Cloud Accounting

Innovative Recruiting To Make Your Practice Competitive

The rules of how you recruit into your Practice are changing. Technology is perhaps the biggest influencer.

Robert Half points out how Workflow Automation has altered Accounting jobs. You can no longer afford to go with traditional approaches in searching for talent.

So what are the new competencies and skills you need to consider while recruiting talent? Are there non-traditional approaches that can work for you?
New Competencies and Skills for the Digital  Practice

Information and Data Stewardship
Driving value-added services to grow your business
Comfortable not just with a technology, but the technology ecosystem itself
Subject matter expertise for content-driven marketing

Non-traditional approaches for acquiring such talent

Channels that others like you are finding more effective
How to take advantage of outcome defined, value based offerings.
Recruit or Out task in an environment where even offshoring has become traditional

Do you have a Tech Talent Challenge?

Technology is revolutionizing the Accounting profession.
The main drivers for this are Cloud applications which allow companies as well as practices faster access to improved business intelligence resulting in an enhanced capability for advising business decision makers.

CPA Australia lists the following tips for harnessing the power of modern technology on its website:

Treat technology as the key to your business success
Use workflow management to assess how technology can help you become more efficient
Commit appropriate levels of expenditure to maintaining and upgrading your IT systems
Embrace the benefits that flexible operating systems and online communication systems, such as the cloud and Skype, can offer clients and staff
Maximise the commodity of time with automation, integrating your systems and processes
Ensure your practice management software is ready for Standard Business Reporting
Utilise data analytics to unlock the hidden drivers of your practice and hone business performance
Explore social media as a business communication tool and to collaborate with peers

To achieve these, you need to answer an important question.

Do you have the required talent deployed in the appropriate role?

Download this important article on “How to apply emerging roles to grow your Practice”

Three Simple and Reliable Upgrades for your Practice

The harnessing of technology, how you position your services and the new expectations from staffing – are each instrumental in developing your Digital Practice. With these 3 initiatives in place, you will be able to drive efficiency within your firm, which in turn brings in the profits for you and your partners. Below is the infographic on the three efficient upgrades for your practice:

Cloud Accounting – The New Competencies

It is now widely accepted that the Accounting and Bookkeeping industry has been irrevocably altered after taking digital impact. The days are not far when manual coding will be taken out, as Rod Drury announced at the Xerocon 2016. Cloud platforms like Xero HQ and their collaborators – more than 500 apps for the accounting industry are laying down the new rules of the game for professional practices. How does this impact the composition of the team that practices need to have for remaining competitive and driving growth?

 Three competencies that would be key drivers of performance in the Cloud Accounting industry:
1. Tech Savvy:
This does not come naturally to most people trained in accounting. Most accountants would prefer to stay within the technology environment they got familiar with. This is why in every geography there has been a dominant accounting application with over 80% share of the small business market. This is of course changing.

2. Resourceful:
Having a collaboration mindset and willing to learn and use new apps and approaches with people in a connected network. This also means being aware of the app landscape and continual skilling up in a few at a time.

3. Workflow and Process competency:
This one is more engineering than accounting. For making full use of the tool, you need to set it up right. In an ecosystem of tools, you need to have your workflow set up right. To do all this, you need good workflow and process competency.
Do you have the right mix of these important competencies in your team today? How easy is it to acquire these competencies? If you are struggling in this area, the good news is that the collaborative economy gives you [...]

Four challenges Bookkeepers face in their business

A survey from the 2014 Bookkeeping Business Benchmark Report conducted by the Australian Bookkeepers Network took a look at the top challenges that bookkeepers face in their business:

Evidently, right up there as one of the biggest concerns for you in business is sourcing new clients. Efforts on this can seem both time-consuming and costly, and often gets bumped to the bottom of the pile when you’re trying to make time for revenue-generating tasks instead. Typically, accountants and bookkeepers are not natural sales people. While they get the job done, they are not so great when it comes to telling everyone about it!
Time Management is also a challenge for many and this may actually be correlated with the challenge of sourcing new clients. One of the ways that you can get great client references is by including business advisory in your service offering. And great client references drive new clients your way.
For time management, I also thought our Ebook on How Accountants and Bookkeepers can save time by Optimizing their Workflow might help. This Ebook generally outlines our experience with Bookkeeping and Accounting firms in Australia and the 5 steps that helped them free up time for themselves.

 

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    6 steps to turbocharge workflow that helps Accountants and Bookkeepers recover Time and Money

6 steps to turbocharge workflow that helps Accountants and Bookkeepers recover Time and Money

Meet Sarah a self-styled aspiring Cloud Accountant! She had been postponing the decision to move to XPM for improving her client workflow management. Although she did have Practice Manager setup, like all other cloud applications she knew she was not using it to its highest potential. Since she was so busy with the daily tasks comprising mainly of Bookkeeping and Compliance, the task of optimizing Practice Manager was kept away for later every time.
Then she met Sally who shared with her how  a friendly Practice Manager Advisor suggested Six Simple Steps that revolutionized her practice workflow and freed up precious time for her.

Step 1: Get all your Client and Client Contact Information into Practice Manager:
Setup all your clients in Practice Manager. Thereby having one place where all Client contact details are available. So you can send emails from within Practice Manager with a click of a button.
Helpful Tip: You can add Custom Fields in the Client Details to add their Skype Details, Dropbox links, Whether they support Essendon or St. Kilda and what not

Step 2 : Take some time and breakdown the work you do in your practice into tasks:
Take some time and breakdown the tasks in your practice which you are being billed for and create rates accordingly. Also set Base Rates for your staff for each of these tasks .
Helpful Tip: Sit down with a Practice Manager Advisor and see how best to organize the work in your practice into tasks in Practice Manager.

Step 3 : Create Job Templates and Recurring Jobs ONCE and your STAFF will know what to do FOREVER:
Set a Job Template and a Recurring Job for each of your clients. Do that once and get notifications of work [...]

Digital Disruption and the Accounting Industry

Accountants, especially the early mover types are advising their clients onto cloud applications like Xero, but the question is: are they themselves taking full advantage of the incoming digital disruption?
Smithink 2020 founding director David Smith talking to AccountantsDaily about digital disruption and the accounting profession says “So the biggest challenge I think is for accounting firms to rethink their own business based on all these developments and be willing to experiment and try different ways of doing things; different ways of engaging with their clients and different services that they can provide. I think many of them are still doing what they’ve always done even though this new technology is there, they’re not leveraging it.”

 Here are 4 ways that might look a bit different to what you are currently doing:

Set up a truly digital workflow that will help virtual engagement. Cloud applications are transforming every process and workflow. It will not be in the distant future when accountants will meet with their clients mostly on high resolution interactive screens. High definition TV steaming through broadband at high quality and consistency will soon make it a preferred option. “I think in the end, people say they’d much rather sit across the desk from somebody but when the clarity and quality of that communication is so good perhaps people will be more comfortable with it and particularly when you get to the next generation, Gen Y etc. they’re going to be even more comfortable again” says David Smith. This ought to convince Accountants to review their current workflows and make the necessary changes that will take advantage of the digital disruption. 

Talent efficiency: It is not only about the cost efficiency of equivalent talent which offshore outsourcing [...]

Getting Ready for the Hollow Out of Work

According to London Business School Professor Lynda Gratton, 47% of the current jobs will be automated in a decade and by 2025, 5 Billion people will have access to the Internet.

“Work is becoming more complex and it’s becoming more complex because work is now hollowing out. There is highly skilled work on one end and low skilled work on the other, but the mid-skilled work has almost completely disappeared,” she says. Gratton says this disappearance of mid-level skill jobs has occurred because more processes have become automated and everything else has been outsourced to countries with a lower labour cost.

How should business leaders get prepared for this new global reality? Here are a two important responses that can make a big difference.

Digitize workflows. Digitizing is fundamentally about seeing things in terms of discrete discontinuous values. You can break down work to discrete components making it easier to identify those which are high skilled, complex and low skilled. Complex work here refers to work that has the constraint of physical availability on location – eg: care giver, cleaner or server.The power of digitization is that it allows you to lay out the workflow in the cloud for maximum cost efficiency.

Deploy Virtual Talent. As we transition from an industrial era to an intelligence era and the rules of the game evolve, the biggest efficiencies are often connected with the placement of talent in the workflow. Low skilled work gets outsourced to countries with a lower labour cost and only complex work gets done on site.  Higher skilled work can be performed by deploying the right talent virtually. A key driver for this is a digitized workflow, where each component is discrete.

StylusFMS helps small and medium sized [...]

Time’s up On Hourly Rate?

“What’s your hourly rate, mate?

Hmmm….that is  a quarter of what goes here….lemme try them out and see….

Wait….the guy over there in the other country… he may not be as switched on…but he’s even cheaper… what the heck, it’s just keying in stuff….nothing’s complicated …..

Hey look, you may be cheap, but I can do the work in a fraction of your time, not to mention the time I spend reviewing your work. I’m beginning to see why your rate may not be as attractive as I thought earlier….”

Some of us have been involved in strikingly similar conversation and others have at least heard it in the market.

Time based billing is fast being replaced by fixed billing. Output and not effort is going to be the focus. Hourly rates provide a perception of cost efficient or premium services as the case may be, but output or deliverable connects with value.

What keeps firms that are not yet on board from getting there sooner?

The answer is Workflow Management. In fact the very workflow culture has to change. It becomes important to understand and define the deliverable that the client values. Then the processes and tasks behind each deliverable needs to be defined. When the discrete components of the workflow become clearly visible, we call it a digitized workflow. Nothing like a digitized workflow for efficient resource management.

Offshore outsourcing for lower hourly and FTE rates may not be as attractive as before. The new wave will be talent engagement with deliverable based billing. Global talent can be mapped on to digitized workflows for improved cost efficiency. Talent engagement will be reviewed and remunerated for deliverable.

6 Reasons Why StylusFMS can assure you greater value through a deliverable based model 

Pioneers of [...]

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    4 Principles for the Open World – What it means to the Accounting Industry

4 Principles for the Open World – What it means to the Accounting Industry

Don Tapscott on Ted talk (Four Principles for the Open World) puts forth a positive picture, arguing that the arc of history is towards openness. A few centuries ago, Guttenberg’s printing press gave man the access to recorded knowledge which paved the way for the creation of corporations, emergence of science and university and eventually the industrial revolution. No wonder that Martin Luther called the printing press “God’s highest act of grace” . The Internet has taken it to a new plane – from recorded knowledge to shared intelligence, accelerating the march towards openness. So here below are the 4 principles according to Tapscott and  a few thoughts on what it could mean to the professional services industry.

Principle #1 – Collaboration: The internet has gone from being a platform for content to becoming a platform for computation. This has ushered in tremendous energies for collaboration. The key factors driving such collaboration are:

First generation digital natives entering the workforce (Stated simply, if you are above 35, you are either a digital immigrant or an aspirant to become one)
The new global economic environment that is altering the boundaries of engagement. Virtual workflows that extend beyond national boundaries are the new reality.
The new paradigm on talent. Tapscott gives the example of a neigbour who after failing to strike gold with his geologist’s research data finally published all these data on the internet and invited the global network to help him find gold in exchange for a reward of half a million dollars. He did find gold that drove up his fortunes ten fold. Most interestingly, the best ideas came not from geologists, but a variety of domains – engineers, software analysts etc.

The question for the [...]