Creating an advisory workflow in the cloud is the second pillar common to leading firms on the journey to create their ideal practice. Among other benefits, a cloud based advisory workflow helps with the following:
- Eliminates the need to swap accounting data files for cleanup
- Automates most bookkeeping and reporting tasks
- Improves client collaboration, internal controls and real time insights for decision making
- Supports proactive tax planning
- Reduces tax preparation cycle time by months
- Expands advisory opportunities to improve operations and help clients reach their goals
- Delivers a delightful mobile client experience
- Eliminates geographic boundaries to hiring the best people and serving clients around the world
Marc Berger, CPA and owner of Pure | Purely Solutions in Wimberley, Texas, is an architect and advocate for cloud-based workflows for clients. Pure provides cloud-based apps, processes and expert people to deliver solutions that power prosperity for business clients. His team of twenty advisors research and implement cloud-based apps to automate back office workflows for clients, while also streamlining the tax and accounting compliance work for the firm.
Berger has always been an early adopter of technology and appreciates that cloud automation allows his firm to focus on what they do best – serving clients.
“It looks like everything is going to the cloud,” Berger says. “Apps are how everyone is operating, and we see it as a natural transition from installed software on a server we have to maintain and spend thousands of dollars on every year. We want to lean on Intuit for this. Intuit can do it better, bigger, faster, and they have the systems to do it. Our team at Pure needs to focus on serving our clients, learning complex tax code and helping our clients grow their businesses.”
Berger appreciates the productivity gains of integrated tax and accounting in the cloud to reduce data entry and create capacity for his team.
“If I can take a client and have them in the cloud in QuickBooks Online and sync that data and push it to ProConnect [Tax Online], it allows me to create synergy and really build efficiencies. It allows me to spend more time on servicing my clients and helping them grow their business, which is a win-win for everybody.”
One of the most common reasons firms move to the cloud is to retain key employees who are relocating. The cloud makes it much easier to attract and retain top firm talent.
“The cloud crushes geographic boundaries,” says Berger. “It can be difficult to find all the right people locally, but if firms can expand with cloud and find really great people who live anywhere in the world to be part of their team, it is a really big advantage.”
Pure has transformed from delivering traditional tax and accounting services for local clients, into a global solution provider. Berger has said the cloud gives them the ability to service clients anywhere in the world. Access to real time financials also allows Pure to prepare taxes on the firm’s schedule, instead of relying on clients to bring in tax data, reducing the preparation cycle time from months to days.
Pure’s cloud-based workflow automates most of the transactional activity, so the firm and clients use real time financial data to improve decision making. With access to real time data, Berger’s team is able to proactively provide tax planning and advisory services without nagging clients for information. Collaborating with clients in the cloud naturally creates a pipeline of new advisory opportunities.
Berger and his team do not miss their traditional desktop workflows. Instead of being a janitor and cleaning up books annually for tax preparation, Pure has become the architect who builds and maintains the operating platform for business clients. With a cloud platform of integrated apps, Pure advisors can focus on delivering higher value advisory services.
When asked how they migrated legacy clients from desktop to the cloud, Berger says it wasn’t easy, but they continued to present the business benefits to the client, including more collaboration with the firm, more automation and more real time insights. However, it wasn’t an instant adoption by all clients. Client concerns about learning a new system and paying a subscription instead of an installed software license were some of the hurdles to address.
Eventually, most clients chose the more efficient cloud path recommended by Pure. Pure has seen first-hand if they can educate clients, set realistic expectations and show client’s the benefits, most of the time, they will work with you to transition to cloud-based software.
Creating an advisory workflow in the cloud has helped transform Pure from a traditional firm, to a firm of the future.
“We are at a point now where we aren’t going to take new clients if they are on a desktop solution and are not willing to migrate to the cloud,” says Berger. “It really is chasms apart. When you see the light on what the cloud can do for the client and for the firm, there is just no comparison.”
In the next installment, we’ll examine how leading firms use business performance reviews to help clients achieve goals.
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