One of the biggest game-changers in the accountancy profession is the emergent use of cloud accounting, which allows businesses to improve and streamline their operations and accountants to move into a more advisory role.
While the use of the cloud by businesses is increasingly pervasive, some clients may still be apprehensive about making the switch. As an accountant, these are the steps you should take to get your clients cloud ready.
Step 1 – Communicate the benefits of the cloud
According to BlueHub, businesses using cloud technology grow 26% faster and see 21% higher profits than businesses that don’t. Furthermore, more than 80% of businesses have saved money by implementing cloud software.
The benefits of switching to the cloud are abundant, so make sure you have clearly communicated these with your client.
Some of the key benefits for clients include:
- Ability to check accounts and do payroll using any device with an internet connection
- Access up to date information
- Improve efficiency and accuracy by automating labour-intensive tasks
- Reliable storage systems with no danger of missing or lost files
- Easier collaboration between colleagues, as well as your accountant
Step 2 – Profile your clients
Not all clients are the same, and each one is likely to require a tailored approach. First, profile your clients – are they tech savvy, tech curious, or tech cautious?
Your tech savvy clients will already be using the latest apps and gadgets and ready for a relatively seamless transition to the cloud. They may even approach you first about switching to cloud accounting.
Your tech curious clients may seek out guidance wanting to improve their operations and be more involved with their business accounting. It may be best to start them out using an expenses and invoices app until they are comfortable with the processes.
Your tech cautious clients are likely to be paper-based and unfamiliar with online banking or social media. You may choose to leave them out of your first iteration, and come back to them later.
Step 3 – Tailor your approach
Once you have profiled your clients, the next step is figuring out what approach to cloud conversion will best suit them, and identify the level of training and guidance they will require. Help all clients visualise a clear path in the transition process. It is important to have an onboarding plan and to stick to it. Make sure to suppoty the process by communicating fiscal and operational incentives.
According to research from Cloud Industry Forum (CIF), 88% of businesses have already adopted cloud services in some form as of March 2017, and 67% of companies expect to increase their use of cloud services by March 2018.
This means that a large portion of your clients may fit the tech savvy profile and already be ready to switch to cloud accounting with the right guidance.
For these clients, involve them in decision-making and ask for their opinions. You should begin delegating tasks, allowing them to become comfortable with the software, but frequently check for understanding.
For tech curious clients, start by clearly outlining expected outcomes and limitations of time and budget. Guide them through the process, working with them to define methods that suit them, and provide appropriate training.
For tech cautious clients, it may be best to postpone transferring them to the cloud until you have done so for your other clients. For the time being, clearly communicate the benefits in making the switch, and understand how to best incentivise them in the future.
Tech cautious clients will require the most support and may delay cloud adoption as far as possible. During the process of adopting the cloud, they are likely to swing between enthusiasm and pessimism as they progress and encounter hurdles. The key is patience, appropriate training, and structured guidance.
There are several inhibitors to the adoption of cloud technology. Many individuals may feel trepidation over the daunting task of learning how to use new software and entrusting unfamiliar technology with such crucial operational tasks.
According to CIF, 70% of businesses cited concerns about data security and 61% about data privacy about moving to the cloud. While cybersecurity is a legitimate concern in the digital age, CIF also reports that 99% of respondents have never experienced a data breach, making these concerns unfounded.
Accountex predicts that by the end of the year over 90% of small and medium-sized businesses will be using cloud accounting software, making the switch a question of when, not if.
Embracing cloud technology can revolutionise the way a business works – from facilitating remote working and improving accuracy to boosting efficiency. With benefits abound, all a client needs is the right adviser to help them make the switch to cloud accounting and embrace the digital revolution.
Find out how Sage can support you in getting your clients ready for the cloud by downloading this guide the cloud.