Accountants should be no strangers to tech, in 2020 McKinsey reported that 66% of UK companies were piloting solutions to automate at least one business process. With such a huge opportunity, it’s no surprise that the number of finance automation options made available since then has grown significantly. This begs the question; how do you go about recommending the right technology to your clients and what’s in it for you?
Review the market regularly
There are so many more systems on offer to Xero users than ever before. The big names in bookkeeping technology from just 5 years ago are already being superseded when you compare what they offer to the feature rich systems available from newer and fast-growing SaaS providers. You only need to see some of the social media coverage of Accountex and similar events to see the rainbow of options revolutionising the lives of Finance Teams across the globe – or so they say. With free trials, online demos, and very little obligation required, it’s easy to explore what’s on offer.
Be less client led to boost client retention
It’s easy to be reactive when it comes to tech, a client is growing and those invoices are still being manually entered, time is tight, so they ask if there is a better way. If you resort to recommending the same system you’re used to, your contingency based methods can see you left behind. The truth is, the different systems on offer all have slightly different features, even if they are trying to automate the same tasks. Being in the know about several options will not just allow you to recommend a more suitable system at a better price for your client, but it will empower you to be proactive, making you able to offer systems ahead of time, giving you a more credible reputation and in turn, better client retention.
Look for the option to reconcile their current systems
SaaS billing models, and direct Xero integrations make it easier than ever to change a system. Plus, getting multiple features (such as approval workflows and OCR invoice extraction) in one system means you don’t need a variety of tools any more. Reconciling software for your clients can save money, drive efficiency and allow you to gain access to some of the newest features on offer, all for a single subscription. For example, with Zahara AP software (available via the Xero app store) you get an advanced, easy to use approval tool, OCR enabled invoice capture facility, plus a variety of enterprise class tools for budgeting, all in one place. Wouldn’t you rather have one system to manage your client’s documents instead of three?
Track the USPs of the systems you champion
All systems have key features that their competition may not offer, it’s important to explore and understand these. For example, a mobile app for approval on the go could be vital to clients with a remote workforce, or a PO facility with budget caps built in can help your clients tightly control spend. Aligning what a system offers with specific client needs can offer huge efficiencies and savings.
Help is for the little ones too
With the typical subscription models offered by many cloud-based systems, the amount you pay is often reflected by the volume of usage, so even the smallest of clients can get a fully functional solution at an entry level price.
Leverage a partner deal
As an accountant you have a lot more power than you may realise. The relationship you have built with your clients is highly sort after by the software providers referred to above. Explore partner programs, understand discounts for referrals and ask for more in exchange for multiple recommendations. As many of the more widely used software options out there are slow to wake up to the increasingly competitive market, a great deal may be there to be had.
With millennials taking up more decision-making positions, technology has never been easier to implement. The battle for talent continues, and automation as an alternative to adding resource, is proving a bigger win than ever for many. This could be a huge opportunity for you, and you need to be asking, are your clients expecting more already?
Zahara is a fully automated AP solution.