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3 Reasons Why a Monthly Model is No Longer the Best Fit for Your Clients

Posted on 24th May 2016 in Advisory

Written by Hannah McIntyre

‘The cloud’ has changed everything, both in business and day-to-day life. We’re used to our needs being met instantaneously. Here’s 3 reasons monthly is dead

In the traditional days of accounting, firms met their small business clients once a quarter. Then, as access to management information improved, most forward-thinking practices moved to a monthly model – delivering management accounts and key numbers to their clients each month, regular as clockwork.

But is the monthly model still fit for purpose in the age of online accounting and real-time access to cloud-based business intelligence data? Shouldn’t you be ramping up those contact points with clients and increasing the number of business conversations you have over the course of the month? And what impact would that have on your client’s business?

Reason 1: Your clients want instant everything – including their numbers

‘The cloud’ has changed everything, both in business and day-to-day life. We’re used to our needs being met instantaneously – whether it’s ordering a pizza from your smartphone, or raising thousands of pounds in funding in a few days.

Technology is so commonplace that expectations will be high, especially from “I needed it yesterday” clients. They want you, and your practice, to deliver exactly what they need the second they pick up the phone to you. And this has a serious impact on what you have to deliver and how often:

  •    Instant advice on their business today and how they are performing against targets
  •    Instant assistance with managing cash flow and forecasting for the future
  •    Instant profit analysis and advice on improving their margins, especially those that are  specific to their industry.
  •    Instant ‘what-if’ scenario planning when a big decision is on the cards

This changes the game significantly.

If you’re currently offering monthly reviews and budgets, your client is already 29 or so days out of date. And, in business, current intelligence is core to decision-making.

What if your client is an online eCommerce site with plans to run four flash sales next month? They will want to know the potential success rate and cost for each offer, and how the business should react to the varying results of these sales campaigns.

And to deliver this analysis, you’ll need to have far more frequent contact with clients.

Reason 2: Slow advice leads to bad decision-making and negative outcomes

Speed is vital when it comes to valuable business advice. When there’s a big business decision to be made, your clients are likely to come you; their trusted adviser. And what they need is objective advice – and quick.

But what happens if the client won’t see you for another two weeks? If the MD makes this decision blind, without you to guide them, what will the outcome be?

If your eCommerce client estimates the results of their flash sale, forgets to include the relevant cost elements, and then goes ahead with their campaign, this could be disastrous. In a month, they’ll be facing decreased sales figures and a cash deficit.

When reports are monthly, you don’t spot the current peaks and troughs in sales and cash flow. And that means you can’t help the client react to them quickly.

Reason 3. Your client’s business operates daily

The beauty of keeping financial data in the cloud is that it’s available in ‘real time’. This information isn’t historic: it’s data that can help you and the client see the health of their business right now – in the present. But that isn’t just relevant for you and your client. Their team have a responsibility to drive the figures so you want toenable them with the information that will ensure they perform better in their role. A Sales Manager in a Recruitment business for example is driving a sales team with weekly meetings. You and your team can get them out of spreadsheets and working with data that works better for the business.

This is exactly why FUTRLI was designed. To empower you to help clients in this manner was impossible before the cloud. And, if you’re forced into spreadsheets, your clients who need the help the most are priced out of the market.

We’ve built FUTRLI from the ground up as a cloud solution to include the past, present and future all in one place: your cloud accounting software and forecasts.  This way, you can help clients every day, and prove your value by bettering their business.  This business intelligence tool allows you to slice and dice their transactional data to create bespoke dashboards that show the true narrative behind your business.

The result? Your  client gets the key business numbers they need whenever they want them, and you get an analytical tool that helps you collaborate with clients to deliver a better future.

The tide is changing: and clients expect real-time advice. We’re a world that doesn’t like waiting anymore

Your practice may have already made the move to the cloud. But are you evolving your use of this technology to truly meet your clients changing business needs?

By limiting your service to the monthly model, you’re not leveraging what can be achieved for both of you.  For you, increased higher-value collaborative work.  For them, fast, accurate information for decision making.

The cloud can work harder for you to strengthen your client relationships.  How do you make that happen?

Educating clients in how to get the financial basics in place is vital. Cloud accounting makes the administration of bookkeeping, expenses, invoicing and paperwork far more efficient. The financial data gets pumped into the system effectively while  FUTRLI transforms that data to turn the lights on in any business that’s being run in the dark.

The most important factor

But where you, the accountant, add the genuine value for clients is with your commercial experience and proactive business advice.

Business intelligence provides the data, and helps with the analysis. But it’s your business brain that actually comes up with the financial solution, or the commercial strategy, that’s going to leave your client looking at a positive P&L statement.

Combine the speed of cloud data with real-time strategic business advice and enable your clients to actually see the improved value you add. Your clients will be able to:

  •    React more quickly, and more effectively, to new business opportunities
  •    Understand their budgets, accounts and key metrics instantly, and (best of all)
  •    Enhance the value they get from the relationship with you, their accountant.

Start getting more from the possibilities of the cloud. Your client – and their business – will thank you for it.