How the Cloud Enables Business Growth via Flexible Work Styles
For tax preparers living in smaller cities or towns, the ability to grow your business can seem challenging. However, thanks to the beauty of modern technology, there’s one sure-fire way to tackle this issue: accounting using the cloud.
Andrew Wall, owner of Wall CPA, a virtual accounting firm and a Firm of the Future (FOTF), shifted his business to the cloud about five years ago. Thanks to the newfound ability to work from anywhere, Wall has been able to expand his business across the country. As a trusted Intuit partner, Wall shared with us how his business grew by using the Cloud.
It may come as a surprise, but Wall’s first step involves meeting clients face-to-face. “Many clients still want that first meeting face-to-face,” says Wall. “Once I’ve built relationships with people, they’re happy to meet virtually and do everything remotely, but this is such a trust-based business. There’s a lot that goes into the credibility of meeting face-to-face.”
Wall doesn’t always have a permanent office when he meets clients. Instead, as a FOTF, Wall takes advantage of flexible workspaces, such as Regus or Intelligent Office, along with other digital processes to help his firm save on overhead costs.“You’d be amazed how much money is spent on paper and toner in traditional practices and how much could be saved by making it more virtual,” he says. “There’s so many areas where you could get savings and so much of it flows right to the bottom line.”
The Cloud eliminates the barrier to entry to start a business since capital costs, such as expensive computer systems, have now become operating costs, such as paying a monthly fee for cloud-based programs like QuickBooks® Online, adds Wall. Moving to the cloud can be a scary step, but there’s no better time to do it than now since there’s a great amount of support from businesses, says Wall.
Not only does Wall service clients remotely, but he also hires employees who work virtually, too. This reduces his overhead since he can hire employees who don’t live in cities where cost of living is high and he can scale up the size of his operations without being constrained by space.
“One of the biggest benefits of the Cloud and having team members that are remote is that even if you have to build relationships with clients, that’s not every single person on the team,” says Wall. “I have many people on my team that will probably never meet face to face with a client, so those people are working from their homes or their cottage. It gives you the capability of scaling in ways that couldn’t have happened in the past.”
Wall acknowledges that hiring remotely requires a lot of trust. In-person networking events play an important role to maintain and establish that trust, whether it’s with clients or employees. One example Wall mentions is the importance of attending events such as Thrive (currently sold out), where accounting thought leaders are all in one place and sharing valuable insight, he adds. Thrive is also a great event to connect with third-party app providers.
“I build all these relationships virtually or on social media that I may not have ever met in person,” says Wall. “By going out and being able to talk to them in person and synergizing with them adds a whole another dimension to the relationship.”