How does an accounting firm use cloud accounting and live data to improve client services?
Brought to you by owner of Network Overdrive, Greg Clarkson, our Taste of Technology video series brings real life case studies of Australian businesses direct to you. Discover how other businesses are utilising managed service providers to help grow their business.
Greg: Hello, my name’s Greg from Network Overdrive, and I’m joined here today by Mark from Rogerson Kenny Business Accountants. Thank you for your time. How are you?
Mark: Great, Greg, good.
Greg: So tell me a little bit about your business and what you do.
Mark: We’re business accountants in the suburbs of Melbourne. We have 550 clients. We specialize in small-medium business clients throughout Australia. We’ve also got quite a swag of self-managed super funds as well. So we look after the tax, accounting, and probably, most importantly, business advice.
Mark: For those clients.
Greg: And can you tell me how you use technology to help be relevant to your customers?
Mark: Well, I see ourselves as a technology business doing accounting, so if that gives you some sort of idea.
Mark: Technology for our clients, it’s a rapidly growing space. Internally, we process everything electronically, so work comes in from the client. If it’s not already electronic, we scan it into our systems and we process it. Everything electronically, we review it electronically, and we now can deliver that information to the client electronically if they wish as well, which there seems to be a growing need for. In the near future, we’re hoping clients will be able to sign their documents electronically, send them back to us electronically, or with some sort of portal. So internally it’s drastically altered our processes, if you like.
Mark: And externally, for clients, it’s the dawn of cloud computing or cloud accounting, a computing software, and we’re seeing vast changes there with our clients, as well.
Greg: And I think you mentioned before with me, off camera, about live data for them?
Mark: Yeah, look, for the first time in history, accountants have live data to work with, and we shouldn’t waste that. And our clients should embrace that as well. So our clients who are on some form of cloud accounting software, they have live, up to the minute, robust, accounting strength data, so we can make better business decisions for them and with them. And we can become a bit more of a day-to-day partner in the business as needed or as requested. It’s something that, yeah, I think all clients should really embrace.
Greg: And how have your customers received you being a technology company doing accounting? Have they accepted that? Have they appreciated your input into their business?
Mark: Oh look, I guess it’s not our slogan, “We’re a technology company doing accounting”, but internally, that’s where we have our mindset. We’re thinking it gives us a competitive advantage above our competitors, and also, is to the advantage of our clients, because they’re up-to-date with what’s going on in terms of their IT systems, in terms of their bookkeeping processes, and how streamlined and efficient they are.
Greg: Excellent. So I see you’re on the cutting edge of IT and how that can then better your own business. When you see all your customers, and what they’re going through in trying to run their business, I image they’ll probably come to you, or you will see in their own situation, the need for them to get their IT together to improve things?
Greg: And what sort of advice would you give someone who’s looking for partnering with an external IT company in selecting someone that can look after them?
Mark: I think accessibility is the big thing for us, the ability to provide a good service and a timely service. If we have got a problem, we want it fixed straight away, or, you know, within a reasonable amount of time. If it’s something that’s holding us up, you know, and most businesses these days, but especially us and a lot of our clients, is about if our IT system is down, we’re not productive. So we need to partner with someone that we know is future proofing our business as well, but also has the ability to make changes and fixes straightaway.
Greg: So what the irony is, that you can have, IT can make efficiencies, but if you get it wrong, it can really hurt the business. So you need someone who can work with you, to make sure it always stays efficient.
Mark: That’s right, and we spent a lot of time with you, the Network Overdrive guys, to make sure we’re future proofed and to plan for these sorts of things, because no matter the best plans you lay down, something could go wrong. And we’ve had a few instances where that has happened, and there was a case where, you know, some of your team stayed back and worked on the weekend and all that sort of stuff to get it finished so we were right to go Monday morning. And that sort of service is invaluable because, you know, mistakes will happen and when they do we need them fixed.
Mark: But we also need to be working on future proofing the business in terms of, if IT is down, but also in terms of keeping us competitive in our particular industry.
Greg: Thanks, Mark.
Mark: No worries.