Earlier this month, we held a webinar on Seizing the Technology Turning Point with 2020 Innovation’s Gordon Gilchrist and our own Damien Greathead. The webinar revolved around a central theme of the imminence of the cloud: it is no longer a question of whether or not cloud accounting will take off, but a question of when non-cloud systems will become totally obsolete. If you missed the webinar (and even if you didn't), here are our 3 top takeaways!
1. Empowering the underdogs
“The really exciting thing,” Damien commented, “is that firms of all sizes have access to the same technology. Whether it’s BDO Drive, whether it’s Propel by Deloitte, they're using exactly the same tools as ABC Accounting, the sole practitioner. And with those tools, without a doubt, small firms have the ability to actually drive this change.”
2. Real-time means real value
Gordon cited a quote from one of his old colleagues that perfectly encapsulated the merit of moving to the cloud: "I have clients that will happily pay ten times more to have me help them with their future than they begrudge paying me to report their past."
Damien then shared a fantastic story from one of our partners: “Mary Hollister, one of our partners, was working one hundred hours a week, seven days a week. A small firm, five people, working with about 300 clients. What she did was, she went to her clients and said, ‘You need to adopt this technology. If you do, you can expect your bill to go down by about 30 percent because it’s going to save me time.’
“She got about 85% of her clients to adopt the technology. At the time, revenue dropped by 50%. However, excitingly she is now 130% up from where she was last year because she was able use the time she saved on data entry to sit down with her clients and discuss their business’ financial health. So revenue dropped in the short-term, but as a result of being able to meet with her clients on a regular basis and identify opportunities for more valuable services, the average transaction value for these clients has more than tripled.”
3. Find your niche
When building your tech stack, you have the opportunity to define exactly what type of clients you would like to work with and what softwares will suit their business needs. “We've got a lot of firms that are developing a wonderful niche practice,” said Damien. “For example, one firm has found a technology stack that works incredibly well for restaurants, so they're growing their client base with more and more restaurants. They're not trying to attract contractors or everyone else, but rather, they're solely recruiting and attracting restaurants from across the country. “That's the exciting opportunity as well: it's not just the restaurants in their 20 mile radius, it's restaurants across the country.
"And now, they're speaking at restaurant events, they're speaking at state events and the cloud department that deals only with restaurants is growing faster than any other part of their business, because it's this one technology stack that they're able to roll out to clients so quickly and easily.”
Gordon pointed out that the niche approach also allows for a stronger marketing tactic: “The more you specialise in serving clients from one industry, the more you can grow in that industry. Using social media and techniques such as search engine optimisation, you can accelerate your perceived specialisation, and hence accelerate your growth in that niche.”
Thank you so much to Gordon – a pleasure as always – and those of you who joined us for the webinar!
If these insights have piqued your interest, make sure to check out our new webinar The Cloud Transition: A 90-Day How-To Guide where we walk you through every step of moving to the cloud. You’ll learn about building a tech stack from scratch, transitioning clients to a new system and much, much more.