Accelerate Cloud Adoption Across Your Firm with These Two Key Hires

April 5, 2017 Jillean Kearney

Accelerate Cloud Adoption Across Your Firm with These Two Key Hires

The transition from a regular ol' accounting firm to a cloud accounting firm has a lot of moving parts. New apps need to be internally implemented and accepted by everyone on the team. New workflows require client buy-in and a revamped onboarding process. Big changes like these can elicit apprehension from an advisor, resulting in cloud adoption being put on pause.

However, fears of a steep learning curve and disruption to client relationships can be quelled by bringing in the right resources. There are two roles that firms can hire to ensure that the transition to cloud accounting is successfully executed for employees and clients. These two roles are:

  • Tech Operations to source, implement and optimize a new tech stack and workflow

  • Client Onboarding to manage the migration of clients to the firm's new tech stack and workflow

 

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To Hire, or Not to Hire? Identifying When Internal Development Makes Sense for New Functions

It's possible that your Tech Ops and Client Onboarding candidates are already part of your team. Supporting and guiding the development of internal staff into these new roles can be a great option. As you review the specs of these two roles below, assess whether any of your current employees would be a good fit. Consider tech-savviness and knowledge of your firm's workflow. Employees strong in both areas could make great candidates for these positions.

If internal development is not an option, external recruitment is the way to go. 
 

Why Technology Operations?

A Technology Operations person will be your firm's resource for finding and implementing a new tech stack to optimize your workflow.

We've previously covered the importance of a Technology Operations Leader – read that here. This is a function crucial to building out technology capabilities as a firm grows. If you currently don’t have the budget to hire someone as senior as a Leader, you can still benefit from a more junior tech resource like a Coordinator. 

This hire will specifically be responsible for finding and implementing the right cloud apps for your firm. They’ll integrate these new apps with your accounting platform and other internal systems. They will also be responsible for internal training programs and easing employees into a new tech stack.

Whether you develop internally or hire externally, you need a good role description. Our recommended list of responsibilities, ideal experience and skills are below.

Responsibilities

  • Ownership of the firm's workflow, and a thorough understanding of its strengths and weaknesses

  • Continually identifying opportunities for efficiency in the firm's workflow, and implementing resulting optimizations

  • Sourcing  potential tech solutions, conducting product trials and experimenting with potential implementation options

  • Integrating new apps into the firm's tech stack to enhance workflow

  • Training and supporting staff to achieve tech stack and workflow mastery

Experience and Skills

Identify the previous experience that will be necessary to fulfill the responsibilities that you have defined. Your Coordinator (or Leader) may need specific experience relevant to your specialties (tax, etc.) or niche. They may need a particular tech, accounting or bookkeeping education – or you may prefer a certain amount of accounting experience.

A successful Technology Operations candidate should have skills like:

  • In-depth knowledge of your accounting platform

  • Ability to create quality bookkeeping product

  • Ability to leverage software sales teams to make a tech stack operational

  • Project management skills to manage new tech adoption

  • Knowledge of APIs (How data is passed between two pieces of software)

  • Ability to diagnose workflow efficiencies
  • Strong communication skills
     

Why Client Onboarding?

The Client Onboarding Manager is responsible for migrating clients to your new cloud-powered tech stack. This is crucial to your cloud transition's success. Cloud-based efficiencies are only possible if you migrate your clients to one tech stack. The last thing you want is your client base using a variety of different and disconnected apps. This prevents your staff from becoming masters of one solution. Efficiency is lost, resulting in clients getting subpar experiences from your firm.

Your Client Onboarding Manager will create the training needed to get your clients up to speed. It's important to make one person responsible for this function. Their focus will ensure that training programs will get better and more effective each time they deliver it. This will speed up your transition. It will reduce client frustrations with learning something new.

Make your Client Onboarding Manager the point person for client questions during client rollout.

Responsibilities

In many cases, this role is well-suited to the tech savvy bookkeeper, discussed in this articleThe tech-savvy bookkeeper continues to deliver great bookkeeping product, but leverages new tech solutions to provide awesome client experiences. This skillset would help a Client Onboarding Manager be successful. 

Some examples of common responsibilities for a Client Onboarding Manager include:

  • Building a process for onboarding clients to new tech

  • Managing the onboarding process from beginning to end

  • Ensuring clients have quick wins (awesome experiences with new apps)

  • Developing and delivering tech training for clients

  • Continually refining the training process

  • Setting client expectations and managing client concerns during the onboarding process

Experience and Skills

To spec out this role, consider how quickly you expect to grow your client base. Identify how much technological change you foresee. Fast growth and a high rate of change will require a more experienced Client Onboarding Manager. 

No matter the level of expertise you deem necessary, common required experience and skills include:

  • Communication skills

  • Training experience

  • Experience with cloud-based apps

  • Project management skills

  • Strong organization skills

  • Bookkeeping experience
     

Wrap Up

When making the transition to the cloud, great practitioners focus on two great outcomes:

  • A great stack of cloud apps

  • Effectively introducing clients to the tech stack

Finding the right Technology Operations and Client Onboarding talent will streamline your firm's transition to cloud. An optimized workflow and a well thought-out onboarding process will result in awesome experiences for your clients.

 

 

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