There’s no shortage of talk advising businesses to move to the cloud. However, as they say, talk is cheap. Who wants to adjust processes and methods that have worked for years?
Yet the cloud is here. The potential for improving the quality of service for your firm is so massive and unavoidable that for any accounting practice that hasn’t yet made the switch, the cloud becomes an elephant in the room – although perhaps this is better expressed nowadays as an elephant on a cloud!
How much longer can you ignore the elephant on the cloud? As your customers trusted business advisor, how much longer until you lag behind their rapidly evolving needs?
Don’t panic! With a little homework, the process will be simpler than you might think.
“The files and emails I need are on my computer back at the office.”
Nearly all of us have been guilty of offering this apology.
The cloud is designed from the ground-up to make this impossible. With the cloud, everything is accessible from virtually everywhere, at all times, and via a wide variety of computing devices such as phones and tablets as well as traditional desktop computers. Everything is shareable.
There’s no more need for lengthy meetings to hand-off paperwork to your team, or follow-up meetings to discuss progress. All your team needs is right there in the cloud. Often you can integrate into your client’s cloud accounting software too, massively reducing time and cost overheads, and giving an “always on” view into data. You and your team are an everyday advisor to your clients – 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.
Analyze your client list
It’s not uncommon to worry about how exactly you might make a move to the cloud. It’s also perfectly understandable to have concerns about how a switch might affect your business and your client relationships in the short term.
The surprising reality is that it’s all about basic planning.
“The advice that I always give to accounting professionals is to analyze your client list,” says Elaine Clark, Managing Director of an award-winning online accounting firm. Elaine built her firm’s success with the cloud, even designing a cloud system of her own to meet her and her clients’ needs.
“At first [accountants] may look at their client list and think: ‘I can’t move to the cloud, it’s too big of an operation,” continues Clark. “But my advice is to break your list down and consider which clients are going to be more open to moving to the cloud.
“However, to do this you’ve really got to know what you want to do within your practice. Yes, you’ve got to look at your clients, but you’ve also got to look internally at your practice and how you will structure yourself to run a digital practice.”
Five steps to move toward the cloud
Switching a business to the cloud is simple when broken down into five stress-free steps that can form the foundation and blueprint for any firm’s strategy. Here’s a summary.
Step 1: Do your homework
Step 2: Pick the perfect clients
Step 3: Open-up a discussion
Step 4: Get the training you need
Step 5: Train your staff
With the cloud you’ll notice an increase in collaboration across teams, gain easier access to data and a more immediate understanding of your client’s needs. These are just a handful of benefits that gained by using cloud-based solutions.