In a interview session with Ace Cloud Hosting, Andrew Marder from Capterra threw light on the role of a service provider or an advisor in suggesting an accounting system for the clients. In the podcast, we tried to understand further on his session on ‘How to Develop a System for Selecting Accounting Technology’ that he delivered at Accountex USA 2016.
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Watch the full Interview here:
Listen on SoundCloud:
The interview may look lengthy, but it’s worth the time, especially for business looking to upgrade their accounting system, for the quality of information shared by Andrew.
Roger: Good morning, Andrew! This is Roger Stevens from Ace Cloud Hosting. How are you doing today?
Andrew: I am doing well Roger. Thank you so much for having me today.
Roger: It’s great to have a virtual acquaintance with you. It’s a wonderful day and just for our viewers, I wanted to give a context that I heard about your speaking session at Accountex on developing a system for choosing an accounting software for your clients. Since I could not attend that session and we had a similar situation at our workplace, I wanted to connect with you to learn a bit more.
So, what really happened was that within our business we offer cloud hosting for our clients, especially dedicated into the accounting software area. We host multiple applications like QuickBooks, Sage, or Microsoft Dynamics, etc. One of our prospective clients asked us that he has not decided what he likes to host and asked our suggestion.
We did a fair job with suggestions that we gave him and his feedback at the end of the project was that what we chose for him was actually suitable to his requirement.
It was I think it was a hunch that we could really do it in a very decent way. So if you can just run me through what you really think about how one should go about choosing an accounting software for the clients that would be really helpful for us and viewers.
Andrew: Of course. So I think that this is what I talk about in my talk at Accountex last year. The most important thing that a provider or an adviser can do when they are talking to their clients about finding software is, have a list of products that they are comfortable with. So you mentioned for instance that you hosts QuickBooks, Sage and a couple others and it’s that sort of list.
Having a short list where you’re comfortable picking any of those options when giving it to the client it’s really important to get that honest feedback from a client but also to make the client feel like they can trust you it’s not about coming in and saying I have one solution and you’re stuck with it and it’s also not about there you there are 400 options to pick from and now pick your favorite.
It’s about bringing it down to the small group, understanding the needs of your client and then finding a way to match up their needs with a small group that you have to give them real honest solutions for the problems that they’ve got.
Roger: But the bigger question is that since there are so many solutions available with so many features these days how to really find out that what your client really wants at the end of the day because that’s a tricky question to start with because if your direction goes wrong in the beginning then eventual result won’t be right that’s for sure.
Andrew: Yeah, one of the difficulties but I think many advisors and providers are having right now is that they’re switching over to, I don’t think, it’s strictly a sales mentality but it was slightly different sales system that they may have used before and part of that system is really understand the outcome that your clients are looking for it’s not that they just want to get their taxes done or that they just want to have a place to keep their data securely but they’re trying to achieve specific things either with their business or personally so they’re trying to hire 15 more people by the end of the year or grow revenue by 25 percent or they’re trying to increase the amount of time that they’ve got to spend with their family.
If you understand those underlying assumptions, underlying goals that people have then you are in a much better position to make. It seems odd that you would need that information to make software decision but it really can change the sort of decision that you give someone and so for instance if you know that someone is looking for, which I think they everyone should be right now at least, looking for a cloud solution, they’re going to come to you and say I have this need to be in the clouds.
Now, they made to think that because they’ve been told that the cloud is the place to be but in reality you’re there to say well here the problems that a cloud solution actually solve. You’re on the road a bunch and you don’t want to have to save receipt in your back pocket. You’re on the road a bunch and you want to be able to pay attention what’s going on.
You’re worried about security in such a way that you’re not happy with the physical security of your current location and you want more diversity from different locations and backup storage things like that. Cloud offers all of them in hosting. Here’s how the solution that I have fit the needs that you have and it’s not the need of doing my taxes.
It’s the need of having faith and not having to worry about it and getting the accounting done quicker every day and having more time with my family. Understanding those problem and then matching it up with the proper solution that you have available.
Roger: True. And hackers these are getting so smart that they don’t really look at whether you’re an SMB or a well-established organization if they really want to hit you and access your data they end up doing that irrespective of your size. So being on the cloud with all the security solutions in place makes you really feel safe that your information is really secured and no unwanted people are actually accessing it. So yeah, that becomes very imperative.
Recommended Reading: 7 Must-Follow Rules for Complete Data Security on Cloud
Andrew: Yeah, and that level of trust and that level security is something that means a lot of people. When people come to the advisor or to just bookkeeping firm or anybody and says I need accounting software, what they’re not expecting to get is a solution that makes them feel more secure and happier about the way they’re storing the data. You can add that extra bit of security to them.
They’re just going to be much more committed to the solution that you provide, and to you as a company or an advisor because you’re giving them something they didn’t even know they could have but that they definitely want. So it’s a perfect place for people to be in. Being in that role, trusted advisor and being able to say I have the solution that’s perfect for your deal.
You can add that extra bit of security to them. They’re just going to be much more committed to the solution that you provide, and to you as a company or an advisor because you’re giving them something they didn’t even know they could have but that they definitely want. So it’s a perfect place for people to be in. Being in that role, trusted advisor and being able to say I have the solution that’s perfect for your deal.
Roger: Though it’s a perfect spot but in our limited experience we realize that whenever you actually trying to bring in a change there are always some nerves attached to it. So, handing those nerves properly is really the moment that of you actually to make it or break it. If at that particular moment you can’t really established a trust or give it a complete confidence to the other person things may not materialize. So how do you handle those nerves this is something that you want to know.
Andrew: I think handling the nerves is a difficult one but it comes again from understanding the needs and desires your customers have. Though there’s always a slight bit of nerves that every change and there’s nothing you can do about that. There’s going to be a little bit. It’s a case with a new you purchase or new software implementation is like someone’s opening the door and they don’t know what’s behind it.
What you can do is give them as much information about what’s behind the door before they have to open it so that they’re ready for anything that is on the other side. So calming those nerves is all about setting expectations, about being realistic about timeline, about telling people the real risk. So they understand and they aren’t staying up at night thinking of new risks to themselves.
You give them all of the potential problems, all the benefits all in one go. So they have a real understanding of how to change that you’re helping them make is going to enable their business. If you oversell the benefits or you undersell the risks they’re going to be furious when it doesn’t work out the way that they anticipate. Then they’re never going to come back to you.
If you sell it correctly, if you say this is the real risk, this is the real benefit. As soon as they see those benefits materialize, as soon as they’re able to overcome those risks they’re going to have that extra level of trust with you because now you’ve made a recommendation and you held your word and you give them something that, again, they didn’t know that they wanted but you were able to provide that for them by understanding their real need.
Roger: Yeah but up there’s a lot of groundwork involved when someone really makes a recommendation to someone handing the nerves, background, understanding the need but say once you are like 80 percent into the project before you make that make out your final recommendations you have a whole lot of information to present.
They feel overwhelmed that I have all these things to say then how would I end up doing it effectively is something that’s also an art, which many top leaders do it very well when the come on public and share their opinion about a particular topic. So, in an argument case in our daily life if you’re making a recommendation we are also having a lot of bunch of information which has to be shared at the right time during the presentation do you have any quick tips?
Andrew: Yeah, my tips for that sort of presentation always just all about making your audience as comfortable as possible. It’s going to be different each time you talk to them. The first company to talk to you may want to know all those risk factors right up front because that may be the thing that they’re most worried about.
For somebody else may want a little more hand-holding of the process at the beginning. You have to understand the first hurdle that your client is facing before you can figure out the way that you’re presenting the material back to them. If you don’t understand what they’re most worried about, it doesn’t have to be a worry, it maybe that small thing in front of them, they’re looking down and saying hey well I love all the options.
I’ve got here but I’m a little bit worried about the cost if you can check in and the first move is to address cost then and you can set them up to be more responsive to the solution that you provide and they re just going to pay more attention. So, I think it just about paying as much attention as you can to the needs of the client and understanding what it really is they’re trying to get at.
Roger: Absolutely, absolutely! Now after you have done everything right, understanding where they’re coming, handling the nerves, giving them a recommendation, there could be two aspects to it. Either you going to do it, your recommendation would really float in and would get good results or you fall on your face, maybe it’s like a below average job. What do you think are the benefits, advantages or disadvantages of both the results.
Andrew: Honestly, if it works out, if it’s the solution that they’re really looking for it ties together then they’re gonna be happy with the outcome. We’re going to have a customer hopefully for life or we sold the life of their company. Or that’s a clear winner for everybody. The difficult situation is when you make the wrong recommendation or you make the right recommendation that the customer doesn’t make the moves that they need to make in order to make it right. It’s very possible. That happens all the time.
You think about car buying. You buy a car perfect for you but you don’t treat it right, you’re running in the ground or you grow in such a way that you weren’t anticipating, you told the used car dealer you wanted a sports car but then two days later you and your family grow by. If as a client you have these unexpected changes in the product, it’s possible the product changes underneath you and you’re no longer at the right fit for the product that has been recommended or as an advisor, it’s possible that you make the wrong recommendation.
Later, it is a difficult situation to be and as you have haven’t followed through with what you promised. You said you’re going to find the right solution and it didn’t work out that way. The only thing you can do, I think, from those situations is what we do whatever we validated else which is trying to learn from as much as possible.
Try and retain at least a positive relationship with the customer if not the customer themselves and then move on and use that information to make a better recommendation next time, to ask better questions next time or to give better recommendations next time like this is the right product but you need to do XY and Z. You have to understand how important it is to do those things well. There’s a lot to be learned from failure but failure is so frustrating.
Roger: Yeah, as a matter of fact, the client that we actually did that recommendation for and things went fairly well he signed up like a two-year contract with us, which is like a very decent tenure to start your relationship with. Because generally people do like a one-year contact to start with and 95-96% of our clients do end up renewing every time.
But this guy was like two years up front, which was a great news. So yes, I think things that you mentioned do really happen. And there are precautions and the way things go about it are very close to the way you described. So I thank you very much for that Andrew and I have read your content a lot and on the same lines and you’ve been you’ve been writing quite a great stuff in the accounting software world and I dedicatedly follow your content and my team.
We try to copy your style of writing so that something we look forward to and I must admit because we have you on the line here with us.
Andrew: Thanks very much, Roger. I appreciate. We have we like what we do over Capterra and we think we can help people out of the well. So it’s nice to be able to talk to folks like you and go to Accountex that we do all these things where we trying to help folks, suppliers for QuickBooks and Sage for the world. I approached their operate a little bit better but also have the customer to get a little bit better understanding of the product.
Roger: I would like to call the session now because we have I think that viewers have got the most of what we wanted to share with them. And yeah it was really nice speaking to you and we loved to touch base with you more on similar topics so that the people and other professional get to do get to do the most with your experience.
Thank you, Andrew.