Moving Your Accounting Firm to the Cloud
Thanks to cloud-based accounting solutions such as QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Accountant, you don't have to be in the same room to manage your clients financial records. In fact, you can easily be on the other side of the country or even the other side of the world.
When you run your accounting business online, you can truly operate from anywhere. Whether you are on vacation or living in an RV, as long as you have an internet connection, you can access client records, update them, and answer questions as needed.
Additionally, you don't have to rent an office space where you can meet clients. Instead, you can use a small home office and talk with clients over the phone or through video chat. Most importantly, with a cloud-based accounting business, you don't have to restrict your services to your own area. When searching for clients, you can throw your net all of Canada, which can be essential if you live in a less populated area or want to focus on a niche such as forensic accounting.
Switching the cloud typically reduces the amount of equipment you need on hand. In particular, you don't have to worry about buying expensive servers, computers with lots of memory, or external hard drives or other devices to use for backup storage. Instead, you just need a laptop and an internet connection to access your cloud-based software. In many cases, you can also check in on information using a tablet or smartphone.
For example, QuickBooks Online Accountant allows you to manage multiple clients in the cloud. In addition to offering the usual accounting features, this software has a dashboard, where you can easily see which accounts need attention. When clients need to add information to their records, they can open the software on their end and alter it as needed. With cloud-based programs, all changes are automatically synced so both you and your clients have access to the same information.
Change can be hard for you, but it can also be hard for your clients. To make the transition as easy as possible, give clients ample warning so they have time to mentally prepare. If your clients need to change their record keeping methods or software, offer to provide guidance through the process. For example, if your clients are currently using spreadsheets for accounting and you want them to shift to QuickBooks Online, you may want to offer to move their records for them, and you may want to schedule a webinar or other training session so they understand what they need to do on their end.
It's also important to communicate with the people in your own organization. If you have a staff, start at the top and work your way down. Remember to provide as much advance warning, training, and support as you can. If possible, try to migrate to the cloud at the end of the year, or move your clients one by one as their fiscal years come to a close.