5th October, 2021
Encouraging small and medium business clients to embrace cloud-based working will benefit them and make your job more straightforward, too.
Some business operators, particularly younger owners, don’t need much convincing to move across to cloud-based accounting platforms. But others are more resistant to change.
“The legal profession is a bastion of old-fashioned bookkeeping,” said Sue Tayler, an MYOB Certified Consultant and founder of Effective Services, an accounting and bookkeeping firm in Sydney.
“If a lawyer contacts us and provides a fax number instead of an email address, we know there’s a challenge ahead!”
When small businesses come to understand the upsides of cloud-based accounting practices, resistance melts away. The key is to provide practical examples of how the move will benefit them.
Tayler says she explains the following four advantages to convert prospective clients. They’re also worth sharing with clients who may have moved across to a cloud-based platform but haven’t fully embraced it yet.
If you’ve been using a cloud-based platform for a while, it might be difficult to remember a time when your clients’ banking information didn’t get fed in automatically. But many small and medium businesses still data-enter this info and send it on to their accountants.
Other small and medium business clients might be using a cloud-based platform but not taking advantage of the bank-feed functionality. In both cases, it’s about reassuring clients that bank feeds are safe and reliable.
“Some of them struggle with the idea of being paperless, but once you set them up, the majority are happy,” said Tayler.
Cloud-based platforms have transformed the expensing process: employees can scan receipts with their smartphones and employers can view expense totals in real time.
Some small and medium business clients still want to collect receipts manually and send them on to a bookkeeper for processing, said Tayler.
“But that involves to-ing and fro-ing. The bookkeeper often needs to contact the client for information about how to categorise the expense.”
You can encourage clients to code their own expenses by showing them how simple it is and by noting the money they will save in bookkeeping fees.
The benefits of a client creating, sending and reconciling invoices from a cloud-based platform are numerous: their sales figures update in real time, they can quickly review late payments and their accountant can keep better track of their business fundamentals.
Tayler says a surprising number of business operators cling to old invoicing procedures, such as using Excel spreadsheets. Once they move across, though, they never look back.
“If we can persuade them to use the accounting platform for invoicing, everything else is hunky dory,” said Tayler.
Tayler points out that today’s small and medium businesses have various accounting configurations: some use a separate bookkeeper and tax agent, some look for an all-in-one service, and others try to take on more of the responsibility themselves.
Whatever the setup, cloud-based platforms help things run more smoothly, because different stakeholders can log in to the same system.
“The bookkeeper and the tax agent can collaborate on the client’s behalf,” Tayler said.
“Having one, centralised file to work off means work gets done more easily.”
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