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Accountants predict cloud conversion increase

10th Dec 2015
Practice Editor AccountingWEB
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istock_Arda Guldogan

Accountants from 103 firms have vowed to transition 35% of clients to the cloud in 2016. PANALITIX carried out this research as part of their ‘ 9 numbers report’ whitepaper, which answers the nine key questions in the profession.

In terms of actual numbers, the 103 firms questioned currently have 6,733 clients using cloud accounting and their plan is to have 24,024 clients in the cloud within a year. The 103 firms who participated in the survey revealed that on average 11% of their current clients have already embraced the cloud.

Panalitix was prompted to question firms on their client’s cloud use after listing cloud based accounting systems as one of the strategies to grow and develop a firm. The study asked the 103 firms questions around the nine strategies which are grouped into three categories: profit improvement, creating capacity and growing revenue. However, the ‘9 numbers’ report warned: “Accountants who don’t update their business services face a diminishing client and fee base.”

For the accountant, convincing clients to move to the cloud will decrease your working hours, reduce reliance on hiring more staff, and also, accountants no longer required to rekey financial information. While the benefits for the accountant are obvious, convincing your client to transition to the cloud is more difficult. This Panalitix research conveniently coincides with a recent Any Answers discussion which touched on how to convince clients to use cloud software. NH signed a deal with a cloud-based book keeping software-company and turned to the community for suggestions on how to sell the idea to their clients.

Stewie Griffin advised: “Don't sell them the software and don't try to convince them. Show them the benefits - lower fees, saved time, less risk.”

Paul Scholes had similar experience: “The idea is that it should also make the client's life easier as well or, if it's marginal, your fees should reflect the imbalance.  

“In my experience, it is the work sharing, monitoring and support benefits of Cloud accounting that outweigh all others.” 

If you’re at a loss on how to convince clients, Panalitix suggests ways to promote:

  • Efficiency: “When a client is on a cloud system the ‘time taken’ at the Accountants’ end can be up to 60% less than through other systems,” the report says.  Now that the firm is more efficient, the team can find more work to do for the client and charge the same amount of money. 

  • Real time reporting: Panalitix reports that modern business owners demanding real-time information to not only make strategic decisions, but to stay competitive. Cloud accounting will be able to provide that real-time financial information which makes a difference to the client’s business.

Rob Nixon, PANALITIX CEO said: “Clearly this a strategy the UK profession is embracing. And so they should. I have seen at first hand in Australia and New Zealand how having your business clients on cloud accounting is proven to be a more efficient system for both client and Accountant alike.”

If this survey is correct and accountants are successful in their client cloud conversion, software providers look set to triple their business in 2016. 

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Chris M
By mr. mischief
18th Dec 2015 08:23

Not my choice

So far I have had 2 clients come to me on the Cloud, one with Clearbooks and one with Xero.  Both have had INCREASED accounting fees due to these systems:

1.  On Clearbooks a massive difference in the VAT control account which took a long time to pin down - see my posts on this subject.

2.  Meanwhile Xero have punted a payroll module live in what most folk would consider to be beta mode.  The balance sheet dies not tie into the HMRC reports, nor does the P&L.  Support are as useful as a wet fart, saying "They are working on the P60 reports."  WTF!! Working on the P60s with 3 months left to the tax year-end!  See my posts on this subject it is an utter shambles.

So extra fees to both clients in order to sort out what most accounts software packages consider to be the "day job".

Over-hyped, oversold and over here - The Cloud.

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