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Financial year end

Financial Year-End Need Not Be A Burden

Many companies view financial year-end as a necessary evil that they have to get through with white knuckles and gritted teeth. Fortunately, it doesn’t need to be this way. With effective processes in place, automated systems, and a good strategy, there’s no need for the financial year-end to be a burden. 

Gary Epstein, MD of EasyBiz Technologies, the authorised local partner for QuickBooks Online in South Africa, discusses how businesses can manage their year-end process seamlessly. 

An important first step in year-end preparation is to focus on what your company has done during the year, not just at year-end. Daily, weekly and monthly consistency and controls will ease the load. Good planning and great technology are key. Implement systems and processes that will enable the groundwork to be done monthly, instead of annually. 

Keep a countdown calendar 

Knowing how much time there is and what needs to be accomplished by when, is an important part of time management. For many companies, there will be major tasks that will need to be completed before year-end. Where possible, build these kinds of tasks into your timeline. You can even keep the countdown calendar updated the whole year and slot in fixed deadlines. 

Have a ‘Tax’ account 

Having a separate investment account to manage the company’s taxes, and doing a monthly reconciliation of the account will ensure that there are enough funds to cover the company’s tax liabilities at year-end. The recon will show whether there are any shortfalls, and the account can be topped up when necessary, so that there are no surprises at year-end. 

Keep reconciling 

No matter how well you plan ahead, there can be hiccups. When you’re confronted with a problem, whether it is accounts that don’t tally or debit and credit balances that don’t reconcile, just keep reconciling – there’s always an explanation for why numbers don’t match, but a proper approach to reconciliation can ensure that every number you report is accurate. 

Update your chart of accounts 

Your chart of accounts is a critical part of properly organising and reporting on the different revenue streams and expense categories that affect your business. However, continually adding to a chart can lead to a messy system that doesn’t align with the revenue and expense tracking needs of an organisation. 

Before year-end, ensure that all of your employees understand which accounts correspond with which activities to make sure all details are included in the right places for the most accurate final outcome possible. As a part of this process, make sure that: 

  • All account types, including income, liabilities, assets and expenses correspond to reporting requirements. 
  • All accounts are named correctly in a clear, easily understood manner. 
  • No duplicate accounts exist. 
  • Inactive, unused or duplicate accounts are removed. 
  • All entries related to each account are correct and accurate, based on account type and designated purpose. 

Stay tuned 

Without a strong understanding of the events of the year and easily accessible documentation to support entries and invoices, your numbers are essentially meaningless. Unfortunately, for some companies, this can mean piles of paperwork to sort, organise and categorise. If the idea of handling all that paperwork by hand sounds exhausting, switch to an online accounting system. 

Have the right software 

Having user-friendly online accounting software will greatly support any business-owner in managing their own accounts as well as those of their clients. With the right software, you can: 

  • Create professional custom invoices, send payment reminders, and match payments to invoices, automatically. 
  • Reduce errors when you connect your bank to get a full view of your finances. 
  • Easily organise expenses into tax categories and track VAT on income and expenses. 
  • Capture and organise receipts – use your phone to take photos of receipts and match these to expenses. 
  • Run your business on-the-go with your mobile device. 

Year-end isn’t a time that accountants and business-owners relish, but it’s a necessary part of the business cycle. With the right processes and automation in place, you can save a lot of time, effort and stress. Instead of looking towards year-end with fear and apprehension, put the right tools and practices in place to make every year-end a successful one. 

cash flow

Effective Cash Flow Management for SMEs and Start-ups 

Cash flow problems are one of the primary causes of business failure, especially for small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups. Companies cite slow or lack of payment for services rendered as a significant cause of cash flow issues. However, with a little know-how and a few tricks of the trade, businesses can keep running smoothly and stay afloat. Government, too, can help SMEs keep their doors open. 

Gary Epstein, MD of EasyBiz Technologies, the authorized local partner for QuickBooks Online in South Africa, weighs in on the importance of cash flow management and how to achieve it. 

According to McKinsey & Company, SMEs across South Africa employ between 50 and 60 percent of the country’s workforce across all sectors, are responsible for a quarter of job growth in the private sector, and contribute 39% to the country’s GDP. They are therefore vital to the economy yet staying in business is a constant challenge. 

The effects of poor cash flow on a business can be far-reaching. Business owners can struggle to pay salaries and bonuses and could be forced to pay their suppliers late. They could also miss debt payments, which would result in a lower credit rating and less chance of having loans approved. 

Opportunities to grow the business through investment could also be missed. Poor cash flow can have a negative impact on marketing strategies and competitive advantages and can cause the business to lose out on early payment discounts. The answer is effective cash flow management. 

The following guidelines can help businesses recoup money that is owed to them and manage their cash flow more effectively: 

  • Offer incentives and early settlement discounts. 
  • Invoice early in the month, as many companies do a monthly payment run. 
  • Set non-negotiable payment due dates. 
  • Digitize – use accounting software for invoicing, collections, and outstanding payments. 
  • Offer simple and efficient payment methods. 
  • Encourage debit order payments. 
  • Track accounts receivable to identify and avoid slow-paying customers. Instituting a policy of cash on delivery (COD) is an alternative to refusing to do business with slow-paying customers. 
  • Ensure a quality customer experience so that there are no comebacks or avoidance of payment. 
  • Build cash reserves to cover expenses in lean times. 
  • Reduce expenses to what is required and avoid unnecessary purchases. 
  • Reduce slow-moving stock by selling it for what you can get. 

Apart from the measures companies can take in keeping their cash flow healthy and their businesses intact, the South African Government can also do its bit in ensuring that SMEs are given as much support as possible. Recently, the National Treasury announced that it had set aside R15bn to backstop loans for businesses with a maximum turnover of R100m that have been adversely affected by the floods, the riots last July, as well as the pandemic. 

This latest scheme will be accessed through commercial banks, non-traditional SME funders, and development finance institutions. Loan amounts ranging from a minimum of R10 000 to a maximum of R10m will be available to qualifying businesses. 

In addition, government departments can support small businesses in other ways, for example, when SMEs win government contracts, Government can commit to a 30-day payment policy. Contracts by government departments can be validated and approved based on the availability of funds to pay service providers. 

To conclude, while cash flow difficulties result in the demise of many enterprises, with effective cash flow management, this can be avoided. With extra help from available resources like accounting software to report on cash flow status, as well as facilities to send and track invoices and payments, SMEs have a good chance of staying the course and going from strength to strength. 

Practice Management

Accounting Practice Management Made Easy With Ignition

Successful practice management is the art of running a business in a way that maximises profits, saves time, and offers better service to clients. While the pandemic forced businesses, including accounting firms, to adapt their operations and work remotely, now is the time for companies to determine how effectively they are managing this process, what tools are available to improve productivity, and how best to scale their ventures.

Gary Epstein, MD of EasyBiz Technologies, the authorised local partner for QuickBooks Online in South Africa, discusses what technology can do to help business-owners manage their accounting practices successfully.

An important starting point in effective practice management is to assess whether your firm has been running successfully while remote. Reviewing and implementing upgrades to your accounting workflows is a crucial first step, allowing you to automate tedious everyday processes.

Managing a remotely run accounting practice can seem daunting; however, working remotely has opened a unique set of opportunities. With the help of technology, many new accounting services which weren’t possible to offer in the past, have now become possible. With communication platforms, accounting tools and workflow solutions, it’s easier than ever for firms to be flexible and adaptable.

The fluid new way of sharing information makes for great collaboration and works well with a comprehensive workflow strategy. This is most effectively done by incorporating practice management software into the company’s processes. This software can help you master every step of the practice management lifecycle, from client prospecting to final reporting and analytics.

Cloud-based software takes advantage of technology to reduce the burden of paperwork, enables remote data sharing in real-time, and smoothly integrates with client systems to speed information exchange, with the result that accountants can get more accomplished during the workday.

Accounting practice management software is a cloud-based tool that helps accounting professionals handle the front- and back-office operations such as task management, workflow automation, and collaboration with their team and clients. Additionally, it includes customer relationship management (CRM), project management, document management, and financial management features. These provide businesses with an all-in-one solution, enabling easy client management, time and billing, and integration with accounting software like QuickBooks Online or QuickBooks Online Accountant.

A platform that does exactly this is the Ignition App. Ignition is a client engagement and commerce platform for professional services companies to streamline how they engage clients and get paid. Ignition gives you and your clients complete clarity and confidence, with expert support behind you.

With the Ignition app, you can easily win new business with impressive digital proposals and engage new and existing clients with a clear scope of work. Ignition also connects with leading apps to run your business on autopilot and automate time-consuming tasks, such as client on-boarding or invoicing. That means less time spent on admin and more time for clients!

Ignition’s features include:

  • Online proposals – generate professional digital proposals that clients can review and sign online within minutes.
  • Engagement letters – stay compliant with automated engagement letters that can be customised to suit your clients’ needs.
  • Centralised billing – easily access all your client billing information from one place when you need it. Be in control of upcoming client invoices and payments.
  • Automated workflows – run your business on autopilot by connecting your favourite apps to Ignition. Automated workflows activate once your proposal is signed.
  • Business dashboards – Ignition’s business intelligence dashboard puts you in control so you can make clear, confident decisions. View your sales pipeline, upcoming client renewals, and forecast revenue.

Having a well-developed practice management strategy will allow you to achieve your goals even in the future and be more effective in business. Automating processes with the help of online accounting software and apps like Ignition can help you expand your team’s productivity, keep them motivated to do their best work, and streamline workflows, budgets and milestones. It is designed to help you manage your firm successfully – all from one place – making things effortless for you and your clients.

payroll

How Payroll Helps Manage Your Employees And Business Efficiently 

When it comes to payroll, there are a lot of moving parts. It’s a lot of work, from ensuring employees are paid accurately and on time, managing tax payments and deductions, and filing reports with the government! 

This hassle explains why some employers dodge payroll in South Africa. Instead, they pay their employees “under the table.” 

Doing this is illegal and can come back to bite you down the road. Not to mention, it’s just not good business practice. 

This article will look at some tips for managing your payroll and employees effectively. By the end of this article, you will better understand how to run your payroll efficiently and avoid any costly mistakes. 

4 Tips For Managing Your Payroll And Employees Effectively 

Managing your business and payroll comes with a plethora of benefits, including: 

  • Compliance risk management: Business owners can be penalized for not adhering to employment standards and payroll regulations. By managing payroll, you can avoid these risks and penalties. 
  • Improved cash flow: Proper payroll management can enhance your business’s cash flow. It ensures that employees are paid on time and that you’re not overspending on your payroll budget. 
  • Increased efficiency: Payroll management can save you time and money by reducing the number of errors made, eliminating paper waste, and improving communication between employees and employers. 
  • Productivity management: Timely and accurate payroll ensures employees are paid correctly and on time, motivating them to perform at their best. 
  • Workforce planning: Knowing how much you need to pay your employees helps you make informed decisions about hiring, training, and retention. 

Below are a few payroll and employee management tips you should know: 

Create A Payroll Calendar 

The best way to be organized and efficient for payroll management is by having a calendar. A calendar will help you track deadlines, pay periods, and other essential payroll dates. 

You can ensure that you’re never late on a payment or miss a deadline by having a calendar. It saves you time and money in the long run. 

There are a few things you should keep in mind when creating your payroll calendar: 

  • The frequency of pay periods (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly) 
  • The start and end date of each pay period 
  • Payroll deadlines (such as when taxes are due) 
  • Holidays and vacation days 

When you consider these factors, you can create a payroll calendar that works best for you and your business. 

Allow HR Staff To Attend Payroll Training 

Your HR staff is the most crucial part of your payroll team. They are the ones who manage and handle all employee information. It is vital to allow them to attend payroll training. Training will ensure that they can do their job efficiently.  

This training will also allow them to learn about the different aspects of payroll and how to manage it properly. Additionally, they will also be able to learn about the latest technologies that can help make their job easier. 

Automate Your Payroll Process 

One of the most laborious and time-consuming aspects of payroll is data entry. Data entry is often done manually, leading to errors and delays. To avoid this, you should consider automating your payroll process. 

Several software programs can automate your payroll process. These programs will typically take care of everything for you. 

The software can help you save time and money while ensuring that your payroll process is accurate and efficient. 

Document Your Payroll Process 

Documenting your payroll process is a great way to ensure that your business runs smoothly and efficiently. 

Having all of your payroll information in one place lets you easily keep track of employee hours, vacation days, sick days, and more. 

Documenting your payroll process can help you develop a clear and concise set of instructions for new employees who may need to use the payroll system. You’ll save time and avoid frustration in the long run. 

Work Smarter, Not Harder – Try Quick Payroll Today! 

Payroll management can be a time-consuming and complex task, but it doesn’t have to be. Quick Payroll can help you automate your payroll process and save you time and money. 

At EasyBiz Technologies, we specialize in helping businesses streamline their operations with the right software. Our team of payroll experts can help you set up and customize Quick Payroll to suit your payroll and employee management needs. 

Business transformation in the ‘next normal’

Business transformation in the ‘next normal’

As we approach a post-pandemic world, businesses must now leverage what they’ve learnt to future-proof their operations, so that they can be prepared for a business landscape that has ultimately progressed from the ‘new normal’ to the ‘next normal’.

Businesses can no longer solely focus on financial data to assess their performance, drive long-term strategies and generate sustainable value. Essentially, people will be the key to business success.

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) conducted interviews with 34 companies across the USA, the UK, South Africa, Singapore and Brazil. Their report indicated seven good practices that businesses should implement to drive better business performance, namely:

  • Have a clear line of sight between activities and strategy to help employees develop ownership and accountability.
  • Factor in environmental and social impact into business values and day-to day decision-making to attract and retain talent.
  • Engage employees with developing and refining business strategies to meet strategic objectives.
  • Combine responsibilities for both strategic goals and functional excellence to sharpen performance.
  • Improve cooperation and coordination across functional silos to optimise decision-making and resource allocation.
  • Align personal objectives and incentives with organisational strategy at all levels of the business.
  • Connect external and internal information with financial outcomes to ensure effective decision-making.

Digital transformation and finance
The primary aim of digital transformation is to solve challenges concerning efficiency, effectiveness and cost. Cloud computing, for example, will handle routine requests from business leaders, giving finance the opportunity to be more proactive.

With digital transformation, finance roles are changing. More will be required in terms of business partnering, advisory, reporting, planning, as well as tax, treasury, and more. These roles will continue to grow.

Employees must spend less time preparing data for analysis, and more time asking ‘What does this data tell me about the business?’ and ‘How can the business close gaps in performance expectations?’
Assign a team to learn how other organisations are using digital tools and automating finance processes. Examine one of your most labour-intensive processes and imagine eliminating it through automation. How would this change impact your organisation?

Focus on people
Your finance organisation should be looking at every new hire through the ‘next normal’ lens. Top companies see talent as their scarcest resource, and treat it as such.

Identify people in your organisation – as well as new hires – who exemplify the kind of talent you’re striving for, and get comfortable leading people with skills you don’t fully understand.

Be a business with purpose
Top-performing organisations know that purpose is both a differentiating factor and a must-have. A strong corporate purpose is a company’s unique affirmation of its identity and embodies everything the organisation stands for.

Future-ready companies recognise that purpose helps attract people to join an organisation, remain there, and thrive. Investors understand why this is valuable, and factor purpose into their decision-making.

Create a value agenda
Future-ready companies create a map that puts their ambitions and targets into tangible organisational elements such as business units, regions, product lines, and even key capabilities.

The key is to use the value agenda to focus the organisation’s efforts and instil a sense of what really matters in every employee. Organisations must be able to leverage this clarity – knowing exactly what differentiates them from everyone else.

Build a unique culture
Culture is that unique set of behaviours, rituals, symbols, and experiences that collectively describes the culture of the company. Among the most successful companies, culture forms the backbone of organisational health and fuels sustained performance over time.

To conclude, transforming a business to become future-ready during this unique time is a challenge that every business-owner must take on if they want to thrive in a constantly changing world and be around for whatever the next normal might be.

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How payroll software can save your business time and money 

How payroll software can save your business time and money

A 2018 Zenefits article revealed that, at the time, 25% of business owners were still painstakingly doing their own payroll using pen and paper.

Sleepless nights and wasted time weigh heavy on the shoulders of the modern business owners trying to do it all themselves.

Making the shift from manual payroll processing to payroll software is guaranteed to benefit any business, saving time and money while greatly simplifying the business accounting process.

– What to consider when choosing payroll software

Keep reading to explore nine ways your business will save money, maximise productivity, and streamline end-to-end payroll activities with payroll software.

1. No accounting skills required

Traditionally, business owners have sought to outsource their company payroll functions to third-party providers, paying them for their time and expertise.

With payroll software solutions, business owners become their own payroll administrators – without needing any payroll skills to look after end-to-end company payroll.

2. Accurate calculations

Know a business owner still relying on their battery-powered calculator for payroll calculations?

Payroll software automatically manages all of it, taking care of things like overtime, deductions, commissions, pay raises, and other figures you’d otherwise have to spend time on.

3. Automatic tax deductions

Taxation: the only thing tougher to manage as a business owner than your own payroll. The reality is that there really isn’t any space for mistakes when it comes to managing tax responsibilities.

With payroll software, tax rates are all coded into the algorithm. The platform calculates and applies deductions automatically and instantly.

4. Automated salary slips

Employees often make use of payslips, when applying for credit or new employment. For this reason and others, many small business owners need to make payslips a priority from month to month.

Sending out payslips is another task payroll software can handle, automatically sending all company salary slips on a predetermined date and time.

5. Greater flexibility

When businesses thrive, they grow. Growing teams means growing payroll responsibilities, which often means a greater time commitment in order to manage the additional admin.

Payroll software platforms offer flexibility in scalability. Business owners can easily add new employees to payroll or broaden the scope of accounting functions they can make use of, with just a few clicks.

6. SARS compliance

Privacy of information legislation (POPI Act) and SARS requirements leave many business owners uneasy. Are they fully compliant and ready for an audit at any given time?

Adopting in-house payroll using powerful payroll software means continuous 100% compliance with SARS requirements, with private business and employee information remaining completely secure.

7. Customer support

Moving payroll functions from a manual process to a payroll software solution can be quite a daunting task when first making the transition.

The best payroll softwares are backed by support teams available to guide business owners through any struggles they may be facing.

Sources Consulted:

Human resources: payroll outsourcing 2019 | Statista

How Can Payroll Software Save You Time And Money

Why Aren’t You Outsourcing Your Payroll Yet? – Arcoro HR

Why Do So Many Small Businesses Use Pen and Paper for Payroll? – Workest (zenefits.com)

QuickBooks Online Accountant integrated apps seamlessly automate business processes

QuickBooks Online Accountant integrated apps seamlessly automate business processes

Business efficiency is all about saving time and money and maximising productivity. The best way to achieve this is by automating processes, that is, using technology to execute recurring tasks where manual effort can be replaced. This is particularly valuable in the accounting functions of a business and in accounting practices themselves.

For accounting practices, automation allows accountants to take on the role of trusted advisor and business coach, as they allow automation to take care of the manual tasks, using the time saved to offer more value to their clients.

Online accounting software, for example QuickBooks Online Accountant, allow business owners to run their business seamlessly from the cloud. With cloud accounting software, your data is automatically synced across your devices so that your work is never lost. It also means you can run your business from anywhere.

To achieve further automation of functions, QuickBooks uses fully integrated apps to streamline processes like invoicing, payroll, receipt processing, and much more. Two such apps are Dext Prepare, an app that allows you to collect and process paperwork in one digital format; and Receipt Capture, which lets you upload receipts using your phone and process them in your accounting software.

What Dext Prepare does

Rather than sitting for hours and manually capturing your paperwork, you could be using Dext Prepare to capture your documents for you. Dext Prepare collects and extracts your paperwork with 99% accuracy, and then automatically processes it to your accounting software.

Whether you have receipts, invoices or bank statements to process, you can upload them with Dext Prepare via mobile app, email or auto-invoice fetch. Dext Prepare then extracts the relevant data and uploads it to your accounting software. Your data is also automatically stored for seven years with bank-level encryption.

Companies that use Dext Prepare say that it saves them up to 5.5 hours per client per month on manual data processing. This means you’ll have hours of extra time to provide other vital services to your clients, and to focus on growing your business.

How Receipt Capture works

Instead of physically inputting data from each receipt and then filing the receipts for recordkeeping purposes, Receipt Capture lets you take a photo of the receipts with your phone and then upload them to QuickBooks. When you log in via a computer, the receipts will be available, ready for review.

Once you’ve uploaded your receipts, QuickBooks Online scans them using Optical Character Recognition (OCR). This technology extracts the necessary data, such as the vendor and the amount, to create a transaction record allocating the purchase to one of your categories for business expenses. And, if there’s no match found, a new transaction can easily be created.

Another great feature of Receipt Capture is that, once a receipt has been captured using the QuickBooks Online mobile app, the receipt details can be edited if required. Also, important receipt details such as VAT can be added on the spot, an expense transaction can be created from the actual receipt, and the receipt can be matched to an accepted transaction.

To conclude, manually entering data into your account’s software is slow. It also means more time spent looking for lost documents or correcting mistakes. Automation is the way to go, and with the Dext Prepare app and Receipt Capture integrated into QBOA, you can automate your data, giving you more time to focus on supporting your customers and growing your business.

For more information on QuickBooks Online third-party apps, visit QuickBooks

Succeeding as an Accounting Entrepreneur

Succeeding as an Accounting Entrepreneur

As an entrepreneur, managing your business can be made simple. With a little knowledge, expertise and some sound practices and motivation, Accountants can run a successful business and remain in practice for the long haul.

Finding the formula to success requires having the right employees, the right habits, and the necessary tools. Learning from already successful companies and having sound business practices in place is essential in creating a profitable accounting practice. Here are eight guidelines to help you achieve this.

1.  A compass for your business

According to a study conducted by the Harvard MBA programme, writing down goals for your business will make a huge impact on your success. Firms without goals experience significantly less growth than firms that have written goals and plans. However, your entire team needs to be on board with these goals, so engage your employees with an inspiring vision and clear objectives.

2. Tech-up your operations

Digital transformation continues to be top of the list of priorities, enabling a business to continue operating in today’s fast-paced digital environment. Digitisation should include continued remote working capabilities, digital marketing tools, cloud-based accounting software, and enhanced cyber security. Firms must adopt an online platform where customers can easily do business with them, for example, a website and social media platforms.

3. Hybrid working conditions

Accounting firms will need to consider adopting a hybrid working environment, as some clients will operate online, but others will prefer more traditional ways of conducting their financial affairs. Remote working can help with the needs of the business and its clients, as well as for employees.

A significant positive of remote working is that business owners can now offer their accounting services beyond our borders to other countries. It also means that local businesses can now employ staff remotely, as their location is not important in many instances.

4. Branding trends

Customers are omnichannel these days, meaning that they engage with businesses through various channels including different social platforms, text, email, live chat, and others. By providing quality omnichannel support, you show them that you value their business. As you begin, you may not be able to sell everywhere, so scale your omnichannel strategy as you learn more about your target audience.

5. Listen to your customers

Listening to feedback from your customer base is crucial. In studies conducted, a good portion of a company’s business comes from customers who are referred by current customers. Happy customers will also be recurring customers; people are 10% less likely to shop around if they’ve used your company before and were satisfied with the experience.

6. Broaden your horizons

By diversifying your services, you can appeal to a broader customer base. For example, if you only provide bookkeeping services to small businesses, your clients can’t refer you to friends who need personal tax returns done, or to larger businesses who need a range of accounting services. When customers see that you can handle all aspects of accounting, they will see you as an expert in your field.

7. More business from current clients

Firms that offer diversified services can offer multiple services to the same customer. This allows your business to maximise its potential profits while making you a convenient one-stop shop for all of your customers’ accounting needs. Suddenly, your profits from a single customer increase significantly.

8. Work-life balance

Accounting professionals have a reputation for working long hours. While working overtime is sometimes necessary, it’s important for employees to have a good work-life balance. A survey conducted in top accounting firms showed that having work-life balance as a top priority leads to happier employees, which in turn leads to higher profits, more sales, greater customer loyalty, and increased productivity.

Every accounting firm has an important role in our economy. Running a successful practice can be challenging, but keeping an eye on your business goals, diversifying your services, equipping your business with the right technology, having the right people, and keeping your customers happy, are good habits that will lead to a successful business.

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Why it makes good business sense to migrate to online accounting software

Why it makes good business sense to migrate to online accounting software

For some accounting firms, migrating to cloud-based accounting software might seem an obvious path to take, but to others, it may seem a daunting and labour-intensive task. This is why having sufficient knowledge about the process is key. The important point to remember is that it is not about moving online just for the sake of it; it is about taking advantage of the numerous benefits that come with operating on an online platform.

Gary Epstein, MD of EasyBiz Technologies, the authorized local partner for QuickBooks Online in South Africa outlines the pros of moving to cloud-based accounting software and the ease of doing so.

When implementing something new in a business, the primary question business owners ask is whether the benefits outweigh the costs and the effort. Fortunately, moving to cloud accounting software, like QuickBooks Online Accountant (QBOA), is not only easy to do but can save you money. More importantly, you don’t have to run expensive servers.

Save time and expand your business offering

QBOA can save you up to 60% on the time you spend completing basic accounting functions. This means that you can provide such services as bookkeeping, accounting, and tax preparation more easily and cheaply, and allocate more time to providing more complex and lucrative services such as advisory, consulting and new business development services and with the added benefit of remote working.

Security is a priority

Safety and security are top of mind for clients, especially when it involves their finances. A primary benefit of operating QuickBooks Online Accountant is that your client’s financial data isn’t stored on your own computer, where it could be lost, stolen, or accidentally deleted. Instead, it is stored in the cloud on secure servers. So, even if a computer crashes or has been hacked, the information is safe and secure. This means you can access it from anywhere at any time – from a laptop, smartphone or tablet – but it’s always secure.

Migrate easily and stay updated

Cloud accounting software can simplify data entry by linking into automated bank feeds. So as the fiscal new year approaches, you can continue to enter data into the old system while the cloud system updates itself in the background. This will save you time, letting you start the transition to the cloud without doubling your workload.

There’s no need to be concerned about any difficulties in adopting a new accounting system in your business, as QuickBooks Online provides all the training needed to get your business up and running on the system quickly and easily.

Signing up to QuickBooks Online Accountant and getting certified is free, as a QBOA partner you will also unlock access to exclusive discounted pricing and offers for your clients. Once you’re certified as a QuickBooks Pro-advisor you’ll be able to:

  • Distinguish your business – display your certification badge when you advertise.
  • Grow your practice – get listed on the Find-an-Accountant directory.
  • Get support – enjoy free unlimited telephonic support.

Your clients can benefit, too

The same benefits and cost savings that are available to your business with QuickBooks Online Accountant, are available to your clients. Onboarding them to QuickBooks Online is simple, and they will have the same access to training and support.

Simpler businesses require only the standard QuickBooks Online platform, but more complex businesses with, for example, large inventory requirements, can easily be accommodated with the QuickBooks Online apps, which integrate seamlessly with the software.

Another benefit for clients is that they can migrate to QuickBooks Online at any time of the year, rather than waiting for year-end to begin using the software. QuickBooks Online will make it possible for them to import all their data easily and swiftly, with no inconvenience to them or disruptions to their business.

No auditing headaches

Also significant is that the auditing process is made simpler with QuickBooks Online Accountant, as everything can be done online – all slips, statements, invoices, reports and everything pertaining to a client’s books, will have already been loaded onto QuickBooks Online and is easily accessible by the auditors – even if they’re working remotely.

Reduce payment hassles

Another common pain point that is easily remedied with QuickBooks Online is the payment of invoices. The software not only generates invoices automatically, it also sends payment reminders to clients. This feature has proven to increase the rate of payment of invoices significantly and lessen the need to phone clients and ask for payments to be processed.

While sticking with desktop software may feel more comfortable at first, the move to cloud software couldn’t be simpler, and it brings with it significant benefits that can never be achieved with more traditional platforms. It simply requires the right information and training and a willingness to embrace change.

Selling your accounting services in a virtual world

Selling your accounting services in a virtual world

Selling accounting services today is very different from how it used to be. Firstly, most interactions take place digitally, and secondly, the market itself has changed. Clients behave differently and expect different things. Having learnt how to survive the many challenges of the past two years, now’s the time to hone the skills of marketing and selling your accounting services virtually.

It may seem a daunting task to peddle one’s trade in the online space. For starters, in marketing and selling your services digitally, it may feel that all face-to-face contact has been lost. However, this need not hinder the process if we learn to intentionally make virtual interactions more intimate.

The first thing to get right is knowing the difference between marketing and selling. Marketing is the act of messaging your target market. It’s about consistently putting out content for your market to hear you and it’s got to be the right market. Going digital means your market has widened, but you still need to decide where to place your focus.

Do you want to focus on specific industries and market your accounting services to them or do you want to be more of a generalist? Also, do you want to specialise in certain services, for example, strictly bookkeeping, or specifically payroll, or perhaps navigating the complexities of tax for your clients?

Marketing to your target audience
In a virtual world, your website is your ‘shopfront’, and it’s the first place people go to assess what sort of business you are. You want your website to get more hits, but you first want to make sure you’re presenting the right image. To make it more personal, have pictures of yourself and your team members, their titles and what they do. This helps clients connect with you.

If you haven’t updated your website in six months, it’s time for a refresh. In a world where instant gratification rules, it’s essential that you make your services as quick and easy to understand. Remember also that most clients will read a review before making a decision to connect with you, so place your reviews prominently.

Getting noticed
If you want to get more hits on your website, remember to use hashtags and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) in all your posts. You could also consider using Google Ads. Using Google Ads allows you to specifically target the market you’re focusing on, and you can align your website with specific keywords so that you’re appearing as one of the first results to the right client.

Since business and social events are scarce these days, the opportunity for networking has diminished. However, word of mouth still applies, so ask your clients to rate your service and incentivise them to send more business your way. Offering a small discount on the next month’s invoice or offering an existing client a free advisory session for every new sign-up they refer to you is a good way to get your clients to do some marketing for you.

Crafting the right messaging
Marketing is about messaging your market very consistently and with very relevant information. This includes blogs on your website, posts on social media, and newsletters that are helpful to the industry. You can collaborate and do webinars or podcasts to add credence to your messaging and add weight to your reputation. Remember to talk about what’s relevant to potential clients in their specific industry – you’re not sending out messaging for other accountants.

Also important is that whenever you put out any kind of post, add a button for people to click on and respond if they liked it, or give them an email address or let them fill in a form so they have the ability to respond to you in some way.

Selling to potential clients
When someone responds to your messaging by sending an email or filling out a form, they have become a potential client. Once they’ve shown interest, it’s time to reach out to them. Selling is educating, so the more you can educate them, the more they trust you. This is when you explain, for example, why they need to have regular reports, why they need to keep their taxes up to date, why they need to transition to an online platform, and so on.

Being consistent is a large part of building trust and creating processes is what helps you be consistent. Following your processes steadfastly helps clients build trust in your ‘brand’ – accountants don’t sell products, they sell services, so the client experience you create is your brand.

Making contact
The very first interaction is key. When someone emails you or fills out the form on your website, it’s an opportunity for human interaction. You then send out an email, explaining your values and what you believe is important in the relationship, for example, collaboration and communication. This is to determine whether your business and the potential clients have similar values.

When they agree with your values, you can send a second email with more information. They may want to hurry things up because they want you to do their taxes, for example, but you’re building a relationship, so each step is important. This is not a process of talking about accounting, it’s about discussing the potential client and their needs.

Ask them questions like ‘What are you struggling with?’, ‘Where are you succeeding?’, ‘Why do you want to do this now?’, ‘How do you want to grow in two years?’. These questions are important to let the client feel that you’re focused on them and that you’re demonstrating a high level of care.

Meeting face to face
After the emails, you can set up your very first face-to-face meeting on an online platform. This is where you discuss what the client values and expects. When you have this meeting, turn on your camera, ask your client to turn on their camera, and share your screen as well. These are tactile things that drive trust and intimacy. Then follow up with an email to let them know that you are creating pricing packages for them and you’re looking forward to presenting them soon.

Pricing your services
Now it’s time to set up the second face-to-face meeting and this is when you’ll have the conversation about pricing. You present a high, medium and low price – this helps them feel in control and able to choose which option is best for them. Often they’ll ask for a fourth option that combines elements of the three you first presented.

Your pricing should expire in seven to 10 days, so that the client is encouraged to make a decision and commit. Once they’ve agreed to the pricing, you begin setting up the contract detailing what services they can expect and the pricing structure. It’s important that you don’t start any work until the contract has been signed.

Once they’ve signed, you have a final meeting which is to celebrate their coming on board. Introduce people from your team and ask to be introduced to people from their team. This allows a more personal interaction and lets everyone feel part of a real partnership. This meeting is to celebrate them and to thank them.

Following these procedures may seem time-consuming, but it is necessary to build trust and start the relationship off right. It will also encourage the client to refer other clients to you in future. Marketing and selling your accounting service virtually need not be an intimidating prospect. By marketing correctly and having solid procedures in place, as well as using the tools available to create as personal an interaction as possible, you can succeed in growing your business in the online space.

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Please fill out the form below to receive the trail demo link

Personal Information
Where a party receives any personal information (“PI”) related to the other party, the party who receives the PI, will comply with and have adequate measures in place to ensure that its employees, agents, subsidiaries and representatives comply with the provisions and obligations contained in the Protection of Personal Information Act, No. 4 of 2013. Any PI pertaining to one party which is required by the other party, will only be used by that other party for the purposes of this contract and will not be further processed or disclosed without the written consent of the latter and the recipient of that PI will take all reasonable precautions to preserve the integrity and prevent any corruption or loss, damage or destruction of the PI. If and when the contract is terminated, each party will, save to the extent that it is required to do otherwise by any applicable law, erase or cause to be erased, all PI and all copies of any part of the PI relating to the other party”.