Updated: Aug 19, 2020
Author: Tanya Hilts, CPB
June 16, 2017
So, this topic comes to me after reading a blog post about how apps are destroying our accounting and bookkeeping businesses. My direct response is no, apps are not destroying our accounting practices - unless we let them. Like any tool, if you don't know how to use it correctly, it can do damage. I look at the abundance of apps we have readily available at our fingertips, as just that, tools. We need to learn how to use them and what jobs they are best suited for. I mean, if you are going to paint a room in your house, you don't need to bring your table saw along to help you with the job. Just like you wouldn't leave the roller out and only bring along paint brushes. The most effective tools to get the job done would be a paint tray, paint brush for cutting in those edges and your trusty roller. Each of those tools serves a different purpose. If you had a different room to paint, there may be a lot of nail holes in which case you would need your patching supplies. But would you let a sales person sell you your spackle and spackle supplies if the walls were perfect? No, so why should we look at the apps any different.
There is a time and a place for the apps and you should learn when to utilize them to get the job done efficiently and correctly. Giving proper advice and a custom, effective solution is a start to becoming that clients' "Trusted Advisor". I don't mark up the cost of my apps. This way my client can be assured that I am looking out for their best interest and not just to upsell. Don't get me wrong, I make a point to try all the apps to test them out to see when or how they may be applicable, and have many in my tool box for when or if I need them, however my tool belt is only equipped with what I need to complete the job I am quoting at the moment. My philosophy is the Kiss method. Keep It Simply Simple.
During my work with other cloud bookkeepers I have also found out that there is no single definition for "Trusted Advisor". Each person has their own definition as to how they see themselves fitting in as their clients' most "Trusted Advisor" and that's OK. I have different definitions for different clients just as I'm sure each client has a different definition of what they see as a "Trusted Advisor". But one thing I'm sure all clients agree with is that they don't want to be sold something they don't need. So if you are the type to quote the latest and greatest app without a justification to at least yourself, that you could then articulate to your client about what this app will do for them and why it is an important part of their accounting workflow, then, yes, apps just may end up in destroying your accounting business. But, if you are flexible with the times, learn how your tools can help (or in some cases hinder), keep your clients' needs and wants in your sight at all times, and include what is necessary in a custom and efficient solution, then you will find as I did that integrating the right apps into your solutions will take your practice to new levels you had not even dreamed possible.
Until next time,
About the author: Tanya has earned her Certified Professional Bookkeeper designation through CPB Canada, is an Advanced Certified QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor, and a Member of the Intuit Trainer Writer Network. To Tanya, being a forward-thinking entrepreneur means constantly increasing her own knowledge level and obtaining more certifications, education, and experience in order to not only increase the services and benefits she can offer her clients but to spread that awareness to other members of the accounting community. Tanya's passion for advancing the accounting profession has lead her to regular speaking engagements. Tanya's publically known enthusiasm for the industry has led her to become a current Director of CPB Canada. www.TanyaHilts.com