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  5. Understanding your client data is key to identifying app advisory opportunities

Understanding your clients data is crucial in determining what App Advisory service lines you might already have a market to sell to, and which clients need the most help. 

This article highlights some key trigger points in client data that can indicate there is an opportunity for systems improvement which can be raised as a discussion point with your client.

Of these data fields very few are static, therefore analysis of this data should be an ongoing process rather than a one-time activity. Things change, and so your technology advice should adapt to new information. You therefore need a live system that will hold this data and provide regular insight. 

If you don’t already have structured data on your client base to be able to do this, then your starting point will be to get this information, and you will need processes in place to review it regularly for each client. Expanding the service you offer around the VAT returns you do to include this kind of data review would be a good place to start. It should only really take a short time.

Using data analysis tools like Xavier Analytics will give you a live overview will make it easier for you to do this. And as you start to introduce app advisory services, tagging these services in against the relevant clients will then help you to evaluate the impact of these on their finances. 

Sector & Size

Some key client data fields that will be useful in understanding the potential opportunities for supporting your clients with improving their processes include:

1. Industry sector
This will help you understand the number of clients you have for a given sector, and thus help you to set priorities for the app advisory services you offer. You should align the industry sectors you use with our industry sectors as this will make it easier to find the right apps later down the line.

This data will help you to understand the categories of apps that are likely to be relevant across your firm

2. Business size

  • Turnover
  • Staff

Cross referenced with other data fields, knowing these will give you an indication of the likely complexity of any app advisory services you might offer for the individual client, and practice overall. Generally speaking the larger the businesses you work with the more difficult systems change will be.

For businesses that are growing quickly, they are more likely to have immediate problems with their systems and need help. Monitoring turnover/staff levels month on month can therefore help to identify opportunities.

If you have clients with larger numbers of staff, then there’s likely to be a greater need for purchasing management with approval processes, and thus apps like ApprovalMax or Zahara.

For businesses that have staff (aside from the directors), HR management is a challenge that HR software such as CitrusHR can support.

Financial & Non-Financial Data

Financial Data

Turnover
If turnover is rising rapidly it may also mean the business’ systems are under strain. This can mean there’s more urgency to improve them.

Cash position
Regardless of cash position, businesses need cash flow forecasting, but combined with other metrics this information will help you assess the need for other support. For instance perhaps poor inventory management is leading to a worse cash position. Or if the business has growth ambitions but low cash, then options for business finance could be considered using Capitalise.

Sales invoices outstanding
If this number is high then you need to consider credit control apps like Chaser and Satago

Assets
Businesses with a large number of assets, assets held across different locations, or high value assets, are more likely to need advanced asset management software, such as that provided by nettTracker or AssetGuru.

Non-Financial

Number of customers
Where this number is high the business might benefit from a CRM system. The requirements of a CRM will alter based on what the goals are (i.e. sales vs retention), sector specific requirements (i.e. Prospect CRM provides ‘stock aware’ software), integrations, communication methods, and many other variables.

Sales channels
If the business sells across multiple channels and they are a product-based business then they might find it difficult understanding inventory levels across all channels if they are not integrated. In this case they would benefit from a tool that centralises data across all channels.

Number of invoices raised
Where this number is high then cross referencing with the sector can help identify app categories that might be relevant. For instance a high number of invoices for trades business could indicate they could benefit from a project management system.

Number of bills raised and number of suppliers
Where this number is high various app categories are likely to be relevant, the most obvious being data capture, but also payment management systems like Telleroo become more relevant, alongside purchase management apps with approval process.

Alternative systems
If the business is using various different systems then they might have trouble understanding data insights across all of them, and monitoring key performance indicators. This is where reporting and dashboard apps that integrate both financial and non-financial data sources can be helpful.

Growth and growth ambition
In general growing businesses will have more need and appetite for process improvement. But it’s you also want to help clients that aren’t growing to do so, and that’s where growth ambition becomes important. This is a really easy conversation to have with your client, and something you should be asking at least annually.

Apps that you can use to support your clients with growing their business from a data and planning perspective include Clarity.

Next Steps

The best people to identify and discuss opportunities for this work are those that hold the relationship with the client or are working on their data. This is typically a client portfolio manager and their team.

They need training to be able to:

  • Understand broadly the opportunities available
  • Identify how to spot opportunities in the client data
  • Explain what the process looks like for helping clients with their problems

We can provide training and support to you and your practice in identifying opportunities for App Advisory services and converting them into chargeable App Advisory. Get in touch if you would like to find out more about how we can help.

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