I am the director of business accounting solutions at Florida-based firm The LBA Group, a full-service accounting firm founded in 1966. I am here to tell you that in the past two years, this department has doubled its revenue, and a large part of that success comes from the adoption of new technology.
Not only have our technology initiatives helped us bring in new business, but we've expanded overall service offerings and grown accounts with existing clients. The cloud-based technologies we brought in also allowed us to diversify our service offerings, open up interesting new training opportunities, and reallocate resources.
To really amplify technology ROI, it helps to know a new service completely. You have to understand how it works, its features, its best practices, and how to “sell it.” Take any online courses the provider offers and make good friends with a contact there who can lend an on-demand helping hand. Yes, it can be a time-consuming process, but it will pay off.
Below are several steps to how we supercharged the firm’s technology ROI. I hope it can do the same for your firm.
Introduced new services. For the LBA Group, we want technology that allows our firm to expand services or add efficiency to existing services. Cloud-based solutions are very attractive due to their low overhead (no need for extra hardware or expensive software licenses), enhanced security, and the fact that they can bring valuable new tools in to address business challenges. Bringing in new technology has allowed us to greatly expand our bookkeeping, as well as A/P and A/R services.
Enhanced positioning. With the addition of new technology to the firm and the service it brings with them, we can position the LBA Group as a full-service firm that can provide all financial accounting and tax needs. We’ve been able to bring in new clients in the form of business owners who need everything from CFO-level guidance to highly administrative tasks, such as bill pay. And we can do it far more cost-effectively than the hourly rate they’d have to pay for a full-time internal employee.
Training offered. Now that you know the technology, you are in a position to offer your client a valuable new service – training. Clients look to their accounting firms to provide them with the latest information on helpful technologies and how to implement them in a way that best benefits the company. At the LBA Group, the Business Accounting Solutions department offers in-depth training for cloud-based technology. We will go on-site and show them how to set it up, integrate, and customize solutions. It’s a profitable consulting line of work.
Resources reassessed. We created more revenue by evaluating our staffing. Historically, our senior accountants were performing the tasks of keying in the invoices at a higher billing rate. We expanded the department to include staff who can bill at a lower hourly rate, but who are highly versed in Bill.com and focus on the data entry. Clients don’t have to hire and train someone because we’re giving them a Bill.com expert.
Don’t forget the wow factor. Technology can make a powerful statement on its own. Not because of what it is, but because of what it can do for our clients. I am constantly showcasing the technology the LBA Group uses in order to attract new clients. It makes the firm stand out from paper-reliant practices.
For example, when we are speaking to a prospective client, it is easy for us to pull out a mobile phone and show them how they can review, approve, and pay bills with the Bill.com mobile app. Nine times out of 10, clients are blown away by the idea that they can accomplish those tasks from anywhere, at any time, with just their smartphone.
Upsell to existing clients. We make the point to offer accounting-solution services to existing clients as well. We demonstrate the technology we bring in to make those services easy and effective for them. Showing features such as automated and easily customizable approval workflows, audit trails, and document management often offer powerful persuasions for our clients.
When our clients are happy with a service, they will share the word with their contacts – which means more opportunities for the firm to grow. For example, one of our larger clients was taking six to seven weeks to pay their bills. With Bill.com, we reduced that cycle to seven days.
The days of spending a large amount of money for a minimally functioning solution are long gone thanks to advances in cloud-based technologies. When you strategically evaluate and adopt these technologies, you can greatly amplify your ROI and, in fact, use that technology to enhance your firm’s overall profits.
Now is your turn to share insight. What technology initiatives have helped your firm increase revenue?
About the author:
Shelly Lingor is director of business accounting solutions for The LBA Group. She has more than 15 years of experience assisting businesses with bookkeeping, setup, and training on accounting systems and development, and implementation of improved business process optimization using the latest technology.