Head of Insight AccountingWEB UK
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New Support Program for Advisors

Aug 23rd 2018
Head of Insight AccountingWEB UK
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Sage broadens support for accountants at Accountex
Sage_Accountex18_Mark Redstrom
Sage broadens support for accountants at Accountex

In her keynote speech on day 2 of Accountex USA in Boston, Sage executive vice president Jennifer Warawa revealed details of a new client advisory services (CAS) program to help guide practitioners to a new future.

The initiative is free to members of the Sage Accountants Network and is backed with a collection of guides and online tools developed in conjunction with Boomer Consulting. The program is based on eight pillars ranging from business development and pricing through to client engagement and developing talent.

Gary Boomer is a leading figure in practice development on the medium and large firm circuit, but Warawa said the CAS project was designed to “capture what Boomer Consulting has been doing for all these years and make it available to all firms”.

Following the launch, Boomer himself and Sage vice president Ed Kless were lined up to host a “quick start” morning workshop at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. Once the project is rolled out in September, Sage and Boomer will convene subsidised two-day seminars every quarter for network members who want to dig deeper into the subjects covered in the online CAS material.

The practice development and change message will be a familiar one to QuickBooks ProAdvisers, but Warawa acknowledged that in the fast-moving cloud marketplace, the big accounting platform developers need to create the right conditions within firms for the software to bed in successfully.

Things were simpler in the old days when accounting software marketing was all about the technology and products, Warawa told AccountingWEB.

“Does our model work when people have to overcome that huge hurdle of transforming their firm?” she continued. “The demand for business advice isn’t being met and there’s more demand than there is supply. So how do we help them evolve their services?

 “Transformation doesn’t just happen through technology or going online and doing some courses. People need things to get to that point,” Warawa said.

“Maybe they’ve diagnosed the problem, but don’t know how to fix. When it’s such a big undertaking, how do you get started?

“There is no fast track to figuring out what your business strategy is… It’s a conversation and they need the tools to facilitate the conversation. That’s what some of the client advisory services program does,” she said.

The CAS program has been designed to let practitioners move at their own pace with the online training and resources. All of these tools ehlp them build the path

The advisory services program is the latest in a growing collection of accountant support programs to establish Sage’s credibility as a change partner, and fitted very neatly into her Warawa’s talk, which was about facing the future and embracing change.

Warawa talked from personal experience about how hard it is to go through change, having seen major changes at Sage during the past year. “Anytime a company goes through a transformation, some of that is evident in the market. People can feel the changes we’ve been going through and as part of that accountants are becoming more important. That’s where are we going to focus,” she said.

The client advisory services program is not the be all and end all. It’s all about building relationships with accountants and the ground game of people going to see firms.”

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