From XU Magazine, 
Issue 23

Putting the Client at the Core

The next stage of Practice Ignition’s product development puts the accountant-client relationship at the center of everything they do.

For the past seven years, the team at Practice Ignition have been pretty vocal about what they believe in. And now they’re gearing up for what will be their most exciting stage yet...
This article originated from the Xero blog. The XU Hub is an independent news and media platform - for Xero users, by Xero users. Any content, imagery and associated links below are directly from Xero and not produced by the XU Hub.
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We’ve always been strong proponents of fixed-fee proposals, engagement letters, monthly recurring revenue, ledger, and workflow automation.

Why? Because they’re critical for success and sustainable growth. With these methods in place, you focus less on business operations and more on your clients.

However, we recognise that these strong foundations are just that: foundations. In order to help practices grow, we also need to increase the depth of our offerings — so we’re currently building the next stage of our platform.

More freedom, more functionality, and more flexibility.

The Cornerstone of All Successful Practices

We know that the key to running a successful practice isn’t based on having a rock-solid proposals process and relying upon fixed fees (as useful as they might be).

Instead, there’s one major thing that sets the best practices apart from the competition.

They put their clients first: recognising that no two are alike and offering the flexibility to cater to each of their clients’ specific needs. Clients are at the heart of every professional services business. Without them, you wouldn’t have any revenue, gain any referrals, or be able to achieve a modicum of growth. In fact, you wouldn’t even have a practice in the first place.

So what does this mean?

Client-centricity is King. Practices need to expertly cater to each individual client relationship and ensure that they’re making their customers’ lives easier.

But there’s no one way of doing this. There’s no formulaic template that you can simply follow to achieve amazing results, so this is where flexibility comes in. No two customers have the same preferences, needs, or budget — you need to have a certain degree of flexibility if you’re going to successfully cater to their specific needs.

How This Impacts Practice Ignition

We believe that this renewed focus on customer-centricity and flexibility will make us the ideal partner for forward-thinking practices. It’s not simply enough to change our beliefs — we also have to continue to innovate and grow: helping accountants and bookkeepers the world over transform their client relationships.

We’re in the process of transforming Practice Ignition into a platform that can support a wide range of strategies, allowing you to:

  • Instantly see a summary of your client relationships, pricing and billing information, plus insights into how these are changing over time
  • Be more flexible with how you price & bill clients
  • Clearly present phases of work and projects
  • Easily add additional services as the scope of work changes
  • Easily manage renewals and price increases

We recognise that our future relies on adding value at every single stage of the lifecycle between accountants and their clients — it’s as simple as that.

A point-in-time proposal and signature is not the full story, as client relationships are complex and changing. It’s crucial that firms have an audit-ready system of record for 100% of their engagements.

Aligning Goals with Product Values Going Forward

At PI, all product development needs to stack up against our core product values. As we plan new features we look through our customer’s eyes, and ask;

Does this:

  • Help me to make the sale with an impressive proposal?
  • Ensure I get paid for my work?
  • Help me to automate my business processes?
  • Help me to provide an exceptional client experience?
  • Ensure I can measure metrics that matter to make better business decisions?

We’ve distilled the upcoming roadmap into helping our customers achieve four main goals across these product values:

1) Decrease risk
Compliance is becoming increasingly complex — that’s why you need to keep things simple by having an up-to-date system of record that you can always rely on.

2) Save time/save money
By automating your back office processes like sending and managing proposals and engagement letters, and handling billing and collections, you’ll save a significant amount of time, money, and sanity.

3) Retain/increase knowledge
Use all the knowledge at your disposal. Our system of record, combined with on-the-go-metrics, helps you make better business decisions going forward.

4) Make money
Not only will we help you make the initial sale, but we’ll be there every step of the way while you build long-lasting, meaningful client relationships. Happier customers plus a more efficient practice equals more money — simple.

What the Future Holds

We’ve laid the foundations, but it’s now about making the next steps. That’s why we’re currently underway creating a range of exciting new features to make Practice Ignition even better. It’s not enough to simply be the best accounting and bookkeeping automation as of now — we want to help pave the way for the future.

Stay tuned for more updates.

Why leave it there?

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