The Right Way to Implement New Software at Your Accounting Firm
This episode was originally published on April 26, 2018, but it’s a favorite among our Growing Your Firm Podcast community, so we’re bringing it back! Share your thoughts on social to tell us if you’ve been listening to the podcast since the original airing of this episode.
- The Struggle Most Accounting Firms Have With New Technology
- Steps to Actually Implement New Accounting Applications
- Tips to Uncover the Best Apps to Use Right Now
- The Magic Power of Zapier
- Learn more about Satterley Training & Consulting.
- Give Zapier a try!
- Schedule a consultation with Heather!
- Check out another episode with Heather on our podcast.
- Watch a recap of a live session Heather presented at our Lift Customer Conference in 2020.
Meet Heather Satterley
Heather Satterley, the founder of Satterley Training & Consulting, opened her practice in 2017. Her specialty is working with accounting professionals and even small business owners on implementing applications with Quickbooks. Heather herself has been a Quickbooks ProAdvisor for almost 20 years.
What she does sounds simple enough, but when you need an entire ecosystem running on auto-pilot, the non-techies can get tangled up quickly. Similar to Jetpack Workflow, Heather believes in the importance of businesses implementing technology to better themselves, save time, and maintain higher profits.
On this episode of the Growing Your Firm Podcast, David Cristello and Heather Satterley dive into:
- When you should start looking into new technology solutions
- Steps to actually implement new accounting applications
- Tips to uncover the absolute best apps to use right now (and more)
The Struggle Most Accounting Firms Have with New Technology
Many firms get hung up on the what, which, why of the technology movement and more often than not, pay for technology without fully understanding the benefits or utilizing the entirety of their programs. This can result in a huge waste of time and money.
To combat this, Heather recommends doing an app inventory. Taking an app inventory means going over every app in your toolkit and listing out all of the features they provide. You will likely uncover apps with features you need, but didn’t know were available.
Creating an app inventory will also help you avoid becoming overwhelmed with your tech. When making the transition to a more technologically advanced business, it’s easy to focus on the big picture and only view a mountain of changes. It can seem like too much at once. Instead, Heather recommends “chunking.” Chunking breaks everything down into smaller pieces so that it’s easier to understand. Even Heather uses this system when implementing new accounting applications.
Steps to Actually Implement New Accounting Applications
Again, Heather emphasized the importance of chunking. She says to think about which application would be easiest to get started with first. In other words, figure out which app gives you the biggest bang for your buck and requires the shortest installation time. This will help your team see that making the transition towards more technology can save your firm time and money. It will show them quick progress, something everyone can appreciate.
Additionally, this strategy gives you a quick win. It proves you can successfully implement a new application with minimal effort. Showing these quick wins to your team makes even the skeptics more open to change.
Tips to Uncover the Best Apps to Use Right Now
First, you should define your pain points. Look at your workflow and see where the hiccups are. Sit down with the team members and go through their day. Ask questions like, “what is the least fun part of your day?” For Heather, she hated time tracking. The software would freeze up and delete her data. That’s the type of info to extract. These conversations will put you in your employee’s shoes to know the first step to take and what apps to look for.
Pro Tip: If you’re not clear on what the pain is, then every new app will be a solution for you. Because you don’t know what you’re looking for, everything looks good! Bad trap to fall in.
Second, after getting pain points, evaluate the solutions. Study which applications in the marketplace can talk to each other and which can work with the software you have now. You should start with the must haves before you start catering to nice to haves.
Have your eyes set on applications that provide ease of use, ease of implementation, how responsive the app’s tech team is, and reviews of the product.
Heather provided a few tips for finding the best apps:
- Start at Apps.com (Intuit’s vault of applications)
- Read blogs looking for apps (can Google for these)
- Read Zapier’s advice sections for recommendations
- Read CPA Practice Advisor
- Read the Insightful Accountant
- Join a networking group for accountants and ask around
*Note: Zapier is Heather’s go-to resource for connecting applications.
Pro Tip: Using an app like Zapier might cost a few dollars, but how much time and effort are you saving using this tool? That’s the mark of a firm of the future.
The Magic Power of Zapier
Zapier is a tool that connects other cloud-based apps to each other and allows you to build custom integrations between them. Most apps have open APIs meaning developers can connect to them and send info back and forth.
The dashboard is very straightforward and easy. Our free Zapier course makes it even easier to set up from within Jetpack Workflow.
How it works is that each action is called a zap. A zap is a trigger inside of one application that begins a chain reaction of tasks. It could be an email you send, an entry in Quickbooks, adding a new client to your CRM, etc. When this zap happens, the information is automatically shared with the other apps. This saves you time making double entries or repeating easy tasks.
It can be a struggle to implement new technology but with Heather’s tips, and tools like Zapier, you could be saving more time and money. To learn more about how Heather aids firms in successfully transitioning to a technology-based firm, listen to the full podcast above!