By Nadine Chetty BAP(SA)
Are you considering moving your firm to the cloud but have no idea where to start? This can be quite a daunting task if you go at it without a plan. I am here to tell you that there is light at the end of the cloud tunnel.
To ensure you are able to get the most from your transformation there are four key steps that I recommend you follow regardless of the Accounting system you use. At my practice we use QuickBooks Online Accountant and before transitioning to the cloud we followed these four steps and we are pleased we did. It ensured we installed a system that could support our business today and as we grew.
So, where do we begin?
- Reassess the Big Picture
You need to assess where your business is now and where you want it to be in five years. Look at your vision and practice mission statement then consider what do you want to achieve in the future? It’s also a good time to review your team, review if you have the skills that will be able to grow as the business evolves. Will your people be able to adapt to the changes that cloud accounting will bring?
- Define your service offerings and niche industry
As clients’ needs are becoming more focussed on advisory and less on compliance, the old way of running our firms is just not going to cut it. The increased demand for advisory does provide the option to employ more staff. Instead of increasing your salary costs however, you could choose to leverage the efficiencies provided by cloud accounting which will provide your team with more time to deliver advisory services.
Another option is to redefine what your niche client or industry is. This approach allows you to provide services that your firm specialises in. Industry specialisation will all you to provide expert advice quickly and easily which will boost profits and client satisfaction.
The ultimate takeaway from this stage is to define your ideal industry and your ideal client.
- Review your tools and processes
Cloud accounting provides enormous cost and efficiency savings. It’s a good idea to review your processes with staff and an expert in the cloud accounting software that you will be using. This will allow you to identify outdated steps in your processes and design new, more efficient ones that eliminate the manual tasks.
If you are like me when I started out, I loved writing down To-Do lists on pieces of paper and keeping track of the monthly tasks on the office whiteboard. But, if you move to the cloud, most of the processes will change so that productivity improvements can be achieved. Everything from daily client contact through to tax returns will be handled in a different, more efficient way.
- Prepare your team for change
Before you begin the move to cloud accounting its vital that your staff are on board. Your entire firm needs to have one end goal in mind and be focussed and ready to work together as a well-oiled machine.
When everyone is pulling in the same direction results will be easier to achieve and your team will be much happier and ready to help. Once you begin the move to the cloud you may need to appoint new roles or reorganise the team to suit your new cloud structure and the skills needed.
Change is sometimes uncomfortable but it really is worth the effort when you consider the benefits that cloud accounting provides. Once you have worked through the foundation stages discussed, you are ready to begin. Do not wait, do not set a future date, begin now; your future self will thank you for it. The time is now to transform your firm!
In the next article, we will look at your roadmap for moving your firm to the cloud, we will explore the implementation stages and provide some tips to help make it a smooth transition.
If you are interested to explore a cloud accounting platform then I recommend QuickBooks Online Accountant, click here to try it. (link: https://quickbooks.intuit.com/za/accountants/)
About the author
Nadine Chetty is an Accountant and Cloud Accounting Specialist. She is also a QuickBooks Certified Advisor and a member of the QuickBooks Trainer/Writer Network. Nadine is based in Johannesburg and the co-founder of Ecomm Accounting Solutions. The practice provides clients with Accounting, Bookkeeping, Tax Preparation, Training, Payroll, Invoice Processing and Business Consulting Services.