How The Cloud Helps Retain CPA & Bookkeeping Clients
Smartphones and tablets are everywhere, including in the hands of many small business owners – our clients. As a business owner myself, I’ve come to expect anytime-anywhere access to my data and the ability to access it from any device I choose. It’s safe to say that many of our clients feel the same way. As firm owners, it’s up to us to provide this level of convenience to clients and educate them on how to maximize the value of real-time access to their financial information.
Because today’s advanced applications and innovations support instant access to data and documents – for example QuickBooks® Online and online document management – firms should be educating their clients on the value of the cloud and helping them adopt the right technologies to better operate their businesses. This is another area where practitioners can provide leadership and guide their clients toward greater success.
As we think about helping clients understand the cloud and the value it offers them both personally and in their businesses, we have to first think about how we, as practitioners, live and work. For many, a workday no longer consists of sitting at a desk. We live in a mobile society where we travel for networking events, educational conferences and client site visits. Technology enables us to work remotely with ease – answering emails, completing client projects, invoicing and more. Business moves quickly, and it doesn’t wait for us to return to the office. It demands that we work on the go, any time, and from anywhere. The cloud allows us keep business moving even when we are out of the office.
Take a moment to think about how other industries have radically changed as a result of the cloud and mobile technology. Banks have completely transformed the traditional business model by leveraging mobile banking. The travel industry maximized the cloud and mobile to streamline processes via online reservations, check-in and mobile boarding passes. All of these efficiency-accelerating transformations are due to effectively leveraging advanced technologies.
Let’s take a moment and identify a few things we could do to help our clients benefit from the power of connectivity. After all, that’s what the cloud does … it connects us to many facets of our business. A good example is our accounting systems. By guiding our clients toward using online accounting solutions, it puts data at their fingertips, accessible 24/7 from a variety of devices. cloud-based accounting solutions enable business owners to work whenever they need to and review data in an instant to make sound financial decisions.
Expand the vision further by including online document management. How often have any of us needed a document while out of the office, such as a copy of a payable or a contract? Today’s cloud-based document management solutions offer online storage and sharing, putting files just a click away. And, even better, some of these advanced solutions seamlessly integrate with leading online accounting applications. What small client wouldn’t benefit from immediate access to both their accounting files and supporting source documents?
Firms that are implementing cloud systems effectively are those that are enjoying exceptional client satisfaction. These same firms are also running at peak efficiency. The next step is to educate our clients on how the cloud will help them better operate their businesses. Remember, our clients look to us to lead them in the right direction. The cloud is another area where we can do this.
Editor’s Note: Be sure to download a PDF of Darren Root’s new white paper, “You’re Clients are in the Cloud … Can You Deliver?”