensive history with Intuit QuickBooks, Xero, eWAY (online payments) as well as the retail sectors.

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By johnt27
11th Jan 2018 11:57

Couldn't agree more Trent - Slack all the way :)

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12th Jan 2018 09:13

Slack is great. However most accountants will already have a free Slack replacement as part of their Office 365 subscriptions - Microsoft Teams. Not only does it have all the features of Slack such as 3rd part app integrations, but it also has noticeable improvements (Tabs, in-line replies, embedded Office 365 ecosystem). Definitely worth trialling for all those using Office.

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