Cloud-based accounting is an entire eco-system of advisors, vendors and apps. So how do you find the right path to cloud-based success for your firm? Great practitioners make time each quarter to learn more about how they can thrive in the cloud. Here’s four great ways to find out what you need to know.
Create a Learning Plan
The first step in educating yourself about cloud-accounting is to reduce the complexity. Focus on one benefit of the cloud that would make a difference to your firm. Perhaps operational efficiency or improved client satisfaction.
The next step is to develop a quarterly plan for educating yourself on your priority. Identify the different learning opportunities that support your goal. For each activity define when it happens, and who will participate. And make sure to share your plan amongst your team.
Educational Opportunities This Summer
There are many great ways to learn about the cloud this quarter. Conference season is in full swing. There’s lots of seminars and courses to consider. Online events and vendor sessions abound. Here’s four great ways to enhance your cloud expertise.
Xerocon San Francisco
Xero’s annual cloud accounting conference is a great opportunity to listen to amazing speakers, network with other advisors and stay up to date on cloud accounting trends. Think about the value the conference can deliver to you and your clients before it rolls around. Develop a tactical plan based on your firm's needs and goals and make a list of activities that will help you achieve your target. Identify the sessions you want to attend and the people you want to meet. After the conference, follow-up on what you've learned to grow your practice and maximize your conference ROI.
Follow the leaders to stay current
As part of your daily education check out the wealth of online expertise available. Take time each week to check out sites that comment on cloud issues that will help your business. But focus your browsing. Match your firm’s learning priorities against great how-to content. Follow the best two or three experts who speak to your needs. Check out places like The Sleeter Report, Xero, QuickBooks, and Xen Accounting.
Take advantage of free trials
The best type of education involves your clients. Schedule interviews with as many of them as you can. Drill down to learn even more about their business issues. Match the needs you uncover to available cloud-based app solutions. Then take advantage of free trials offered by the vendors. These grace periods allow you the freedom to experiment with the apps. You can test drive them to see if they work as advertised. Get a sense of how they would impact your staff and clients.
Make use of partner/vendor resources
Educate yourself this summer by taking advantage of vendor training. The major accounting platforms like Xero and QuickBooks offer a spectrum of online training. So do most of the more popular apps in the cloud-based eco-system. Many offer courses that lead to advisor accreditation. Hubdoc for instance has ProAdvisor Certification. A great way to learn. And a source of discounts and enhanced service. Choose the training programs that match your firm's learning priorities.
Investing in your firm’s development is key to your continued growth. Maximize your investment by developing a learning plan. One that outlines your key goals and the activities you’ll undertake to meet them. Consider things like Xerocon, online resources, free trials and vendor training opportunities. These great educational interactions will help you take your team and your firm to the next level.