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Cure Your Client's Pain -- And Yours Too!

May 26th 2016
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Recently, I attended a meeting of small business owners and casually asked how many of them enjoyed doing accounting. Out of a group of about 30 business owners, three hands went up.

I’d guess that if you were to poll your own clients, the results wouldn’t be much different. You know from experience that the vast majority of small businesses find accounting work to be a hassle.

For many small business owners, managing accounting functions is simply a distraction from what they love to do - growing their businesses. Accounting is mostly seen as a regulatory burden, and few small businesses use accounting tools proactively to manage their business finances.

Finally, it’s often hard for small businesses to get competent accounting or bookkeeping staff or help. And you know well what the consequences are for you and your clients. For one, you spend a significant amount of your time fixing the bookkeeping errors clients make. Numerous surveys of accounting practices have rated this as one of the major challenges accountants face.

How Did This Happen?

All of the above are the easily foreseeable results of using popular DIY accounting software – solutions that were created for small businesses, but not for professional use.

The question then arises - why recommend these DIY accounting programs to your clients? The response from most accountants is straightforward – “what choice do I have?”

Virtually all of the accounting systems on the market today are DIY systems. Even most cloud-based accounting systems are created primarily for small businesses and are based on the DIY model. Despite knowing that most small businesses don’t like performing accounting tasks, most accounting system software providers continue to push DIY accounting systems to small businesses.

So What’s the Solution?

It’s simple – eliminate the need for small businesses to perform accounting functions in their offices, and have your firm handle all accounting functions for them!

You can become the solution by offering complete accounting services to your clients, including paying bills, recording transactions, performing trial balance work, creating financials, and managing your clients’ cash flow and business finances.

Not surprisingly, accountants usually find that the DIY systems that were created for small businesses aren’t the right solutions to offer complete accounting services to their clients. To deliver such services effectively, you need a cloud-based professional accounting system that lets your staff do what your clients’ staff currently does… only faster, better and more accurately, without leaving your office.

What to Look for in a Professional Accounting System

Not all of your clients will choose to engage you to perform all of their accounting functions, and you’ll have clients who want to continue to do some accounting work. But your professional system should let you work collaboratively with those clients, giving you the ability to customize the system for each client to let them do the tasks they feel comfortable performing.

A professional system should help your firm perform write-up work efficiently for the clients who don’t want to stop writing manual checks. Automatic bank feeds can cut data entry time significantly, reducing your write-up time by 50-70%.

To accommodate the clients who continue to use another system, choose a solution that has powerful trial balance capabilities and lets you prepare fully-customizable financial statements easily. For maximum efficiency, look for a system that lets you easily import client data into your accounting system to perform trial balance work and prepare financials.

And, to help you to offer virtual CFO services to your clients, look for a system that provides a comprehensive dashboard, alerts, and snapshot capabilities.

DIY accounting solutions were a necessity of the desktop, but neither you nor your clients have to live with their limitations any longer. The cloud has opened the door to bring complete accounting services back to accountants. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to grow your practice and serve your clients better.

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This is an AccountingWEB community member blog post. To share your own insights and opinions on the profession, visit the AccountingWEB community blog page.

Replies (3)

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By Jennifercobb
May 27th 2016 13:11 EDT

I find QuickBooks to be sufficiently customizable and effective for many - but not all - SMB clients. Is it DIY - NO!! You still need some accounting background/skills to produce accurate financial reporting.

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By ronhoovercpa
Jul 29th 2016 10:43 EDT

Very well said.
Jennifercobb, I agree with your comments regarding Quickbooks as an effective solution when it's used by someone with an accounting background.

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By mobileaccountantaz
Aug 13th 2016 12:42 EDT

The marketing by Intuit is not only giving business owners a false sense of "I can do it myself" but also undercutting the very people that purchase their products... the accountants and bookkeepers. I cringe when I see a job ad for companies that state "Must know Quickbooks... Accounting background not necessary."

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