Don’t succumb to the Doppler effect: unleash the full potential of cloud tech
It’s black, it’s white, the books balance or the books don’t, it’s zero or it’s one - these are a number of reasons why people like dealing with accountants; there is a perception (which can be very comforting) of a lack of spontaneity - i.e. regardless of how much I stuff up my books, I can rely on my accountant to fix it up.
The dilemma facing many firms however, is that whilst their world is very ‘digital’ i.e. zero or one, the rest of the world works in analog - much like the Doppler effect - the siren is making the same noise but depending on your position you hear different pitches.
Nothing has changed with the fundamental data - accountants like that - as it is measurable, but to the listener it is constantly changing. The challenge is get both parties singing at the same pitch.
As professional anxiety transfer specialists, accountants have to balance (no pun intended) the need to have reliable data upon which to work with, whilst encouraging their clients to do as much (or as little) as possible to get the work correct in the first place.
The introduction of the single ledger accounting products such as QuickBooks or Xero has generated the single biggest shift in accounting since the Venetian Monk Pacioli said to his bishop, "Take a look at what I’ve just done....".
Cloud and mobile technology has, as Richard Susskind wonderfully described it in his book ''The future of professions", ‘’Democratised technology’’ and ‘’De-mystified accounting’’ - As someone who studied accounting as part of my qualification back in the, ahem, late 1980’s, I now use QuickBooks to drive my own business. I do not need to know what to put where apart from "is this an expense?" and 'what type is it?'' or to quickly create an invoice for a client and head-scratch where to put the necessary balance; everything else is taken care of by the system.
The true reflection of this is when what was previously unattainable capability is now available on most valuable piece of real-estate in the world - the 4” screen we call a smartphone. It would be an incredibly small audience that does not possess a smartphone these days so it gives rise to the opportunity of providing solutions to small and micro-businesses that can capitalise on incredibly low cost technology.
This democratisation of technology has allowed businesses like plumbers, carpenters, painters, the ability to utilise technology as powerful as companies used 10 or so years ago at a minuscule fraction of the cost - Tradify is a case in point giving trades the ability to capture workflow, scheduling, quoting invoicing in one package that syncs to Xero and QuickBooks for a low monthly fee. Using a system such as this enables them to have better cash flow as bills are paid faster - at the end of the job if using a payment reader from Square they can capture payment immediately and from a business management perspective their bookkeeper and accountants can give real-time advice; this facet alone starts the process for accountants to migrate from compliance related activities to that of advisory which in turn is more profitable - it really is a win-win for everyone. But moves like these need to be encouraged by accounting firms to give guidance on the benefits their clients could expect - Trades people especially talk to each other so it opens up a huge potential revenue stream to offer additional services all by suggesting something that makes everyone’s lives that little bit easier.
By creating a platform within your firm to leverage off the wide range of cloud based apps that cater for a range of service / product offerings, you’ll have people beating a path to your door.
Want to grow your offerings for trade and construction clients? Find out about the Tradify Partner Programme today.
Alan FitzGerald is the founder of Practice Connections and has been in specialist tax & accounting software for over 19 years. He has maintained a broad network of industry specialists locally and globally ensuring his clients are always connected to the best provider(s) for each of their needs. When not in business mode, FitzGerald plays guitar, runs several marathons (albeit slowly), he speaks fluent German, rusty French and is trying to learn Spanish & ukulele, but not at the same time....