Moving from Compliance to Advisory: The Way of the Future
There is a recent trend emerging within the accounting industry: CPA firms, accounting professionals, and small-to-medium sized businesses are moving away from traditional, compliance-oriented accounting services (such as preparing financial statements, filing tax returns and bookkeeping) and toward advisory services that aim to make clients lives easier and more productive.
A recent study shows that “90% of CPAs agree that the delivery of digital business processes to clients will become a key in the next five years,” – quite significant for the average accounting professional or bookkeeper that wants to remain competitive in their industry. What’s more, Forbes estimates that 60-70 percent of all software, services, and technology spending will be cloud-based by 2020.
This growing popularity of SaaS and cloud-based accounting supports the fact that advisory services have never been more important, or relevant, to accounting professionals. With increasing availability of cloud-based accounting, professionals will continue to offer advisory services that help their clients grow and optimize their businesses.
How real-time connection in the cloud supports an advisory role
There is a key advantage the cloud has over on premise-based accounting software: connection.
For CPAs and their clients, connecting in the cloud allows easy access to documents while allowing multiple individuals the capability to work on the same file. Additionally, the cloud eliminates the need to carry physical file folders to onsite client meetings, as all financial records are securely accessible via laptops.
Jeff Siegel, Founder and CEO of Sigel Solutions – New England’s Premier QuickBooks Consulting and Bookkeeping Firm – and a customer of Right Networks, says that connecting in the Right Networks Cloud enhances collaboration with his clients:
“We tell our client you can go home and log in, you can be traveling and look something up, you can have your controller or another accounting person log in from their home. They see how much easier it is and how they can forget the IT hassles. The whole nature of the conversation has changed,” said Jeff Siegel, founder and CEO of Siegel Solutions. “Bookkeeping is still an important service, but now we can give our clients so much more. Now we tell our clients, ‘You get 24/7/365 support, daily backups, access from any device, and if you have any questions we’ll log on and look at it. Now we are accessible all the time; we’re a partner in your growth.’”
After moving to the cloud, accounting professionals can establish a central role tracking their client’s day-to-day business and have a more strategic role at the table.
Increased efficiency leaves more time for advisory services
The cloud is a solution that helps increase business productivity and thus profitability. Feedback from accounting professionals already using the cloud points to a boost in productivity based on the resulting freedom from burdensome day-to-day administrative tasks, such as data entry and other reporting duties. CPA firms and accounting professionals can also be far more productive when out in the field, instantly accessing files as needed, managing work processes without having to wait until they’re back on-site, demonstrating products and services, and even processing transactions on the spot.
In addition, cloud-based software is less expensive than in-house software and requires little upfront investment. Companies that opt for SaaS technology find that their annual software expenditures decrease. There are automatic upgrades and there is no need to purchase software CDs or pay for costly disaster-recovery services. And, most SaaS companies offer an all-inclusive package on a subscription basis.
Meg Blair-Valero, President of Nantucket company Fogged In Bookkeeping, is delighted by the savings associated with her experience moving to the cloud:
“When a client introduced us to the cloud, we realized the power and scalability of the technology,” said Megan Blair-Valero, President of Fogged In Bookkeeping. “Fogged In has become a sustaining model for my family, made possible by Intuit’s product and the Right Networks Cloud to allow us to scale at an affordable price point.”
Accountants who have shifted their business to digital cloud-based accounting services are now able to leverage this powerful technology across every part of their business – accounts payable and receivable, bookkeeping, inventory, reporting and payroll – to boost productivity and maximize savings for accounting firms and the clients they serve. This increased efficiency allows them time to focus on being a business advisor to their clients.
Be an advisor to multiple clients… in the cloud
Cloud hosting is the ideal choice for CPA firms with multiple corporate clients. With the cloud, CPA practices can easily access and collaborate on clients’ files with no downtime and without the fear of data loss.
CPA practice owner Erick Spronck moved to the cloud as a means to alleviate some of the stress involved in managing his robust CPA practice, which he founded in 2010. Today he has eight corporate clients that come to him for all their accounting and advisory needs and, on top of that, he owns a handful of other businesses: a Jackson Tax Service franchise with 16 offices, a trucking company, and a few rental properties.
In order to save time and enhance productivity, Erick selected Right Networks as his cloud provider, based on the reliability of their redundant servers, 90-day data backups, and easy-to-use My Account portal that hosts all of his clients’ QuickBooks files. Erick was able to upload eight of his corporate accounts, as well as some of his own operations and personal QuickBooks, onto the Right Networks cloud.
“There are several things that I love about Right Networks. That I can access my QuickBooks files from any computer with Internet. That my staff, who are located in a different state, can also easily work on our client accounting files from either our office or their homes. That the software has proven to be so reliable. And I like the security of knowing I don’t have to worry about computer crashes and worrying about data losses,” said Erick Spronck, founder and owner of various CPA practices including Spring Woods Accounting & Tax Service, ESCA Real Estate Investments, LLC, and Jackson Hewitt Tax Service.
With its utilization of Right Network’s cloud, Erick Spronck’s business is a prime example of how the cloud can help a CPA firm service multiple clients, and focus on the advisory role.
Now, more than ever, CPAs and accounting professionals are moving from compliance and toward advisory. Alongside this trend, CPA firms are leveraging the transformational power of cloud technology and integrating cloud-based services into their business practices. Indeed, moving to the cloud is the way of the future; it is reshaping business processes for the accounting industry, thereby delivering more value to clients while using fewer resources and less time to accomplish the tasks.
If advisory cloud services are the way of the future, don’t get left behind. Start thinking about how technology can help you make the switch today and reap the benefits of tomorrow.