Accountants are in a privileged position as they are often thought of as trusted advisers, on hand to offer valuable advice to clients seeking guidance. With the increasing adoption of cloud technology in accounting, many clients are now seeking their accountant’s advice on whether they should switch to the cloud. Accountants who have already made the switch may be tempted to encourage all their clients to follow suit, however, the cloud isn’t for everyone. The question is, how do you ensure your advice is sound?
In a recent report on the effects of digital disruption, PwC collated a list of professions that are most at risk from computerisation and technology. Accounting topped that list. Using research undertaken by Oxford University, PwC estimated a 97.5% probability that the accounting profession would become automated in the next 20 years.
But this prediction doesn’t have to spell doom for the accounting sector. Automation – partly encouraged by the capabilities of the cloud – may reduce the time spent on compliance work; but the resulting free time can be spent on value-add work. By providing clients great service on that value-add work, alongside sound advice on issues such as the cloud and accounting software, accountants can make themselves invaluable.
Providing advice is all very well, but it’s important that accountants ensure any advice given is beneficial to the client, not just to themselves. Accountancy firms already in the cloud may wish to streamline their processes, encouraging all their clients onto one cloud accounting platform.
Despite its many benefits, cloud accounting software may not suit all clients. Desktop accounting software or a hosted solution may still be a better fit for some. It’s important for accountants to consider each client’s situation carefully, before providing any advice.
That means thinking about what would work best for that client now and in the future, in order to find the best fit. It means making an informed choice, finding out what’s on offer, and making a recommendation accordingly. Whether that recommendation involves a desktop, hosted or cloud solution, should depend on the needs of the client.
Cloud Accounting Benefits
If you are discussing cloud accounting with your clients, here are some of the benefits you may want to examine.
If your client is always on the go, cloud accounting software could be a good fit. Clients can access and update their accounts wherever, whenever; using their laptop, tablet or smartphone. Being able to update information on-the-fly means accounts should always be up-to-date. For businesses looking to remain agile, being able to check their financial situation and specific accounting data at any time can also be incredibly beneficial.
Collaboration & Sharing
Cloud accounting software allows for easier data sharing and collaboration. Multiple employees can access and update the business’s accounts, with only one version remaining current.
Cloud accounting software can also help increase efficiency; saving time and hassle for both the accountant and client. With real-time access to their clients’ accounts, accountants no longer need to chase up information and signatures from their clients. Instead, the client’s data is transferred automatically, creating prepopulated paperwork that can be signed with a digital signature.
Ease of Use
As well as being easy to access, cloud accounting software can also be easy to use. While switching to the cloud may have its ups and downs, once settled, your client may find their new cloud accounting software less complicated and much easier to use. It’s up to you to find a program that your client can adapt to.
Some clients may be concerned about the security of cloud accounting. To them, it may be worth mentioning the potential problems regarding keeping data in just one place within the physical domain. That data could be subject to theft, fire, flood or natural disaster. By choosing the right cloud provider, your client’s data would be held safely within the cloud, with back-ups routinely being made.
Spreading the Cost
With no upfront costs to worry about, your client will only pay a monthly subscription fee for the cloud accounting service. They can pay-as-they-go, starting and stopping the service as needed.
Making a Recommendation
Once you’ve discussed the pros and cons of cloud accounting with your client, you may want to recommend a specific program – whether cloud-based, hosted or desktop. Features to consider can include local support, convenient all-in-one pricing, a variety of modules and value add-ons, and powerful data integration and information access.