[IMGCAP(1)]I'm a payroll Betty. I built my firm on payroll services. For those of you who don't know my history, I started using the cloud seven years ago when I was just launching my firm.

I cringe at the thought of a desktop world. You see, even back then there was this cool product called PayCycle that fundamentally changed the way I did payroll. As a result, it transformed how I manage my firm today. The program ran "online.” They didn't call it the cloud in those days.  

Everything happened in real time. It forced me to be more efficient and, more importantly, transparent with my customer. It showed me collaboration could help me create true partnerships with my customers. I love the power of collaboration. The company was really good about communication and transparency; I could trust them to be my partner.  

The cloud has had a tremendous effect on my business and my life.

This past week something happened that I have been dealing with for years, as a cloud-based firm in a social mobile world. Vendors might be able to learn from our experience working in a partnership model with our own customers. Take notes. 

Our current payroll provider was "down" for three days with limited access to payroll. Things happen. I get it. Computers go down. But it was a major inconvenience, as nobody wants their work or their job disrupted. That in itself can be forgiven. However, what they failed to do was communicate and be transparent with us in regards to what was happening, so we in turn struggled to be transparent with our customers. That’s not how you treat a partner. You see, there is chain here.

It just makes us look bad. To our customers, we are the first line of support. Vendors need to realize we are operating in a social mobile world. When you are selling cloud software the sooner you can share the problem with us—your accounting partners—the better, we can then figure out a reasonable solution together. An e-mail blast would be a good first start.

If you don't share problems and you only share the positive, all you are doing is marketing and that is not a partnership. Partnerships are a two-way street, like a marriage—the good and the bad.

We are not going to jump ship over an Internet mishap but we will leave when we don’t feel that you have our best interest at heart. Incidents like this make it seem as if you don’t care about our customers (end users) and ultimately our business.

We want real true partners—not just marketers. The sooner you become transparent with the good, bad, and the ugly, the sooner we will accept that you have our back and want to work together for the consumer through thick and thin.

Right now, though, I’m ready to file separation papers.