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Key Issues for Accounting firms adopting Cloud Accounting (plus the ecosystem)

Uncategorized Oct 17, 2019

We have just completed 6 Appacus App Advisory Bootcamps that we held in Birmingham, Edinburgh, Manchester, Leeds, London and Milton Keynes. It's been brilliant to share our knowledge with over 120 attendees and be able to guide them through the knowledge, process and commercial elements needed to make it a viable revenue stream for the firm.

Each session was a brilliant show of collaboration by accounting firms which we continue to see blossom in our free 500+ member Facebook group.

At each of the events, we had some breakout sessions with one of them covering the subject of  "What are the internal blockers from adopting cloud accounting and the ecosystem within your Accounting firm?"

The 21 reasons captured:

Internal Staff

  1. Finding time alongside current job
  2. Lack of training/confidence/understanding
  3. Resistance to change (if it isn't broke don't fix it)
  4. Excited by where we can utilise apps but unsure on the delivery or commercial model
  5. Lack of consistent communications within the accounting firm
  6. Lack of App Knowledge
  7. Training clients takes time (non-chargeable)
  8. Unsure how to make a revenue stream from the Cloud Accounting & associated App Ecosystem 
  9. Tech is moving too quickly...
  10. A threat to employment.
  11. Extra responsibility but no extra capacity
  12. Don't want to be the first to try something
  13. Lack of support for the Cloud Champion - lots of pressure and a single point of failure
  14. Cloud isn't within the current culture of the firm
  15. My clients won't like it
  16. The firm is currently compliance focused
  17. Partners not bought into the need to move forward
  18. No comfort in the way things will work in the future
  19. Unsure how to recharge the costs of subscriptions and implementation
  20. Not enough coverage from the professional bodies in their education
  21. Not seeing a return on investment from existing cloud adoption so reluctant to invest anything more.

However, when you re-categorise these it is down to some fundamental areas:

  • Alignment - no clear top-down vision 
  • Commercials - no plan of how to deliver the Cloud Accounting/App Services with a view to monetising
  • Delivery - no clear processes have been defined or adopted by the firm to deliver the services
  • Resource - no clear resource plan has been put in place due to a lack of understanding of how to monetise these opportunities. Majority of attendees were trying to learn the apps, design processes/services and speak to clients about it alongside another job.
  • Education - no clear education path for staff within the firms, nobody knows whether they are being well educated or undereducated as there is no understanding or indication of the level of knowledge that staff require.

Sadly, there was also an undercurrent of Cloud Champions in attendance feeling that their firms were "talking the talk" but there was a lack of "walking the walk" when it came to the senior members of the firm actually backing the adoption and associated investment (resource than actual costs). Lots of people feeling frustrated that and monitoring their own firms progress with a view to is it covering their own career development and job satisfaction. Interestingly more people thought that a move to industry might be the better option  as they feel it could be the same sh*t but with a different badge at another firm...

And when we ask why they are considering their future it's the same theme - 
"we know what we should be doing but we aren't being allowed to offer these services to our clients because we have so much existing work to complete, we aren't being given the time to make the cloud accounting world come alive and some elements of the firm aren't taking this seriously making it difficult to progress".

And we wonder why the accounting profession isn't retaining or attracting people to it... It isn't all down to a lack of sufficient applicants - we are scaring people away from the profession. One attendee said it would be "
the dream" to be able to focus on cloud accounting only - really sad this is only considered a dream which seems a way off from reality.

So my message to those who are leading firms but are only dipping their toe in the water with cloud accounting - either do it properly or don't do it at all! You are risking your own firms' staff and client base by only doing a half-arsed job...

Our key areas of working with firms in 2020 will be:

  1. Ensuring firms are adopting & implementing cloud accounting to a sufficient level of quality to allow for delivering further services around the insights visible.
  2. Helping firms build out their own App Advisory Function that is repeatable, scalable and profitable.

We will be announcing some new products, services and events for the whole of 2020 in the near future. So, if you'd like to be the first to find out about them register here.

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