It’s great to see more and more accountants now starting to embrace the cloud and, in particular, Xero.  Unfortunately many don’t step back to take in the bigger perspective of ‘the cloud’, with Xero being just one element in the mix for their clients and their own firm.

This means their clients only tap into a fraction of the benefits that cloud computing can offer their businesses.

We are massive fans of the ‘Xero app ecosystem’ they have built through their model of keeping Xero focused on its core functions, while also encouraging independent software providers to develop specialist apps for specific niches and vertical markets. Some of our favourite Xero Add-Ons include GeoOp, Deputy.com, Re-Leased, Vend, Receipt Bank, Invitbox, Debtor Daddy, Fathom and Spotlight. They provide wonderful efficiencies and better data for managing a small or medium-sized business.

And these apps are only a handful of the 300+ Add-on apps available to customise an efficient business platform.

So why is it that many accountants don’t offer their clients these apps and services?

I believe there are five main factors:

1.  Time

Most accountants struggle just to keep up with the latest tax, compliance and legislative issues their clients seek advice on. To also come to grips with over 300 Add-on app options for their clients’ businesses is too much to ask of any one person unless dedicated resources are assigned to this task.

2.  Knowledge

Without the time to devote to understanding the options available most accountants are not in a position to advise on the most suitable apps to meet their clients’ needs. Therefore their clients miss out on advice to help their business and accountants fail to capitalise on opportunities to offer value adding advice that will differentiate them from most other accountants.

3.  Understanding a client’s business

It’s difficult to advise on solutions when the problems are not discussed. Only last week my partner spoke with a new client who had previously mailed their info to their accountant who prepared and returned their tax return (along with their bill). There was no phone call, no discussions about business performance, no strategies given for the coming year. Unfortunately this is a reflection of an industry that focuses on tax lodgement dates and not business advice.

4.  Fear

Accountants as a group like their status as a trusted adviser and many fear losing that status with their client if they involve third party specialist consultants in the mix of advice. Their fear is that their clients might no longer see them as the first port of call when they need business advice, and this will then lead to a loss of the client. Therefore many accountants stay in their advisory bubble and avoid seeking external help to advise their clients. This provides a false sense of security to the accountant.

5.  Lack of Awareness

Most accountants, being busy just keeping up with what they see as their core business–tax and compliance–remain blissfully unaware of the enormous opportunity for them to add value to their clients around cloud-based technology for improving their business processes.  In short, many accountants don’t know what they don’t know. In addition to presenting accountants an opportunity to diversify and deliver a business improvement solution to their clients and generating ongoing value adding advisory services, there are fantastic opportunities for accountants to improve the efficiencies of their own practice.

Seeing that many accountants are missing these cloud computing opportunities, and knowing first-hand the challenges and apprehensions that accountants face when moving into a new advisory role, is why we created Zerobooks.com.

We saw that accountants needed a way to make sure they were helping their clients take advantage of these cloud-computing efficiencies, but they needed an easy way; a way where they could skip the investment of time in going along the considerable learning curve.

We’ve developed Zerobooks.com as an online global bookkeeping service to be a tool for accountants to address these issues. The service has been carefully designed to complement what the accountant does, and not cross over into their advisory work.

Ways that Zerobooks.com helps accountants improve their client relationships and business efficiencies include:

  • Advisory services on the best options to set up a client’s business platform using Xero and the most appropriate Add-On apps for the type of business.
  • Client bookkeeping services to allow clients to focus on building their business and wealth in conjunction with their adviser.
  • Presenting client records to accountants in a uniform, professional format. This allows accountants to focus on value-adding advice, not ‘getting the books in order’ which often results in write-offs from a lot of time getting chewed up fixing this for clients.
  • Outsourced bookkeeping to provide accountants with experienced Xero-accredited staff to prepare accounts to trial balance and also set up Xero electronic workpapers.
  • Our staff can also import data from other programs into Xero ledgers and then set up Xero workpapers for your advisory staff.

The Zerobooks.com model is based on offering an efficient processing platform for a global network of accountants focused on offering business and wealth creation advice to small and medium-sized businesses.

If you’re finding of the five factors outlined above are holding you back from helping your business clients (and your accounting practice!) go to the cloud and improve efficiencies, drop us a line and we’ll have a chat about your options for letting Zerobook.com lighten your load.