Most accountants now agree that migration to the cloud is inevitable as it has the power to totally revamp most aspects of your practice – including ways that you probably have never considered.
But here’s the cruel irony: The majority of accountants will go through the pain of migration without realizing much gain. That sounds bizarre, but that’s the reality.
The main reason is simple.
1. Letting Your Thinking Guide Your Actions
Accountants who see migration to the cloud as a hassle are likely to experience minimal benefit from that migration, while the accountants who will benefit the most from the cloud see the migration as an opportunity.
So, to avoid the trap of going through the migration to the cloud with little gain, step one is to internalize this migration as an opportunity and not a pain. Once you have the right outlook, there are four other common traps to avoid so you can maximize the benefits of the cloud.
2. Procrastinating Your Move to the Cloud
If you procrastinate that simply means that you haven’t still mentally accepted migration to the cloud as an opportunity.
Let’s say you migrate to the cloud after most of your accounting clients have already moved to the cloud, using the cloud version of the solution they currently use. At that point, you wouldn’t be left with much opportunity to revamp your practice. You’d once again be forced to follow your clients rather than lead them.
Being proactive is the first requirement to harness the cloud to its fullest.
3. Settling for ‘Cloud’ Versions of Software You Currently Use
If you do not evaluate other options, you will never know what you are truly missing with cloud services. Also, not all software is created equal.
For example, most providers of accounting software copied the same model of do-it-yourself (DIY) that is created primarily for small businesses when they moved to the cloud. But a select few realized the challenges the DIY model creates for accountants.
These solution providers took a different approach and created truly professional accounting systems that also include bookkeeping capabilities. These programs let accountants and clients work collaboratively while accountants remain in command of the entire accounting process.
Explore all available options. That will help you choose the solutions that best utilize the capabilities of the cloud to revamp your practice in ways you never thought possible.
4. Keeping Your Existing Processes
You’ll find that right cloud solutions give you the ability to streamline your workflow. Make the most of this opportunity. This may require you to realign your processes.
For example, if you have been offering payroll services, you may be used to having clients fax you the hours and printing and mailing paychecks. These activities take a lot of staff time, and quite possibly a lot of yours.
There are currently professional payroll systems in the cloud that can generate customized spreadsheets that are automatically sent to your client. They can fill it in and send it back to you. Also, rather than printing the paychecks in your office, either put them in the secure client portal or use secure email so they can print them in their office. By taking advantage of these process improvements, you can make your payroll practice a lot more profitable.
5. Using an Outdated Billing Method
This is perhaps the most critical mistake your firm can make after your cloud migration. If you’re still using an hourly fee model, you need to change to more value-based pricing, and simple math will show you why.
One of the major benefits of the right cloud solutions is they will help you perform your client engagements faster and easier. But if you charge by hour, then you’ll make less money by becoming more efficient! You certainly don’t want that.
The only way to be truly rewarded for your efficiency is to charge a fixed fee for most tax, accounting, and payroll services. A value-based model serves both you and your clients well. As mentioned, you make more money by becoming more efficient.
You also have a more evenly distributed revenue stream that helps you manage your cash flow. And clients are happy to know upfront what their cost will be for your services. By offering them a set fee for your service also helps them manage their cash flow.
The cloud presents you with an unprecedented opportunity to revamp your practice, better serve your clients, and make more money. But to make the most of this opportunity, the first step is the right mindset.