We sat down with Trevor Cowley, one of the founders of Easier Accounting, and Chris Hibbs, technical accounting expert, to get their perspective on the power of cloud technology in accounting firms.
Tell us a bit about how you have arrived here in your career(s)?
The owners have had multiple businesses previously together, and the common problem with them was that the accounting tasks were never completed how we would have liked them to. There was either not enough communication from the accountants, it was too costly, or it didn’t have a high enough standard of quality. We searched for a solution but couldn’t find what we were looking for. Instead, we created the solution. We hired accounting experts to fulfil the services while making sure that we solved the issues we experienced as business owners. Now Easier Accounting services hundreds of businesses with great communication, high quality, all while being cost-effective through the use of cloud technology.
What are the tangible benefits a business can experience moving away from legacy software, paper or spreadsheets to a cloud approach?
As a company we wanted to pick a software that was easily understood, cost-effective and got the job done. Xero was the obvious solution.
We’ve saved our clients countless hours by moving their bookkeeping to cloud where we utilize systems and software to ensure seamless bookkeeping done in a timely matter.
We’ve helped many of our clients gain accuracy and visibility to see expenses that were missed on the income tax returns, then amended those returns to put tens of thousands of dollars back into our client's pockets.
Chris, do you have any success stories you can share with us?
We had a client contract our services to do the bookkeeping moving forward. We reviewed his financials to make sure we had the correct beginning balances. We discovered that a total of $150,000 of equipment was missing from his balance sheet. After a quick review of his tax return, it was missing there too. That means he was missing out his largest tax deduction: Depreciation Expense. We updated his financials, then amended his taxes to get him a refund of nearly $25,000.
What do you think is the biggest misconception of the Cloud?
That it is complex and hard to use. We’ve worked with a wide range of clients that have an even wider range of tech-skills. All of our clients are able to successfully use our recommended software because we make it easy for them. We walk them through all aspects of the systems and provide as much support as we can.
What are the risks of not moving with the digital times?
Wasting time. With all of the systems that exist, there is so much data that is either being entered by hand or missed entirely. Utilizing this cloud efficiency, our clients can focus on their zone-of-genius to help maximize their business.
With so many applications now available can you recommend any quick wins, or your secret sauce for matching apps to business requirements?
The secret sauce is implementing a system that can be a set-and-forget system. Xero is a great system to use as a focal point for your accounting information because it can connect/integrate to a lot of other systems who are leaders in their industry like Re-Leased.
We are in the middle of a Cloud revolution. We are seeing the uptake of automation, artificial intelligence, and many more technology innovations. What shifts do you think we will see in the next 2 years, any predictions for the future?
Things are changing quickly and are going to continue to accelerate. A lot of tasks and responsibilities are going to be off-loaded to technology. This is amazing because it will free up time away from the data entry side of accounting.
Accountants will spend less time reconciling transactions therefore it will help make it even more cost efficient for business owners.
More often than not, when a client adds a software system like Re-Leased to their processes they free up their time by leveraging the software to work for them. This means that they can use that time to work on the business instead of for the business. When business owners get stuck doing the monotonous tasks, their business suffers compared to when they are able to address the bigger issues or find more clients.
Our advice: Don't waste time solving problems that have already been solved using property management software that can do it faster than you could by hand, on spreadsheets, or using legacy software.
What do you think the accountants role is now in business solutions advisory - how has this changed?
Due to the Cloud Revolution it is freeing up some time for accountants to be more hands on with their clients. The accounting industry isn’t just punching numbers anymore, it's advising.
The accounting industry is moving toward an advisory and consulting position of companies. That means that accountants, more than anyone else, need to keep up to date and never stop moving forward.
Have you seen the shift of people buying into the cloud promise - resistance to adoption?
We still see a lot of people that have a hard time moving to the cloud. These are the late adopters, people who are waiting to the last minute to switch. The longer they wait, the more expensive and harder it will be to catch up with the rest of us.
Trevor, who is your business inspiration?
I personally like Ed Mylett and Andy Frisella. They both have built great businesses and done while building up the culture within their organization so the employees and customers buy into their purpose either being apart of the company through being a customer or an employee. We are all about building a community within our business that believes in the goal of making the accounting industry better as a whole.
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