iplicit rolls out partner programme for firms targeting mid-market growthby
Mid-market cloud accounting system iplicit has launched an accountancy partner programme for practices looking to support growing clients and win new business with larger entities.
Speaking in the run-up to the partnership’s launch at the AccountingWEB Live Expo, iplicit’s commercial director Paul Sparkes said the accountancy partner programme had been designed to move away from the “one-size-fits-all” nature of many similar accountant-vendor offerings.
Divided into four tiers, from an initial “referral” relationship through to a full channel partner, iplicit’s new partner programme aims to help accountants provide a scalable solution for growing customers, service those wishing to move away from on-premise software or target new markets.
“In my experience, most firms have one or two larger clients in their portfolio,” said Sparkes. “The nature of organisations is that they grow, so a firm might start off with small clients and one or two become big. These organisations often hold on as much as possible, usually out of loyalty to their accountant, but eventually, they develop more complex requirements or their transaction volumes increase beyond a certain level, and accountants risk losing them as clients.”
Complexity and cost
In the past, a combination of complexity and cost has put many accounting firms off venturing into the world of mid-market software, with implementation timescales running into months or years. However, Sparkes is confident that a combination of iplicit’s ease of adoption and the way the partner programme is structured will allow more practices to use the tool.
“iplicit goes live on average in just 16 days, so even smaller practices can develop their team to implement iplicit and generate new revenue streams without the burden of extensive training,” said Sparkes.
“Historically, only the largest accounting practices have catered for the mid-market, but there’s a whole rump of mid-sized firms that have brilliant professional skills but don’t have the resources needed to train,” he continued. “With the referral programme you can get a better price so the customer feels good and you as a firm can charge for your time.”
Sparkes added that the programme will allow firms without extensive experience in serving mid-market customers to “dip their toes in the water” by offering a more sophisticated tool and potentially learning on the job how to be a reseller and outsourcing partner.
The partnership levels are set out below, starting with a relatively simple referral partner relationship and allowing firms to work up the channels to a full partnership.
This first level allows accounting firms to look at the product and assess if it is the right fit for clients. For every existing client or prospect accountants refer to iplicit, they will receive 20% of the agreed year-one licence fees.
Accredited iplicit Implementation Partners can generate implementation fees by helping clients that are too large or complex for SMB cloud accounting tools, like QuickBooks and Xero, onto iplicit. Partners will also receive 20% of the agreed year-one licence fees.
Accountants can choose to adopt iplicit as their go-to solution for clients with more complex requirements such as consolidated multi-company and multi-currency reporting, increased transaction volumes and those who require more in-depth and flexible reporting. Firms can offer a hybrid solution, where the client can employ people to process transactions but also have the power and control of a mid-range system with the accounting firm taking on more complex tasks.
By becoming an iplicit Channel Partner, accountants can own the end-to-end process by engaging with existing customers and new business prospects, managing the pre-sales and sales cycle and taking responsibility for the implementation and ongoing support.
Cloud floats to the top of mid-market agendas
Launched as a product in January 2019, iplicit was originally written by ERP consultant Ian Andrews, who wanted to simplify enterprise accounting software and put it in the cloud.
“We’ve doubled in size over the past 12 months, well above our expectations, and despite the turbulence in the economy, we don’t see that changing,” said Sparkes. “We’ve proved our product is the right one for the market – the next step is to encourage partners to roll it out.”
The vendor reports of market success tally with an overall rise in demand from the mid-market for sophisticated cloud software, as highlighted by AccountingWEB’s Insight research into the topic.
For Sparkes, the Covid lockdowns and subsequent move to hybrid working played a big part in this shift in mindset. “If you’re sat in the same office, it’s easier to paper over the cracks left by manual processes,” he said. “The minute you’ve got a hybrid workforce this can fall apart. Businesses of a certain size need that level of sophistication to ensure things don’t fall down the cracks.”