As I was winding down for the day flicking through what the TV had to offer I started thinking about one of my favourite programs as a child with a tinge of nostalgia. Star Trek.
It always fascinated me how Bones (he was the Doctor on the Starship Enterprise) had what appeared to be a clip board that he always held in his left hand. Miraculously he was able to elicit whatever he needed to know without actually turning a page. You have to remember that computers weren't even around back then.
Who would of thought, that piece of Sci-fi fantasy we were watching all those years ago is now in fact a reality today.
Many small and medium sized businesses have either adopted or are looking very closely with a view to adopting a cloud based accounting solution.
Many of those early adopters of cloud based accounting have taken yet another revolutionary step and are conducting their business from mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets.
Added to the cloud based accounting solution and those smart little hand held devices, are a plethora of new and dynamic applications to help businesses to work faster, be more responsive and to analyse performance as it is actually happening.
So that's where we, the accountants, step in. A business needs to know about what's available, what it can do and a recommendation from someone they can trust.
What businesses don't need is a door to door sales man in a shiny new suit. I believe they have also evolved with technology. Instead of knocking on door to door they just spam your inbox, it has a much bigger reach and they can do it with more frequency. I've also noticed that when you Google something looking for an answer, soon after email offers start arriving and advertisements pop up uninvited on your social media sites. I only use Facebook for social media, so that's what I am basing this observation on.
Trust comes from a few places. At PKF, we have been working with businesses for quite some time and we understand a lot of the problems. We've helped resolve quite a few and we've given advice that has helped to improve profitability, cash flow and a return on investment. That's experience and expertise.
We also know our clients and their businesses. We know that one hat does not fit everyone, so we take the time to listen, not to judge or give advice about what we can do (not what is actually needed). That's being a good listener; asking questions and understanding.
We also work hard to educate and that's not just clients. We do this by offering regular monthly seminars, the most popular right now is Xero, the cloud based accounting software. But our Xero seminars aren't just an overview of Xero, they provide some real insight into how it works, what it actually means, how to get the maximum benefit out of it and what other applications are available to work with it. One seminar could not possibly cover it all. So we chunk it down into topics such as payroll, invoicing, using mobile devices, Q&A, tips and tricks etc. Jancy and Janine freely answer questions and give advice so it's a whole lot more focused and intuitive than a Google search, takes less time and is not subject to email spam later on. The problem with a Google search is it's hard to search what you don't know or what to look for if you haven't been given any clues. So that's where we come in, sharing our knowledge and expertise.
What we really get excited about is that by helping in this way we have noticed clients are getting to understand their business better and are able to make better decisions.
We also benefit immensely because we are more informed, we have up to date financial information that allows us to monitor, be more responsive and timely in our advisory role, and this in turn helps us to do even better work.
I believe today we have the equivalent of Bone's clipboard at our call. It may not give all the answers as it did in Star Trek but isn't that really a matter of finding out what is the right solution for you and your business, learning how to use it, understanding it and taking some trusted advice.