Like what you see? Click here to sign up for Accounting Today's daily newsletter to get the latest news and behind the scenes commentary you won't find anywhere else.
A CPA must be able to fully comprehend their clients’ businesses and financial methods in order to make informed decisions and provide valuable advice. Rather than digging through paper trails and having to conduct labor-intensive research, digital solutions arm CPAs with business ratios, in-depth industry comparison, trending analysis and other key pieces of information instantaneously. Once the accounting industry embraces customer facing, cloud-based solutions, CPAs will be able to increase retention with existing clients and attract new clients with the inherent added value of technological and digital capabilities.
Before selecting a technology you must always consider the needs of your clients. Are they looking to apply for a line of credit? Facilitate faster invoicing? Increase profitability? Knowing and prioritizing your clients’ needs is not only crucial, but also the key component in selecting an effective solution that best suits your individual clients in a timely manner. The essential, core factors of a business’ financial success are unique to each and every organization. An accountant with the ability to gauge the most appropriate action and swiftly advise their client will be more successful in growing their personal revenue.
Cloud-based technology is particularly popular among small businesses. More and more small businesses use some type of cloud-based solution for organizing and tracking their business or financial practices. Cloud-based solutions are the future for small business and the accounting industry. Access to these forms of technology will provide CPAs and firms with a competitive advantage as adoption grows.
While deciding which type of digital solution to invest in, an accountant’s main concern should be implementation. Integration between digital solutions and the most commonly used accounting software platforms. As a result, gone are the days of servers, time consuming installation and employee training. Purchasing cloud or customer facing technology is a worthwhile investment that is user-friendly and generally intuitive. Moreover, digital accounting software is quick to install and easy to customize.
Lastly, but most importantly, cost is of paramount consideration when selecting a solution. Rather than shelling out significant sums of money for costly bulk license agreements and expensive servers, cloud-based accounting technology is either affordable and on-demand or subscription-based by user. Lower costs and more scalability to add users both in the office and remotely can facilitate a decision more quickly and reduces purchasing risk or remorse. The increased reach and accessibility does not only amplify all-involved-party access to the information, but also encourages an increase in client engagement that results in a higher return on investment.
Once in place, digital solutions are helpful resources for accounting firms and can be utilized as a relationship vehicle that facilitates more consistent communication with existing clients. The overall cost-efficiency, functionality and convenience of client-facing, digital solutions are also a tool for attracting new business to your firm. Cloud-based technologies reduce the amount of time and paper, freeing up accountants to be available for their clients as trusted advisors.
James Walter is the CEO and co-founder of Seattle-based Finagraph (formerly known as BBC Easy), which is a provider of best-in-class automated financial intelligence tools and data verification to financial institutions and accounting firms.