10 Essentials of Online Accounting
1. Software as a Service (SaaS) – This is a model of software deployment that allows the consumer or business owner to access information on-demand. SaaS is a low cost way for businesses to obtain and store information without having to manage software applications or expensive servers. You and your client can have access to information anytime, anywhere.
Cloud9 offers a SaaS, the e-Dashboard technology. Benefits of the System:
- Eliminate Upfront Hardware Costs
- Off-Site Storage and Back-Up
- Ability to Search for Documents in Seconds
- No Additional Costs for Updates
- No IT Department to Manage
- Expert Customer Support
- Global Availability – Access Anytime, Anywhere
- No Server Maintenance
- Go Green – Paperless Office
- Instant Access to Innovative Technologies
- 99.9% Up-Time
- Centralized data – Stop Sending Files Back and Forth
- Private Labeling of Product
- More Powerful and Secure IT Infrastructure
- True Multi-User Environment
- Save Time – Focus on the Core of your Business
- Faster Implementation
- Reduce On-Going Costs
- Scalability – Faster Time to Market Your Business
- Increase Customer Satisfaction and Retention
2. Professional Website – It is essential that an online accounting practice establish a professional presence and offer technologically advanced services. Premier websites offer the following advantages:
- Increase Visibility
- Define Vision
- Service for your Clients
- Portal to Release Time Sensitive Material
- Sell Your Products/Services
- Increase Demographic
- Answer Frequently Asked Questions
- Banish Geographic Boundaries
- Create a 24/7 Marketing Tool
- Create a 24/7 Customer Service Tool
3. Professional Branding – It is important to set yourself apart from your competition. Marketing techniques created specifically for a product, service or brand help to create an image. Branding seeks to increase the product’s perceived value to the customer and thereby increase brand equity. Marketers see a brand as an implied promise that the level of quality people have come to expect from a brand will continue with future purchases from the same company. This can increase sales and also helps to establish recognizable characteristics, imagine McDonald’s without the golden arches!
4. Marketing Plan – Marketing, advertising, graphic design, branding – all of these things can get to be very expensive. It is thus important to establish a marketing plan and a marketing budget. Without these targets set, a business can sink thousands of dollars into marketing without even recognizing the total cost. Be explicit in what you are trying to accomplish, what mediums you will use to target your demographic, and what a realistic budget is to get the job done.
5. Sales Plan – A sales plan establishes not only your target demographic but also the process in which you attempt to foster the prospective sales. Establishing an efficient sales process and sales cycle allows for streamlined work function and maximum return on investment.
6. Live Support – Let’s face it, when dealing with technology, there will be speed bumps. Users will have trouble and systems can get bugs. Offering clients a help desk option will not only increase customer satisfaction but will also make the work process more speedy in troubleshooting problems quicker.
7. Private Label Login Portal – Clients like to know that their data is safe, secure and being handled by only the accountants that they are familiar with and trust. This is why having a privately labeled login portal is so crucial. It gives name recognition, branding and a sense of security.
8. Operations Plan – Any company can pump thousands of dollars into a marketing plan, create a stellar sales process, but if their operations are flimsy – their business will be too! Customer satisfaction is directly linked to customer retention. Implementing a firm operations plan with set policies and procedures helps alleviate mis-communication within an office and keeps things consistent.
9. Training – What’s the point of having a great system if you and your clients don’t know how to use it? Having a proven turnkey training solution as a resource is going to help increase productivity as well as satisfaction.
10. Think Green – The paperless office is not as far off as it may seem. Be rid of clunky file cabinets and all the expenses that come with recurring office supply purchases. Creating a virtual office for you and your clients not only adds convenience but security as well.