Accounting Excellence: How a process workshop helps client tech selection

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Finding the right technology for your clients and firm starts by understanding the pain points at play. Here’s how a process workshop with your clients can achieve this.

The accountancy market has changed. As discussed on April’s Thomson Reuters/Accounting Excellence Talks webcast, Olly Evans from Evans and Partners has clients coming to his firm because they now want more support.

Clients no longer just want compliance-only services, he said, they need day-to-day support and help running their business. But what’s the first step?

“When it comes to deciding on the technology, it usually starts with a conversation with our client and what their pain points are,” said webcast panellist Alex Falcon Huerta, founder of Soaring Falcon Accountancy.


Click here to watch the full broadcast on-demand

So what does this look like in practice? For Evans, clients are empowered when they’re involved in the tech selection process and this makes the transition much easier.

On the webcast, Evans explained how a process workshop with clients is an effective way of showing them the benefits. He said it’s important to look at the business process first because it highlights areas to fix or any tech limitations.

How does a process workshop work?

Evans organises a half-day process workshop that centres around the client's specific pain points.

“We use post-it notes, we get people from across the business into the room, and say what's the things you have to do every day,” said Evans.  

“We get them to write it down on a post-it note and put it on a wall. We organise the process."

“It helps the client realise see how they do things from start to finish. It helps them understand how they can use the tools to enable that process.”

The next step is for the client to identify what their issues are. More post-it notes are dished out. At this stage, the client lists their issues. Namely, what are the things they can’t do?

All of these post-it notes are displayed on the office wall. From here Evans and his team then go through where software could fix those problems - it’s the light bulb moment.

“At the end of the day, we've gone through the whole process, revised it, fixed the issues, and they're on board with the idea of the technology,” concluded Evans.

“So they're already engaged and keen to get it going and not just the finance person or the business owner who is saying that is good - it's the whole team.”

Internal champion

However, the process workshops can only succeed with support from the whole team. Fellow panellist and founder of The Peloton Mike Hutchinson trains all staff on Xero, Receipt Bank and Furtli – tech is the ethos of the company.

Similarly, Evans brings a team member who is deep-rooted with a particular app into the process workshop. Having an internal champion add their expertise to the suggested tech solutions is important because they're using it on a regular basis with clients and internally.

“They can carry on with the app education because apps change a lot and they need to keep up-to-date with the features and they can help train the rest of the team as well,” said Evans about the merits of such role.

 To learn more practice management tips from these tech-first accountants, including seeing a workflow image of this process workshop, watch the Accounting Excellence Talks webcast here.  



What you will learn in this accountant-led webcast

Some of the topics discussed in the Accounting Excellence Talks: Secrets of tech-first firms webcast:

  • Gain practical tips and learn from leading tech-first practitioners who have ingrained technology into every facet of their firm and processes
  • Understand why they selected their chosen mix of software, how they manage many vendors, what their clients say and what problems they’ve solved as a result
  • Get unique insights into the behind-the-scenes working of successful firms who are on the cutting edge of accountancy and hear discussion around implementation and roll out of software

Click here to watch the full broadcast on-demand

About Richard Hattersley

Richard Hattersley

Richard is AccountingWEB's practice correspondent. If you have any comments or suggestions for us get in touch.


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09th May 2018 16:21

Interesting points raised. I completely agree regarding encouraging clients to engage in a business wide workshop. We champion these sessions when helping prospective clients evaluate our financial software. When they work well, they are transformative. On a number of occasions, it is amazing when a cfo sits back during the conversation, and says "In 5 years at this organisation, I have never been aware of some of the issues raised and discussed today - i will prioritise solving them, thank you for bringing them to our attention!"

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