August is traditionally a quiet time for many accounting practices, so it’s a good opportunity to discuss how software integration services will become an essential tool to make your practice and clients even more efficient – and create new service lines for your firm. But let’s begin this article with two questions that most accountants should be able to answer.
1. How many hours per week does your firm use on data entry or editing and importing Excel files to another system?
2. Do you want to offer new services to clients, or are you considering ways to generate additional revenue?
If your answers are ‘too many’ and ‘yes’, you’re not alone. But help is on the way! This article will illustrate how software integration can:
- Reduce time wasted on manual data entry in your firm
- Help your clients be more productive
- Allow your firm to focus on more profitable services
- Create new revenue streams for your firm
Benefits of integrating software
The benefits of integrated software systems in your practice and clients businesses are well known, and include:
- Saving time by automating manual data entry processes
- Reducing risk of human error from manual data entry
- Ensuring accurate, consistent records across different systems
- More secure sharing of data with clients rather than emailing Excel files
Why is integration now so important for accountants?
As this article (in Norwegian) discusses, the accounting industry is predicted to be one of the most heavily affected by digitalization and automation in the future, but there are several other reasons why software integration is becoming an essential tool for modern accounting practices.
- Increasing dependence on software
The range of software applications used by businesses has grown, with your clients and own practice increasingly dependent on them. But too often these systems create almost as much work as they save, with many hours a week used entering records.
- Changes in the accounting industry
As Regnskap Norge (Accounting Norway) point out, margins on traditional accounting services are under pressure and these services are in danger of being commoditized. Firms need to automate as many processes as possible and focus on profitable services. Coupled with this, as discussed here, clients increasingly expect a wider range of services that add value to their business.
- Emergence of integration platforms
Even a few years ago, software integration was complex and expensive, normally requiring an IT consultant to help. Now, with new cloud-based platforms like ConnectMyApps, software integration is significantly faster, easier and more affordable to implement, and can be done without IT skills or with a bare minimum of assistance.
How can accounting firms apply software integration to their business?
Software integration can be used by accounting firms in a number of ways, such as:
- Connecting systems used internally in your practice, including automating Excel file importing
- Connecting client software to the systems used in your practice e.g. an invoicing program used by the client directly into your accounting software
- Helping clients connect the software used within their own business e.g. their CRM, webshop, Point of Sale or timesheets to their accounting software
How do integration services fit a typical practice’s business model today?
Providing IT services is not a core business for most accounting practices, so for integration to be offered as part of their services, it must be easy, affordable and beneficial for their clients, and fit naturally with the way the firm works today.
One of the reasons behind Xero’s phenomenal success is that their partner model and the software itself fit seamlessly into an accountant’s operations and made everyday processes simpler for the practice and their clients. ConnectMyApps has adopted this philosophy and designed the platform with accountants in mind, so it complements your existing business.
You do not need to use a lot of time learning new tools or selling in new software, because your firm and your clients are already using these systems every day. Getting them to ‘‘talk’’ to each other is a logical next step and add-on to your existing services.
New do-it-yourself integration tools like ConnectMyApps do not require specialist IT skills to implement and run. Instead, they require a good understanding of business processes and how they can be improved – exactly the type of value added service and skill accountants specialize in.
Revenue opportunities for your firm
Your SMB clients use multiple systems, which are probably not connected in most cases. The opportunity is clear, and now the integration tools are available enabling you to make the most of it, while also making your practice and your clients more efficient.
Typical integration services provided by accounting firms include:
- Business process mapping and setting up integrations for clients
- Ongoing management of clients integrations
- Assistance selecting new software systems to make other business processes more efficient
ConnectMyApps has also offers a partner program for accountants and IT consultants which includes revenue share possibilities on client subscriptions.
Find out more
ConnectMyApps works with accounting firms of all sizes, so please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how we may be able to assist.