Typically in practices that have progressed along their cloud journey (about 15% of current cloud accounting firms), they nominate an individual to be the cloud champion.
The role of a cloud champion is explained below:
- Ensure that they know their respective cloud accounting solution very well, whether that is Quickbooks, MYOB, or Xero. Some firms tend to favour one of the software vendors, while others have a more agnostic view, and tend to go with a hybrid cloud solution.
- Train internal staff.
- Assist partners with assessing clients requirements to convert from traditional systems to cloud-based solutions.
- Convert clients to the cloud.
- Train the client on the new cloud solution.
- Support the client as they make the transition across to the cloud.
- Provide troubleshooting for the entire organisation.
Typically the cloud champion is someone who has an accounting background, with a very solid understanding of systems and IT. In essence, the role of a cloud champion in your typical practice is that of a hybrid systems administrator.
You no longer need someone to maintain and run those costly servers, ensure that security is up to date, maintain your backups, etc. as this is all done in the cloud for you. This is one of your first major savings as you transition into the cloud. In the past, you would typically outsource this and also have an internal “guru” that knows accounting software to do the above.
Now you only really need one person, and no more costly servers, as they will be rendered near obsolete in the next 5-10 years.
Is that the only role of a cloud champion?
I’m afraid if that’s the only role of a cloud champion, your firm is leaving a lot on the table.
In a recent presentation to one of the big four (sorry I cannot disclose which one), we outlined which three key skills a cloud champion needs to have. In the above “typical” description we outlined two: Accounting and IT. But there is a third skill that is as important.
It is Sales and Marketing.
This often overlooked and untrained skill is probably the most important skill for your cloud champion. Alternatively, perhaps it is even a complete role by itself, but it is most effective in combination with the accounting know how, and the IT how to.
Often business development managers, take on this role, but they lack the other two skills and as such come across very “salesy” for the use of a better word.
What does this all have to do with Add-ons?
A cloud champion that is trained to understand clients and look for real solutions that can truly help them is the greatest asset of the modern accounting firm. It is the above unique skill set that will propel your organisation into the forefront and open up a myriad of opportunities.
The opportunities not only allow you to understand your clients needs more but be able to assist them with the proper solutions, that further leads to better advise and makes your firm indispensable as a trusted advisor.
When we think of holistic healing it is complete healing for the body, not just bandage/symptom based solutions.
So with accounting, stop with the bandage solutions that only just scrape the surface of the real problems and become an accounting firm that offers a complete solution.
A firm that has insights not just into the statutory needs, but one that completely understands the relationship between an e-commerce solution, a traditional retail store, multiple warehouses, debtor management and payroll management to name one of many different scenarios.
Tell me about the opportunities?
In the next article, I will run you through typical opportunities that are available and have a calculator so that you can work out potentially what it is worth to your organisation. Whether its worth the time and effort to pursue the “new” paradigm of doing business in the cloud.
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