‘Tis the season for holiday shopping and eggnog, but it’s also the best time of year to set your accounting practice and your clients up for success in the New Year. Why December? You could make a list, and check it twice… But instead, we made you a list of three of the resolves you can make this holiday season in order to start afresh in 2017.
Re-approach office layout
There’s a lot to be said for simply being able to see and talk with your colleagues freely. Many accounting firms are finding that having an open-plan office promotes effective collaboration among staff. Take Bookkeeper360, a cloud bookkeeping practice based in Woodbury, New York. Founder and CEO, Nick Pasquarosa, says the company’s open-plan office promotes a collaborative Silicon Valley tech company work style, as opposed to being full of the stereotypical stuffy cubicles.
While it’s not practical for every accounting or bookkeeping practice owner to undertake whole-office remodels, as an alternative, consider establishing some break-out workspaces. Here, staff can conduct informal powwows with one another or get work done away from their desks — you’ll be amazed at what just a different setting can do for productivity. Think couches, bean bags or even just a table and comfortable chairs. When employees are comfortable in their workspace, they’re happy.
Go all-in on the cloud
If you’re already using a cloud accounting platform, the advantages to using the software become apparent quite quickly — you’re able to work faster, smarter and you’re even starting to see your practice grow in client base and revenue. However, becoming a 100% cloud practice doesn’t happen overnight — it takes careful planning and access to the right resources. Start with the clients that you think will adapt to the cloud easiest and approach the conversion process in shifts, assigning dedicated team members to manage the transition.
Your cloud accounting platform should make converting your clients to the cloud as cost effective as possible. At Xero, we have a tool that will convert your QuickBooks and Sage files for free. If you do so before December 31st, you’ll be able to bring over two full years of fiscal data. With the end of the year approaching, now is a better time than any to make the switch.
Build a modern cloud practice
Something you can start in the beginning of the New Year and continue to work on throughout the year, is to build on your modern cloud practice. Centered around your cloud accounting platform, your firm should update old processes and practices that were developed during an era where you were locked in to desktop software. Think about your website, social media and the way you communicate with clients. These are all areas that should be updated to reflect the way your firm works today.
Revamp your website to showcase your cloud services and clients that you’ve helped. If you haven’t already, establish a social media presence – whether it be on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or all of the above – and be sure to maintain it. You can do so by following and interacting with industry thought leaders and posting regularly so prospective clients can see you’re active and engaged on the platforms. On-site visits to clients are becoming less of a norm today, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stay in touch with your clients regularly. Schedule monthly or fortnightly check-ins with them via video conferencing software, respond to their emails as promptly as possible and even send them a quick text message every now and then to see how they’re doing. Becoming a modern cloud practice means talking the talk and walking the walk.
These are just a few things you can do to start out fresh in the New Year, a lot of which start with using cloud accounting software. Here’s to 2017 being your firm’s best year yet!