Advisors are increasingly being viewed as trusted partners to their small business clients. As cloud technology continues to enable the automation of manual and laborious tasks, accountants and bookkeepers can spend more time developing a better understanding of their clients’ businesses and providing additional services.
One area of advisory that is becoming increasingly valuable in today’s accounting landscape is app advisory. App advisory involves understanding the challenges or opportunities that your clients are facing and advising them on the technology that will help them run their business more efficiently.
As an advisor who leverages cloud accounting technology, you might want to consider expanding your services to include app advisory. These types of services are a win-win for both advisors and clients – read on to learn more about the benefits!
Benefits for your clients
The right apps will allow your clients to make better decisions, increase profitability, and take their business to the next level. By providing them with advice on the right apps, you’ll help them lay a foundation for success, win back time, and unlock growth opportunities.
Build a foundation for success
Apps are a key ingredient to running a successful small business – they take care of the administrative heavy lifting, provide secure, anytime access to business information, and create a platform for client-advisor collaboration.
Clients who are caught up in the day-to-day operations of their business might not understand the importance of leveraging the right technology from the get-go. By providing your clients with app advice (which can cover app selection, implementation, training, and support), you are helping to lay a foundation of success from day one. Your expertise will ensure that they have the right technology in place to run their business efficiently today, as well as in the future as their business scales.
Win back time to work on their business
With the right tech stack in place, your clients can spend less time doing administrative work, and more time running their business. For your tech-savvy clients, offering advice on apps will help you make quick decisions regarding which tools are best for their business.
App advisory will also allow you to quickly identify the time-consuming, manual processes that are slowing business owners down, and implement solutions that will allow them to win back that time. For example, Steph Hinds, founder of Growthwise, recognized that both her team and her clients were spending a huge amount of time on document collection and management. Introducing an app solution enabled Growthwise’s clients to save time and focus on more value-creating activities: “Our clients aren’t scrambling and trying to find their documents or having to spend days searching for them. If the client does less admin, they can spend more time leading their team or spending time with their family.”
Unlock growth opportunities
Cloud accounting apps speed up the process of collecting data from your clients and delivering insight on that data. Offering app advisory to your clients will ensure that they have the tools in place that enable you to gather key financial information and offer advice in near real-time.
Whether your client is considering opening a second store, hiring additional employees, or investing in new equipment, more relevant data will enable your clients to make better, faster decisions that will unlock growth opportunities for their business.
Benefits for your practice
Adding app advisory to your service offerings will also benefit your practice – specifically, it can help you increase profit, promote longevity, and improve client relationships.
Grow your revenue
In general, firms that provide advisory services earn considerably more revenue than firms that only offer compliance work. Given the quickly-growing accounting app ecosystem and the increasing importance of cloud technology for business owners, app advisory in particular is becoming a more in-demand and valuable service.
According to Xero’s 2018 USA Industry Performance Report, app advisory was one of the biggest contributors to advisory revenue for accounting firms in 2017, and is one of the most promising areas for firm revenue growth in 2018. Moreover, practices who provide app advice grow revenue 60% faster.
Future-proof your business
Even as automation continues to shape the future of the accounting industry and apps continue to increase the pace and quality of business data, your clients will still crave a human touch when receiving financial advice.
Proactively offering app advice to your clients will provide them with the know-how they need to reap the most benefits from their technology, as well as increase your firm’s longevity as technology continues to evolve. You'll also maintain that human connection, enabling you to demonstrate how much you care about their business and your level of investment in their future.
Strengthen client relationships
Apps are becoming increasingly important for running an efficient small business; however, selecting, implementing, and supporting applications can be a time-consuming and overwhelming task for a busy business owner. Clients who are interested in implementing technology might feel isolated if they pursue this endeavor alone, as well as question the value you provide as their accountant if they’re leading these types of conversations.
Demonstrating your technology expertise will help them to understand how you can provide greater value in more areas of their business, further positioning yourself as a trusted business partner. The more you can demonstrate your value, the more your clients will rely on your expertise, and the more prosperous your relationship will become for both of you!
App advisory has the potential to unlock plenty of benefits for both your practice and your clients. Fortunately, getting started with app advisory doesn’t have to be a daunting task.
Xero’s App Playbook Series provides advisors with the information they need to start offering app advisory services. From explaining how to package this type of service, to comparing the feature functionality of some of the best Xero add-ons, this playbook series will arm you with the tools and information you need to start recommending apps to your clients.
Click to access the Xero App Playbook series below!
About the Author
Paige is a Marketing Specialist at Hubdoc. She is an honors graduate of Western University’s Business Management and Media, Information, & Technoculture programs. Paige loves a good walking meeting, is a firm believer in homemade cards, and with a little coaxing can be convinced to sing at an open mic or a dinner party.Follow on Twitter More Content by Paige Sopik