The advantages of the cloud – better access to data, collaboration, time saving – are obvious to an accountant but sometimes your client can’t see them. Even if it’s the right client, the right skills, the right time, why aren’t they as excited as you about moving to the cloud?
First you need to find the entry point that is going to make them sit up and take interest. Here is an example of how the conversation can be refocussed to get what you both want.
Take a typical tradesman – let’s say a plumber. A sole proprietor with a couple of employees, he relies on a range of work from simple domestic repairs to commercial maintenance and new builds. The smaller end of the customer base is the bread and butter. It keeps the employees occupied between the bigger jobs and some steady cash coming in. That is, it helps cash flow when the customers pay – and this is a constant battle because chasing smaller debts is time consuming and annoying.
There is your entry point. You know the plumber’s customer will pay more promptly if they receive the invoice closer to the time of service delivery. If it is easy for them to pay on the spot even better. Your plumber avoids the long drawn out process of going back to the office, writing up an invoice, sending it out (eventually), and then waiting for the “cash flow gods” to shine on his invoice.
Your plumber needs the ability to invoice on the spot, using a cloud application that will provide structured pricing, record customer history, link to the general ledger and ideally provide an option to collect payment before leaving the customer’s premises. Not only will this cut down the administrative process once back in the office, but the improved cash flow, customer sales information and integration to the general ledger opens up all sorts of opportunities and efficiency.
Once you demonstrate functionality like this, your client should have the mental cogs turning hard – they can’t deny the benefits of having this level of professionalism and efficiency at their fingertips. Cloud applications give small businesses access to features that they probably thought were far beyond a business of their scale.
And if they don’t take mobile invoicing with both hands, how long will it be before their competitors do? How long before customers expect it? And when it isn’t available, how will the business be perceived? It wasn’t that long ago that EFT or Bpay were options only offered by large companies. Now consumers expect it from everyone they deal with.
The bottom line is that if you are trying to shepherd yourclients towards cloud technology, find the client’s pressure point and then demonstrate the possibilities. Believe it or not, you will struggle to get your plumber wide eyed by talking about a “single ledger”. But showing them how a blocked toilet call-out fee can be paid on the spot might just get them leaning forward.