The Cloud Isn’t Just a Technology Change

Get a bunch of cloud accounting experts in a room, and there’ll be plenty of differing opinions about the pace of change among CPA firms and its implications. That’s essentially what Bob Scott of Progressive Accountant did in a recent special report about the cloud, in which he interviewed a cross-section of leaders in the profession, including our president and CEO, Erik Asgeirsson.

There is one area of consensus, Bob found: “There is no doubt that Internet-based software is fundamentally changing organizations and how they conduct business.”

At CPA.com, we agree. We think cloud tools and other emerging technologies make client accounting services a phenomenal growth opportunity for firms, and Progressive Accountant found evidence of the same.

CliftonLarsonAllen, for example, is using our partner Intacct to offer outsourced financial management and accounting services, which has made it easier to step up to larger midmarket companies as clients. “Cloud computing has helped CliftonLarsonAllen change its services from offering write-up to providing more sophisticated outsourced services and is helping it move into the international market,” the Progressive Accountant said.

The end goal for CPA firms is to elevate their game to a higher-value, advisory role with clients, such as outsourced CFO and controller services. Bob Scott raises an interesting question about this: Do CPAs have the right temperament to engage more collaboratively with clients?

Erik says there’s no doubt they do, but there’s a lot more groundwork to be done to make that trusted business advisor relationship work.

“The first step is making sure the advisory skills are where they need to be,” he told the publication. ”Do I have the right pricing strategy? You need to think about the staffing of your firm and how you go about processing your workflow.”

As Erik often says, technology is only part of a Digital CPA practice – and it’s the easy part. CPA firms that want to take advantage of cloud tools and develop better collaboration with their clients need to evaluate their strengths and expertise, review all their business processes and come up with a comprehensive game plan. If you need some advice on how to do that, browse through CPA.com – we’ve got the resources to help you take the next step forward.