“With the way the profession is moving, accountants will start prescribing apps to clients the way a doctor prescribes drugs.” – Doug Sleeter, founder and president, The Sleeter Group.
Of course as an accountant you have much financial advice to give, and you know just about QuickBooks trick in the book- but you can also save the day by introducing your clients to apps that solve some of their most annoying (or troublesome) pain points. Your expertise and rockstar status shines through, and your clients problems get solved- win: win! Here’s how to evaluate software and apps for your clients (and why you totally should!).
What are their problems?
Most of the time, your clients’ problems can be alleviated by utilizing a technological solution. All the companies listed on apps.com have discovered a pain point experienced by a large number of businesses, and have created a service to solve it. Ask your client what accounting or financial tasks take up much of their time, or where they wish they could make improvements (no HR department? trouble snail mailing contracts?). You can easily expand your accounting practice just by demonstrating your skills as a general business or financial advisor. Make it a regular habit to be more involved in your client’s business. Once you have a heart-to-heart about their pain points, take to Apps.com!
Look through the categories that correspond to their problems (productivity, operations, etc). Use your digital prowess to identify possible digital solutions! Keep an eye out for options your client may not have even known were possible, like integrating their Etsy seller account with their QuickBooks! Don’t forget, you can even use the Help feature to describe the specific problem to the QuickBooks app experts.
Compare & Contrast
Chances are, there will be a few different tech options to choose from. Take a look at the websites for each possibility. Make sure the minimum requirements are met before taking your evaluation much further:
Is one obviously more popular than the other? Check reviews and social profiles. When evaluating social followers, actually click through to see if the social accounts of their followers are real. Brand new or small companies shouldn’t automatically be excluded, but chances are that is one is much more favored than the other amongst real customers, it’s for good reason.
Is the company state-specific? Some laws or regulations may vary state to state, and depending on the solution you’re seeking, some apps may only be suitable for certain locals.
Is it desktop or online only? Make sure the app will work with the version of QB used by your client!
Is it mobile or web only? Make sure the formatting and access possibilities work with what your client needs (web vs mobile app, iPhone vs Android, etc)
The QuickBooks apps team won’t allow illegitimate companies to list on their marketplace, so you don’t need about that too much.
Key Points: Pricing, Security, & Customer Service
When considering the details of several comparable app solutions, the most important aspects to compare in order to make the most personalized suggestion possible for your client are pricing, security, and customer service.
Pricing: Do the calculations for pricing differences. Check out the different plan types, note if the charge is by user or by company plan. Check out their payment policies (a few companies do not give refunds once you pay for the whole year, for example). You know what your client feels comfortable spending, as well as the prices they are already paying for various business services. Your client might baulk at a service that costs $200 a month if most of their other business services are in the $20-40 per month range.
Security: How does the company store their customer’s’ information? What security measures do they take? And most importantly, what information are they collecting? If a data breach were to occur, your client will definitely remember it was you who suggested this company in the first place, so take a good deal of time to ensure your client’s data would be safe with the app company.
Customer Service: Technical problems arise, it’s just a fact of life, but if your customer cannot easily resolve their issue- it’s going to make your suggestion look bad. Prepare for the inevitable by ensuring that the customer service team for your suggestion is top notch! Ask what service the company uses to manager their support tickets (still using JUST email or excel? NEXT!), and see if you find many mentions of their customer service quality in their app card reviews. Other great places to research their customer service ratings include G2 Crowd, and TrustRadius. You should also poke around their social media accounts to see if people post complaints, or if their social media team resolves issues for customers there (increasingly a common practice). Don’t forget to cover the basics: it’s becoming more popular for companies to eliminate phone support, so if your client tends to call you (instead of email) for questions or concerns, a company with no phone support is likely not a great fit.
All apps on the QuickBooks apps marketplace come with free trials, so take your two top picks for a test drive to see which is easier to use. You know your client better than the sales people do, so you’ll know which one will be easier for them to use.
Making The Suggestion
The apps in the QuickBooks app center are all designed to make life easier for businesses, and to help them grow. You have the digital expertise to conduct a thorough review for your client, present them with intelligent choices, and they will credit you with making their business run more smoothly. It’s a great idea to position yourself as more than just their tax accountant, but also a trusted business advisor. Trust us, you don’t want to get left behind when all your competitors are offering such services and you suddenly appear to be lacking.