7 ways a cloud integrator can help grow your practice

As Cloud Integrators we’re approached daily by small and medium businesses, advisors and bookkeepers to provide insight into how the client’s business can be enhanced and streamlined by adopting cloud software that integrates with Xero. Demand for integration between business software (for things like time tracking, workflow management, and inventory management) with cloud-based accounting software is growing, and the pace of add-ons and new features being released is accelerating. This makes it difficult for advisors to keep abreast of what is on offer and the business benefits they deliver.

Advisors, accountancy and bookkeeping practices can partner with a cloud integrator to extend their service offering to existing clients and provide a point of difference when attracting new clients. There are several cloud integrators with different specialisations to choose from.

Here are seven ways you can create new value for your clients by working with cloud integrators:

  1. Call a cloud integrator to find out which areas they can best assist your clients in. Meeting with a cloud integrator before you have spoken to a client can help you better understand what value your clients can gain from Xero and the ecosystem of add-ons – and assist you to identify opportunities for advisory work around process improvement.

  2. Add immediate and up-to-date software experience to your firm's offering, reducing the risk of trial and error or valuable knowledge leaving with an employee. Cloud integrators have years of experience that your firm can call on today and on an ongoing basis. Work with experts locally or nationally to complement your brand and client service approach.

  3. Get assistance with assessing a client’s software requirements before converting to Xero, to ensure your clients retain or enhance the functionality of their previous systems and integrate additional add-ons where required. Cloud integrators can provide assistance with setting client expectations and matching their requirements by choosing the right add-ons.

  4. Working with a cloud integrator provides your clients with project and change management expertise to ensure a smooth transition to cloud-based systems. Whether a client is coming from a paper, Excel-based system or a desktop/server solution, a cloud integrator will work with the client to identify their needs and assist in migrating data. A cloud integrator will recommend and implement software suited to the client, recommend process improvements and provide training and support to users.

  5. Working with a cloud integrator during an implementation gives you further insight into what the software solution can achieve, allowing you to have input into any customisation and reporting that will enhance the client’s decision-making and your capacity to advise. Cloud integrators can place emphasis on the most important parts of the processes that require upfront setup, and assist with ongoing maintenance and changes, to ensure all information is captured correctly from the start.

  6. Identify an industry where your clients can benefit from upgrading to cloud systems. Then engage a cloud integrator to provide your team with sales and product training on solutions, including those that increase visibility into business performance. By helping clients gain a better view of their business performance (eg, providing detailed job costing/staff utilisation reporting, or inventory analysis) you can offer advisory services as the client seeks assistance with interpreting the information and making business decisions with it.

  7. After establishing a good working relationship with a cloud integrator, you can consider cross-promotion of each other's brand and services on your respective websites. This will build up your referral links and can increase web authority for Google search rankings for integration and business services. Getting noticed online is a continual work in progress and is beneficial for growing your brand and presence with prospective clients.

The growing number of Xero add-ons and their ever improving feature sets and sophistication is giving SMBs access to processes, data and insights previously reserved for large businesses that could afford expensive, customised enterprise-grade software. Advisors, whether accountant or bookkeeper, are well placed to identify opportunities for their clients to take their business to the next level of productivity and financial management. Working alongside cloud integrators can ensure your clients’ needs are fully considered and that they implement solutions that create new value and insight for their business.

Matthew Peng

Founding Director of Business Continuum

Melbourne, Australia
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