With recent events, one of the questions I’ve been asked a few times is how can firms rebuild their cloud pipelines going forwards?
With major changes to how businesses are operating, plans to digitise their business may have been put on hold or shelved depending on how deeply affected their business is and how long for.
This has now left accounting firms with a hole to fill and these are some steps to take as firms to get back to business.
Here are some thoughts on how this can be done..
Ensure you are keeping in touch with all of the potential cloud conversions your firm had in your pipeline. I would suggest touching base with them once per month to see how business is and what their appetite is. Lots of businesses paused everything without knowing the full story (can’t blame them) but are now getting into the planning phase of how their business survives or thrives from this situation.
Your firm will have a bank of existing clients who are not yet on cloud, have you formed a strategy for how you will be making those businesses aware of the advantages of digital ways of working (including cloud accounting) whilst we are in an uncertain period of prohibitive working? You will need to think about how you make them aware of the benefits of moving to cloud based systems and then educating them that you are the people that can do this for them.
Your firm will have a set of clients already on cloud but perhaps not executing their business effectively on cloud accounting - maybe not having real-time information, not as automated as they could be, are using it in a basic manner and could improve their usage by introducing apps to benefit problematic areas in their business. Essentially they aren’t using the software to the maximum benefit for their business. Again you need to think about the nurture & education process so that clients know what can be achieved.
Now for points 2 & 3, you have exactly the same scenario for non-clients who are yet to move to cloud and will certainly be looking for help if their current cloud advisor isn’t offering support in these areas or are just not up to date with this tech enabled thinking.
Many of the firms I have heard from are looking outside their organisation for new cloud opportunities and my advice is to look in your own estate first at the moment to see who you could move to cloud or improve their cloud. You already have the relationship and trust and the contact.
Once this initial period settles down (June maybe?) I’m anticipating there will be some form of digital transformation grants (and we’ve had some SME’s asking for cost estimates as they are using some of their loan application to digitise their business) that become available for SME’s to move into the digital age. So it’s worth spending time now to make sure your education and processes are in the right shape to benefit SME’s making the most of those and you being able to deliver that service in a commercially viable and efficient service.
Digital Health-checks and Finance Function Reviews are services you should be undertaking with your current clients at the moment - and on the flip-side would be the start of the process for non-clients too, those that are looking to streamline their processes and digitise their businesses.
If you want to learn more about how to offer these as services then this is exactly what we cover in module 3 within our App Advisory Accelerator.