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3 Steps: Converting clients to cloud accounting

We all know how stubborn some accounting clients can be.

For every compelling reason for them to venture into a better way of working, there's an unfounded objection or an overcautious resistance to change.

And unfortunately, for every encouraging accountant and open-minded entrepreneur, there's usually an adamant business owner who refuses to pull their feet from the mud.

Luckily, there's plenty you can do to help change their minds.

Here are a few tips to help you plan out your attack when trying to get your accounting clients on board with cloud software.

Arm yourself with a list of benefits

If you want to sell your clients on the idea of cloud accounting quickly and completely, you'll need to be able to rattle off an extended list of solid benefits.

We all know that when clients use cloud software, it makes your life as an accountant so much easier.

But in reality, your clients only care about how it helps their own businesses directly – so you need to focus on the ways that cloud accounting can make your clients' lives easier instead.

In particular, they're probably most interested in hearing about:

  • Costs. With a single manageable monthly payment, cloud users don't need to dig deep for the initial investment in hardware, software licence fees or server infrastructure. Beyond that, they won't have to worry about the long-term costs of maintenance and upgrades.
  • Security. The entire livelihood of a cloud provider rests on how secure their service is. That means they invest more in the hardware and expertise that keeps businesses' data secure – a level of security that just doesn't compare to the average business's desktop accounting system.
  • Ease of use. Clients using cloud accounting software can keep up with their accounts on any device, and in any location. There's no need to send files back and forth, and they won't have to worry about backups, restores and working from the latest version of the data.

Memorise these impressive statistics

As an experienced and trusted accountant, your views on what's best for your clients should already carry considerable weight.

But your clients also know that you have your own agenda – so it helps to have some convincing objective facts and figures to back up your recommendations.

Here are a few solid statistics to have at the ready:

Businesses using cloud technology grow 26% faster and see 21% higher profits than businesses that don't.

More than 80% of businesses have saved money by implementing cloud software.

Nearly three quarters (74%) of organisations trust the cloud enough to store their sensitive data on it.

59% of businesses using cloud technology report significant productivity benefits from their IT, compared with just 30% of businesses that aren't on the cloud.

Take the time to walk them through it

You're an accountant, not an adding machine.

Your clients come to you because you have the experience and knowledge to guide them towards making the best decisions for their businesses.

So rather than just telling them what's best, you're better off showing them directly.

Gather some literature, arrange a meeting, and present your clients with all of the benefits of switching to cloud accounting software. Once you've laid down the proposition, you can then:

Work with your client to attach a specific monetary value to every benefit for their particular business

Give them a good idea of the different stages of transition, as well as the projected costs and timescales involved

Compare these costs to the monetary values of the benefits

Take a step back and let your client make the best decision for their own business – they're more likely to devote themselves fully if they feel like they've decided for themselves.

This structured approach isn't just a great way of taking the guesswork out of their final decision.

It's also a chance to help your client break down what seems like a big change into manageable chunks with discrete goals and milestones. And once they start to see the value of the benefits in hard numbers, it becomes a positive change to their business that they can actually start to get excited about.

Of course, you might not feel fully confident with every aspect of cloud accounting yourself just yet. Or you might have a few larger clients whose transition to the cloud won't be so simple.

If that's the case, you can always turn to a little outside help to make life easier for you and your clients.

To sum up...

Switching to the cloud can feel like a big step – for both you and your clients.

But with the right approach, convincing your accounting clients can be easy. However you go about it, make sure you:

  • Focus on the benefits to the client – costs, security and ease of use.
  • Familiarise yourself with all of the potential gains, and keep a few statistics up your sleeve
  • Break down the transition into clear steps to help your clients visualise their path
  • Work with them to crunch the numbers – give them solid financial reasons to make a change.
And most important of all: don't force it. Give them all the data and reasons why, and then let them arrive at the right choice by themselves.