You’ve probably heard about the many benefits of cloud bookkeeping technology, but may have concerns about moving to the cloud – especially with regard to your firm’s staff and clients. How will they feel about the transition? What’s the best way to get staff and clients on board? Will the transition actually be worth it?
For a change as big as moving from desktop to cloud software, the best way to understand the potential impact and how to manage the transition is to learn from bookkeeping practices that have made the jump – and landed happier and more successful!
One such firm is Thrive Business Services. Thrive is based in San Diego and was founded in 2014 using traditional desktop software and bookkeeping methodology. Today, they’re 100% cloud-enabled, and were named one of Hubdoc’s Top 50 Cloud Accountants of 2018!
Let’s take a look at some of Thrive’s key learnings from their cloud bookkeeping journey, including how they gained buy-in from staff and clients, and the benefits they’ve experienced as a result of the transition.
Find your “why”
Finding your underlying motivation for moving to the cloud – i.e., connecting to a larger purpose or business goal – will keep you focused during the transition, and can help better position the benefits to staff and clients.
When Thrive began their cloud transition, they connected it with the desire to scale their advisory services. Co-founders Gayle Goldman and Randi Rose recognized the value of advisory services, both as a higher margin offering, and for the additional wealth the service would generate for their clients. Pre-cloud, advisory services were time-consuming and required a lot of manual data collection and data entry. As a result, they struggled to find the capacity to offer advisory to all clients.
Finding your “why” will also make your next steps abundantly clear. For Gayle and Randi, they knew that in order to offer advisory services at scale, they needed to automate data collection and data entry.
“The main goal in starting Thrive was to help our small business clients achieve big dreams, and become more wealthy. Transitioning to the cloud has helped us do that. By taking on products such as Hubdoc that automate document collection and data entry, we’re now able to focus more on advisory services, which have such a big impact on their businesses.”
Gaining internal buy-in
As with any business change, gaining internal buy-in is critical for ensuring success – after all, your staff will be driving the change.
The key to gaining buy-in with your internal team is to position the benefits of the transition as they relate to them. Consider how transitioning to the cloud will help your team overcome particular pain points or open up new opportunities.
Moving to the cloud allowed Thrive to operate 100% remotely. Their staff no longer have to commute to an office every day and are able to work from home (across three time zones!).
Another significant benefit they’ve experienced is that the majority of data entry and document organization is automated. Automation makes their bookkeepers’ lives a lot easier, and also makes it easier for accountants to do the analytical work they love in real-time (as data will be available regardless of where they’re working).
Gaining client buy-in
Once you’ve achieved internal buy-in, it’s time to gain client buy-in. If your clients don’t see the value in a newly proposed workflow, they likely won’t want to take on any new or additional responsibilities as a client.
As with gaining internal buy-in, gaining client buy-in and having cloud conversations is all about positioning the benefits according to what your clients care about most – e.g., increased security, transparency, access to information, and the ability to generate more wealth.
Proving these benefits will be more powerful than simply stating them. The team at Thrive agrees that an important first step for transitioning to the cloud is getting your own business on the cloud. It will be difficult to convey the benefits of cloud technology to your clients if you’re not already utilizing these tools yourself.
Randi shared some of the benefits that their clients have experienced:
“The biggest benefit to our clients is the ability to take ownership over their financials. For instance, when they go to the bank and they’re asked, ‘What was your P&L for last year?’, they’re able to find that information directly in their phone in real-time. That’s powerful. They’re also empowered to keep track of all of their financial documents. This allows them to take full advantage of the benefits of being a business at tax time by helping them provide all important financial documents.”
Amanda Gifford, Accounting Manager at Thrive, also provided a list of benefits experienced by Thrive's clients:
- Receiving better and more timely financial advice from their accountant which can have an enormous impact on their profits
- Real-time access to financial documents and information
- Not receiving constant calls and emails from their bookkeeper about missing financial documents or missing information
Making the jump
By first understanding why you want to make the jump to cloud technologies, then actively working to achieve buy-in from staff and clients, you can truly set yourself up for a successful cloud transition.
Since implementing cloud technology, Thrive has been able to achieve their “why” and make a bigger difference in their clients’ lives.
“Moving to the cloud has had a lot of positives for our firm,” notes Gayle. “We’re able to close the books by the tenth of the following month. We’re receiving our clients' documents in real-time, and a lot of the data entry is being automated. This means the data we’re working with is more timely, and it’s more accurate. Based on this we’re able to provide more substantive financial advice which is really beneficial to our clients, and helps them to generate more wealth.”
The change will almost certainly be well worth it for your firm, too – follow Thrive’s lead and start taking steps toward the cloud today!
About the AuthorMore Content by Erik Topper