Why it’s time to pursue mid-market clients and up your game using QuickBooks Online Advanced
For years, the primary focus of our accounting systems’ consulting practice has been to serve mid-sized organizations. Since the early 2000s, we made the concerted effort to work almost exclusively with companies that use QuickBooks® Desktop Enterprise.
Because of this, I am very excited about the newest offering in the QuickBooks Online lineup: QuickBooks Online Advanced. When Intuit® asked me to consider sharing educational content, I jumped at the chance. QuickBooks Online Advanced launched in the second half of 2018 and is the highest tier for QuickBooks Online, above QuickBooks Online Plus. Growing companies have asked for years for an “Enterprise version of QuickBooks Online” and this is the beginning of that journey.
Let’s begin by understanding what is largely referred to as the “mid-market” – mid-sized organizations with approximately 10-100 employees, and revenue between $500,000 and $20 million.
Mid-market companies for us have represented high-value clients. Specializing in this type of businesses results in stronger client connections and often represents higher revenue potential.
By working with this bigger type of businesses, you become familiar with their industry and its challenges, helping to uncover patterns and resolve problems that are typical of the entity. In addition, by working with more of this larger type of businesses, you get to understand and speak their language, and even use their terminology, resulting in deeper customer connections. Projects involving mid-sized organizations often represent higher revenue potential. Why? These are companies that are experiencing high growth and are willing to pay for the help with infrastructure, efficiency, and key performance indicators that are essential for their expansion.
Mid-sized organizations need help with the complexity in finance and operations that accompanies their high growth. More importantly, this high-growth mindset makes these companies more willing to pay for the help. In fundamental terms, these are companies accustomed to writing bigger checks and will not question your billings as some smaller organizations might … let’s face it, we have all been there.
These companies will likely need more advanced systems to help manage their complex operations, including:
- Added functionality beyond simple income and expense tracking.
- Custom fields in their system to track additional data points.
- More users and varying degrees of access permissions.
- Better reporting and insights.
On top of this, they generally need overall advisory services to better manage their business. Because of these and other needs, they are often willing to spend on time-saving systems and processes.
These clients are not afraid to pay for your advice. So, let’s not be afraid of this type of client!
Are you ready for mid-market clients?
Does the idea of focusing on this type of client interest you. Does it motivate you? Mid-sized clients open the opportunity for additional services you may not be providing today:
- Custom workflow training, and personalized training for the client; training that can be leveraged and used across multiple organizations.
- Custom support packages offered to highly trained clients, geared to organizations with high-level accounting or workflow questions.
- Advisory reporting such as multi-company consolidations and comparisons, industry benchmarking, growth, and trend analyses.
Just like a mid-market client is willing to hire you to help them meet their goals and make wise decisions while they are growing – and are not afraid to pay for it – a high value accounting professional is one that seeks out and nurtures high-value clients.
Why QuickBooks Online Advanced?
QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise and QuickBooks Online Advanced are intended to serve larger businesses, or those that have more complex needs. Admittedly, QuickBooks Enterprise, with its inventory functionality, for example, may be more geared toward businesses that are in manufacturing and wholesale, while QuickBooks Online Advanced may be better for larger small businesses that want to be on a Software as a Service (SaaS) model or need access to the larger app ecosystem of QuickBooks Online. Professional services firms, educational institutions, construction and maintenance companies, as well as nonprofit entities are a good fit for QuickBooks Online Advanced.
QuickBooks Online Advanced is designed for growing businesses. Some of the features that help boost productivity include:
- An unlimited chart of accounts, unlimited classes and locations, and up to 25 simultaneous users.
- Custom user permissions, allowing for better segregation of duties.
- Accelerated Invoicing: Importing of invoices from external sources and creating invoices across multiple customers at once.
- Additional transaction custom fields, available for searching, sorting, and filtering in custom reports.
- Advanced reporting, including consolidated reporting across multiple entities, and useful key performance indicators (KPI) such as profitability and cash flow.
What about pricing? What may come as a surprise to some readers, the price tag of QuickBooks Online Advanced is NOT a surprise for mid-sized companies. It is very much in line with the expectation – or even too low! QuickBooks Online Advanced lists for $150 per month – including the 25-user count! Note price discounts exist for existing users and through QuickBooks Solution Providers.
Even for those that are accustomed to the lower costs of previous versions of QuickBooks Online, be mindful that a lot of these users are spending a lot of time on workaround solutions that QuickBooks Online Advanced solves. There is something to be said for the value of time that accountants, business consultants, and clients may be spending on such workaround and appreciate the value of using QuickBooks Online Advanced instead.
This shift in the accountant mindset – this shift to move out of a comfort zone – is what we went through when making the conscious decision to shift our practice to mid-market clients. You can expand your own bottom line by opening up to new and lucrative midsized businesses like we did.
For a long time, our business focus successfully revolved around serving small business clients, working with business owners and operators, and their accountants, helping to implement QuickBooks to run their business. Once we made that shift to working with larger businesses, the opportunities began to appear. Better said, the opportunities were always there – we only then began to recognize and take advantage of them.
This pursuit and concentration on the mid-market client is what fueled our business growth for the years to come. I encourage you to try the same!