Cloud Accounting - is your firm selling software or offering a business platform?

Over the last 4 years, I (Matt) have been involved in cloud accounting and engaging with accounting firms. I have watched/partaken in hundreds of client meetings, webinars, seminars and exhibitions where I have been listening to accountants explain what they do alongside their chosen cloud accounting software. 

For the majority of these sessions, whether it be 1-2-1 or 1-2-many sessions, they have pretty much launched into software demonstrations... Swinging right to left on the menu tab showing a bank feed, how to raise an invoice, payroll, VAT return process, system settings and some reporting overview. Then, it finishes and it’s over to the business or group of businesses to ask some questions. 

I’ve seen them done to varying levels of quality, some robotic and flat whilst others very engaging - that can make a difference to the outcome of the meeting or session. 

Nowadays, I tend to interrupt but in the early days, I would come away feeling that it was a missed opportunity because the firm is only talking about one piece of software and not a platform for the business(es) to operate on. The offer can be so much different if we introduce some other Apps in and around the cloud accounting software that builds a business platform. 

What can this business platform offer? 

  • Real-time Accounts system
  • Including invoice management 
  • Prospect/Customer Credit Risk Monitoring
  • Efficient Payment Collection
  • Streamlined Credit Control
  • Real-time Profitability Reporting 
  • Indicative Cash-flow Reporting*

*Only the cash flow reporting is potentially an additional cost to the standard cloud accounting platform costs.

You’ll notice I haven’t mentioned streamlined bookkeeping - the reason is, if the business is bought into all of the above services, then in order to get those services they are going to have the incentive to have weekly bookkeeping in place - if they can’t do it then your firm can for them by utilising the invoice automation tools. 

And, for the businesses that we serve, what business problems are we offering solutions for?

  • Financial Visibility 
    • Full and transparent visibility of their financial viability - real-time
    • Indicative cash-flow
  • Improving how quickly they get paid
    • Offering other payment options to their clients other than BACS or cash
    • Vet their prospects for creditworthiness, average payment times and recommended credit levels before agreeing payment terms
    • Monitor existing clients for credit problems so can identify potential issues before they become full-blown bad debt problems
    • Automate chasing invoices and being proactive in telling their customers that an invoice is due. 

Overall, this business platform is allowing the business to make informed decisions using up to date data. 

So, back to my original question, is your firm selling software or a business platform?

Matt

P.S. Have you checked out our free training area here

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