Online Accounting

Mistake – 7 of 12

Not making a decision when it comes to “Online Accounting”

The online experience of those like Crunch and Clever Accounts sets the benchmark for an online experience that many firms don’t even know exists!

Accounting as it should be

Your online obligation

It was an odd conversation the first time we encountered it. We were chatting away with a very good client of ours and they said,

“We want to launch our low cost online accountancy site. However we are concerned that our own existing clients will find the site and we want to avoid that at all costs!”

We asked, “Are your online customers really going to get anything different from your standard clients?”

This one conversation sums up the potential threat, challenge and competition that these beautiful online sites create. It’s hard enough for many accountants to differentiate their firm and their offering from competitors. But imagine explaining to a current client why your online services are so much cheaper! It’s a difficult situation at best but it’s not one we can simply stick our heads in the sand about and pretend it’s going to go away.

Firms must not make the mistake of thinking that doing nothing means this area of rapid growth will pass them by. At some point in the next few months your competitors will market these solutions to your clients. If you don’t find a way of embracing this technology and using it to your own advantage, you will get left behind.

Compliance is under threat

With hundreds of traditional accountancy firms already offering Xero solutions or similar the reality is that traditional compliance work is under threat – right now. What’s more because so much of it can be done online, with ease, and give the client a lower price with access to their accounts online in real time, it’s going to grow in popularity.

Prepare for it, plan for it and be ready!

Perhaps one of the most important ingredients here is the selection, implementation and use of the online system. If you simply leave it for your clients to be approached by a solutions provider, then this is risky ground.

In order for your firm to maximise the opportunities, you need to be involved in the selection, implementation and use of the online system as quickly as possible either by directly hosting the software or by acting as a portal to it. What’s more, you must plan your pricing so that the solutions enable you to concentrate on the profitable value-added services such as management reporting, forecasting and planning – areas where you can make a real difference to the business.

A significant threat from within

External threats are perhaps a little easier to deal with, but threats created by the profession and fellow firms are tougher to handle. As hundreds of firms move towards online solutions at low prices it’s going to spark a price war for the bread and butter compliance work that so many firms need.



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