What are App Advisory Services for accountants?

What are App Advisory Services?

If you’re offering App Advisory Services you are looking at a business’ problems, understanding the processes that are causing the problems, and then using your knowledge or research to ascertain whether apps, or integrated app stack solutions, can be used to solve those problems within the budget constraints of the business. You may then offer setup, training, and support services related to the app(s), or app stacks.

A useful way to categorise the type of App Advisory Services you offer is whether they relate to your clients’ administrative or operational problems and processes.

Administrative Processes App Advisory

You’ll almost certainly start your App Advisory journey by offering administrative related App Advisory services. This is because:

  1. These are the apps related to the financial processes you already have a good understanding of, and
  2. You’re probably already going to be, or have the skills to be, providing data processing or business advisory services that these apps help with (we covered these in our blog – What is an App Stack?).

You will either:

  1. Use apps to support you in offering services yourself, with the client not being aware of or using the app themselves, except where providing data input (i.e. data capture apps). Or:
  2. If you’re not carrying out the related services for them, you may still advise them on the apps they should use to get to the outcomes they want on their own. Alongside this you might provide setup, training, and support to them.

In either case you need good processes in place that are regularly reviewed and updated, alongside staff that are trained on how to use and improve them.

Operational Processes App Advisory

There are a number of ‘entry points’ that make it more likely clients to ask you to support them with operational processes.

  1. You may be the only professional advisor that they engage with regularly, and they trust your advice.
  2. There is often crossover between what might be considered admin processes (i.e. invoicing) that you are already supporting clients with (i.e. bookkeeping/management reporting), and what is considered operational (i.e. job management). You’ve already supported them with streamlining aspects of their admin, so they now want you to help with their operations.

This type of App Advisory less related to your existing services, so in that sense it will be more of an unknown. Offering these services is unlikely to lead to much in the way of internal efficiency for you. If you don’t have a process for delivering these service then there’s a good chance it’ll cost you more than you gain.

If you want to offer operational process app advisory then start with industries that are more relevant to your client base. Check out our Knowledge Base article on assessing your client base for App Advisory service potential.

5 Core App Advisory Service Areas

Delivering profitable App Advisory Services starts with understanding the services that you could be offering to your clients. We think there are 5 key areas of service provision:

  • Fact finding or Digital Discovery – Your lead assessment tool
  • Process mapping – Understanding your clients processes and requirements
  • Research & evaluation – Discovering and documenting apps that may fit the requirements, analysing, and recommending apps to use
  • Implementation – Planning, testing, training, and using the apps
  • Support – Helping clients with using apps

Read more about them.

What is the App Advisory Opportunity?

Head to our Knowledge Base article for a short video.

 

What is an App Stack for accountants?

What is an App Stack?

The term App Stack generally has one of two meanings for accountants:

  1. A suite of apps that you choose to use to provide services across your client base.
  2. An industry specific suite of apps that are often integrated to provide a system that supports a client’s business in carrying out one or more processes effectively and efficiently.

You could say that the first is simply the second for the accountancy industry. You provide services, you have processes for providing them, and apps help you to provide them better and more profitably.

These are some typical services that apps can support you in offering, split between data processing and business advisory services.

Data processing services:

  • Bookkeeping
  • Payroll
  • Other data processing (i.e. timesheets and non financial data)

Business advisory services:

  • Management reports
  • Job costing
  • Cash flow forecasts
  • KPI reports
  • Funding
  • Outsourced credit control
  • Outsourced finance function

The reason for the split is that the quality of all of these business advisory services rests on good quality (accurate/timely) information from data processing services.

In general the more time sensitive the provision of advice is, the greater the need for cloud accounting and automation of the data processing.

App Advisory Services

If you’re offering App Advisory Services you are looking at a business’ problems, understanding the processes that are causing the problems, and then using your knowledge or research, to ascertain whether apps, or integrated app stack solutions, can be used to solve those problems within the budget constraints of the business. You may then offer setup, training, and support services related to the app(s), or app stacks.

Read more about App Advisory Services.

Turning App Confusion Into App Confidence

The AppsMap™ Feature and App Advisory Plus’ App Advisory Education: Turning App Confusion Into App Confidence

A guest blog by James Ashford, GoProposal.

The opportunity in the app space is so exciting. Apps are unlocking greater insights, efficiencies and profits for accounting businesses and their clients. 

But the challenge we’re now seeing is that accountancy firms are struggling to position themselves as THE app authority in the relationship with their clients, and in some cases, struggle to articulate the value of that app and what they charge for it.

This means that for many firms, apps become cost-centres rather than the profit-centres they should be.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

So what makes an accountant an app authority?

Though important, understanding the accounting data flows is not enough.

Put simply apps are tools to help a business carry out their processes. So to be an App Authority accountants must have a deep understanding of both the features of the app, alongside knowledge of how these can be applied to a client or prospect’s processes. 

An accountant may be the only professional advisor a business engages with on an ongoing basis and they trust your advice. So if you’ve recommended an app without really understanding their processes, problems and software requirements, the likelihood is that it will be poorly implemented, and this can erode the value the client sees in the relationship.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

App Advisory Plus’ App Advisory educational content, combined with GoProposal’s new feature, the AppsMap™, helps you to put a stop to this by helping you to understand clearly:

  • When to recommend apps
  • What apps to recommend
  • What App Advisory services you can offer
  • How you should charge for them 
  • How to create and present App Advisory service schedules
  • How to create a clear map of apps for your clients to see

Whilst using the AppsMap™ feature, accountants can DIRECTLY import all apps into the map from the App Advisory Plus App Directory. 

GoProposal’s AppsMap™ feature enables accounting businesses to show an overview of the direction of data flows between the apps they’re providing or recommending.

You can choose an icon, insert a description and service schedule and determine the price you want to charge for that app, with as much sophistication or complexity as it needs.

The whole purpose of this is to give you, the accountant, the confidence to be the app authority in the client relationship.