By Nadine Chetty
You’ve decided to move your business to the cloud? Great decision! Making the move takes some effort, but your business will reap great success in the near future. While there are many aspects to consider, it is important to first create your plan. These steps will help guide you in the right direction.
At this stage you have already finalised your foundation stage. Now comes the implementation, here are some of the processes to follow in becoming a Digital Firm.
- Find Cloud Champions in your firm
Your Cloud Champions will drive the move to the cloud. They need to be tech savvy and should have an accounting and IT background. They should understand the values of the firm as well as the needs of the clients. They will build enthusiasm amongst your team, source the best cloud software and get it implemented. Finding a cloud champion is imperative as they will be the leaders and teachers throughout the implementation phase. Some steps that your Cloud Champion could follow when sourcing the best cloud software could be:
- Start using the cloud solutions
- Utilise the free trial and input data that you have already worked with and see what differences you find
- Understand the Benefits
- Here you can look at how this solution will be beneficial to your firm and your clients and in what way
- Identity Ideal Clients
- Some cloud accounting solutions are great for certain industries, so if you are choosing a specific one, find out exactly what type of client would be best suited for the software
- Finding an App-Stack for your firm
This step involves sourcing the best apps suitable for your firm. Start with your cloud accounting solution. There are several available, but my favourite would be Intuit QuickBooks Online Accountant. You need to pick a provider that can grow with your firm; and QuickBooks Online does just that. It is easy to learn and implement and so versatile that it can be used over several industry types. I would suggest sticking to one accounting software. Next add value-added services to streamline your processes. Once you feel comfortable with those, you could move on to more complex add-ons, such as Point of Sale and detailed reporting systems. Besides cloud accounting software, also look at implementing cloud storage and online meeting solutions. You ultimately want to portray your firm as a digital firm and not just a firm that uses a cloud accounting software.
- Change your culture
Once you have found your perfect cloud solution, the Cloud Champion should introduce it and train the rest of the team. This step is crucial as it will make or break your implementation. The best way to change the culture is by adopting a practical route. The final step is to speak to your clients about your cloud solution and then implementing it at the perfect time. Once you have convinced your team, this would be the time were the certifications would need to happen. Certification of the software that you are using is so important as it lets you fully understand the software and you are thus able to communicate it better to your clients. QuickBooks Online Accountant has a great self-paced certification for you as a firm owner and all your staff.
This roadmap on becoming a digital firm will really put you on the right path of becoming a champion cloud firm. In our firm, we went through many different methods before we found the one that was the recipe for success. Now, whenever we decide to bring on a new App to our Ecosystem, we follow this roadmap and it is a pain-free seamless experience for us, our clients, and our team.
In the next article we will be discussing how to increase your revenue by utilising cloud technology to your advantage and to expand your service offerings. This will be the final advisory process in this series of Transforming your practice with online accounting.
About the author
Nadine Chetty is Saiba member, an accountant in practice and a 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.