From XU Magazine, 
Issue 29

Ready to support your trade clients as they navigate their digital transformation?

Integrated end-to-end field service software is essential for all leading trade businesses

Trade businesses around the globe are turning to digital solutions, but are you ready to support their transition?
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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Throughout the past decade, digital technology has taken a leap forward. This shift has been echoed through the trade industry with more and more businesses turning to digital solutions and cloud technology. Gone are the days of relying on paper-based workflows or accounting ledgers. Technology is now a go-to for an efficient and productive business. And, the pandemic has only hastened this movement. In fact, a Business Wire report states that in 2020 the global accounting software market was valued at 12.01 billion U.S dollars. That number is expected to grow to an incredible USD $19.59 billion by 2026.

So as we move into 2022, it’s time to take stock of your business services and ask yourself if you are providing your clients with the support and solutions most relevant to them now for their future success. Or more simply, are you ready to support your clients as they make the move to digital solutions?. 

What does it mean to support your clients as they move to digital solutions? 

In the past, the answer to this question would be “use cloud accounting software”. However, the answer is now a little more complex. Along with the movement toward technology-based accounting, industry-specific management software is also on the rise. This type of software goes beyond just accounting software so that in addition to accounting functions, your clients will be able to manage their workflows and activities. But what’s in it for you and your business?

Benefits of creating a digital service solution

The combination of providing your clients with a range of software solutions such as cloud-based operations management software and cloud-based accounting software allows your business to reap the following three rewards:

1. Strengthen your position in the industry
As a forward-thinking firm, you’ll be highly regarded by your peers and the industry. Thinking outside the box, so to speak, will help you strengthen recognition of your brand and help you stand out in the crowd. 

2. Enhance your customer base
The more diversity in service offerings you provide, the bigger your potential customer base. By adding a digital stream to your services, you’ll have access to more clients. These potential clients include those that are already using digital solutions, as well as those that may be looking for a firm with digital expertise to help them make the switch to a digital solution.

3. Add value to your services
Adding a digital stream to your business allows you to extend your services far beyond just accounting into business advisory. It also puts your business above the competition, allows your clients the peace of mind that you’re providing them with a range of knowledge that doesn’t pertain only to their accounting, but to their whole business. If your clients are using both cloud-based operational and accounting software, you’ll also be able to provide them with more in-depth advice about how to succeed in business. This is because you’ll have a full overview of their business and related data so you can easily see where they are making and losing money.

What you need to do to get into digital service offering

If you are thinking about adding to your current services with digital systems, there are a few things to consider. 

1. Ensure you have your cloud-based accounting system sorted
Is your team currently working with a cloud-based accounting system? If not, this is the first step. To extend your services beyond just adding cloud-accounting, you first need to understand cloud accounting. Once you have a thorough understanding of at least one cloud accounting software, then you can move toward adding other software to your tech stack offering. 

2. Identify your niche
If you specialise in working with clients from one industry this will be easy. Work mostly with doctors? Then your niche is medicine. Work mostly with field service businesses? Then that is your niche. Identifying your niche will help you identify which software options to add to your tech stack. It’ll also help you narrow down the best options for your customers. Besides, you don’t want to be recommending software that isn’t up-to-scratch. This gives you time to do your due diligence before you recommend a software. 

3. Choose the software
Once you’ve identified your niche, you can then narrow down the software to recommend your clients. Do your research. What are your clients looking for in a business management software? What pain points do they experience? Once you have answers to these questions, research your options and identify which software helps solve these pain points. An easy way to do this is to make a list. Then, for each software, run down the list adding ticks and crosses where a software provides (and doesn’t provide) a specific feature. This will help you visually identify the best option for your clients. 

Still stuck? Ask an expert! simPRO Partner, App Advisory Plus, helps accountants find the right technology for both your business and your clients. They’ll help you design the best app stack, save unlimited app stacks and generate white-labelled app stack recommendation reports which you can provide to your clients. Asking the experts also has other advantages. App Advisory Plus helps you integrate your onboarding and service delivery systems for your clients. This means even where there are no native integrations, they’ll help you integrate your software!

Thinking about adding to your accounting services and specialising in accounting for field service clients? simPRO partners with a range of accountants, business consultants, wholesalers and cloud-based software platforms to provide a comprehensive service offering to customers and partners alike. 

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