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Post Info TOPIC: Are you offering the cloud?


Senior Member

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Are you offering the cloud?


I know this has been discussed regularly but I just wondered what everyone was doing with regard to offering cloud based software to clients?

I feel that software companies are pushing us this way by the way in which it is marketed to the general public.

I've always been really happy using VT and Sage but I felt that I was going to lose business as so many potential new clients I meet seem to think that this is the way to go.  I like the idea of having access to information along with the client but that's about where it ends.

I have joined the Xero partner programme to be able to offer it and avoid losing potential custom but I'm really feeling quite despondent as I am going through the training.  It just feels so gimmicky.  I now know why I decided I couldn't work with a potential new client that I met who was already using Xero.  It should have been a very simple scenario of a sole trader business which was being changed to a partnership but she was so wrapped up in the software that she couldn't seem to see rationally.  It was a very basic business which had been made over complex by the use of all the bells and whistles on Xero. The old adage "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing".   I think I would rather work with someone with a carrier bag full of receipts.

If only Sage cloud could be more affordable, I think that would make much more sense to me.

Any thoughts?

 



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Master Book-keeper

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Hi Valerie

We're pretty much desktop peeps on here and there's been some lively discussions in the past.  Totally agree that cloud has been rammed down our throats but as I do the bookkeeping for all but one of my clients I do the lot on VT, apart from my last new client who was already using xero.  I've switched her to Pandle because 1/ her xero was a complete and utter mess, and 2/ she didn't need any of the bells and whistles.

For myself, unless I think the client needs the cloud, or unless they ask for it, I'm staying as I am.  VT will have MTD for VAT added so that was a nice turn up for the books and I like using it.



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John 

 

 

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Senior Member

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Thanks John

That's pretty much how I'm feeling now. I think I will continue with what I know (if it ain't broke, don't fix it!).

Some of my clients are asking for cloud software as they've seen adverts and friends with it etc so I guess the Xero partner will allow me to pass the cost on cheaper and avoid losing them but I can't see myself looking at using it greatly. I used to be in motor sales so I am capable of selling if I need to but I have to believe in something wholeheartedly. Many of my clients are pretty old school, farmers etc and I think they would laugh me off the premises.

Valerie




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Master Book-keeper

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Hi Valerie
A late response I know! Sorry!

Ive always said I hate the cloud offerings and that hasnt changed. But Ive always said dont be prescriptive with clients as thats a sure fire way of losing what could be good business.

Have to say I used sage cloudy stuff in the early days and thought it was pants, but also must admit to the fact that they did act on feedback where possible - I know cos I fed a whole pile of rubbish back to them and a whole load of it got sorted, so Im guessing things have improved somewhat.

Biggest issues I found with some of the cloudy stuff - you cannot do a backup when you want. (I think possibly this was being added to sage, as well as auto backup, but dont quote me). Doing such as you know helps if you need to see the impact on the software etc of an action especially good in a workaround non standard situation so a restore cna be done if its bobsed up (technical term).
- you cannot actually restore one of the auto backups! So a wee bit pointless!
- not so great for bulk entry. The 'F6' option on Sage desktop is just brill and when you get used to such, its a right royal pain to not have it (VT doesnt have it neither. AAgggghhh!)
- some year end processes and reports - a royal pain in the derriere

The thing that bugs me about zeero - all the expensive add ons to do a standard-ish job!

Other issues - the false advertising leading folk to think they can take a picture of their expenses (usually shows a coffee house receipt) and that then its upload and bingo they can do their tax returns
- people liking the shiny trendy look of such software - so it must be good then (bit like your client by the sounds of it). All you can do with those sort is point them in the direct of another Accountant or hold a gun to their held until they can think rationally!

If a client can manage with just a cashbook (not trendy looking or with flashing lights) you could suggest VT cashbook.

But best way to look at it - you can sort the almighty mess out of all the clients who start to use such software when they get bored of it all.

Out of morbid interest only - how much did it cost you to join the zeeeero partner prog/how much was it for training? (I suspect the latter is nil, given Ive seen someone having a right old moan about other providers training fees recently!)

I did also see someone Sage battering - blindly suggesting cloudy software over sage desktop without any consideration for the fact that the client was using sage pro with a complex coding and departmental structure, so the whole thing was totally inappropriate. Funny but then there was a comment about the size of the organisation - oh it large/lots of entries so sage must be ok, kind of attitude. Made me chuckle as I have a small sole trader who has fairly complex coding/departments because he has 3 trades. Horses for courses I guess.

Sometimes you can just do the job a damn site bloody quicker on desktop! Therefore pass cost savings on, or sit back with your feet up with a brew as someone suggested on here when they mentioned autoentry into zeeeeerrrrrooooooo.


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Joanne  

Fallows Hall Ltd 

Winner - Bookkeeper of the Year 2015, 2016 and 2017

Thoughts are my own/not to be regarded as official advice,which should be sought from a suitably qualified Accountant.

 



Senior Member

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Hi Joanne

Thanks, it's interesting to hear people's thoughts.

The Xero training was free which was my reasoning for thinking that there was no harm in doing it as I would at sometime find I was going to have to use it. The partner programme really only just provides the software for own use and then gives discount subscriptions to pass on to clients depending on how many points you gain by signing up clients.

Valerie

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Senior Member

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 Deleted as I don't feel welcome on this forum any more.



-- Edited by Princess on Saturday 16th of February 2019 07:43:23 PM



-- Edited by Princess on Saturday 16th of February 2019 07:45:36 PM



-- Edited by Princess on Sunday 17th of February 2019 11:12:11 AM

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Master Book-keeper

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Princess wrote:



I think unless you've tried it, you shouldn't knock it!


 

I know not to jump out of a plane without a parachute, even though I've not tried it, although I'm sure you wish I would!

That said, of all the folk on here who bang on about sticking with desktop software, I don't know of any single one of them who hasn't actually tried/tested such software that you are referring to.   Oh, maybe not Shaun given he is so busy and could probably process a pile of stuff on VT quicker than you have requested a bank feed cos he is a demon on it( sorry Shaun if you have!) The better known software, at the very least and indeed some of the lessor known ones as well.

At least, it seems, we agree on xero.   

Indeed I've always said, as I did in the thread above, about not being prescriptive, but some folk out there will only push one type of software to all their clients and thats where I think they are wrong on several levels. 

I've no doubt cloudy software is here to stay, in part due to the type of client Valerie talked about, in part due to the initial low set up costs for newbie bookkeepers and in part due to the fact such will suit some businesses, generally the less complex ones, some lemmings, those who believe its the only way you can be MTD compliant.

You suggest some folk only look at the negatives, I would suggest that is the best place to start and have always done exactly that eg when ripping apart business plans to see if they can get a corporate finance deal together, so you find the weak points and see what can be done to plug the gaps.  If indeed any gaps can be plugged.      Anyone trying to sell you anything, including a blithering businessplan,  will only ever focus on the positives, so buyer beware, get that bonnet up and see if you have an engine underneath, then check it actually doesn what it says on the tin!!!    I could suggest that it seems cloudy folk only look at the positives, whilst also considering costly add ons or suggesting that only cloudy can provide for speedy input of data.    Funny the one the other day who said 'oh, no.....I see what you mean...it wont do that!'

One prime example of something that not only relates to cloudy is the bank feed. I keep saying it....bank feeds are available for some of the desktop software or there are very speedy workarounds enabling bank processing in minutes.  As it happens, bank feeds were originally designed by NatWest for Sage pro pre 1994, whilst perhaps not available to all.  Even grouping of facilities/cash management processes with a group of eg 10 companies could have their bank balances dropped straight through and matched within seconds.

AutoE and RB and not only synonymous with cloudy software.

But as I said at the top (just one eg)there are a whole raft of clients where such cloudy software is absolutely no good whatsoever because the functionality, even with add ons, just isn't there.   Surely it's complexity of client base, requirements, processes, structure, needs etc.

Plus who cares if we all disagree, makes for a livelier forum.    

 



-- Edited by Cheshire on Sunday 17th of February 2019 12:24:20 AM

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Joanne  

Fallows Hall Ltd 

Winner - Bookkeeper of the Year 2015, 2016 and 2017

Thoughts are my own/not to be regarded as official advice,which should be sought from a suitably qualified Accountant.

 



Master Book-keeper

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You mention you add value in other ways- out of interest, what ways?      It's just I hear that phrase a hell of a lot, but no-one ever expands on that element. 

 

Helps other readers!



-- Edited by Cheshire on Sunday 17th of February 2019 12:26:20 AM

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Joanne  

Fallows Hall Ltd 

Winner - Bookkeeper of the Year 2015, 2016 and 2017

Thoughts are my own/not to be regarded as official advice,which should be sought from a suitably qualified Accountant.

 



Master Book-keeper

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Hi Princess. 

I don't think I've ever said I'm averse to the cloud, but I do consider that desktop is so much quicker.

I got my first cloud (Xero) client last year, and to be totally honest, she doesn't need to be on it, but it was pushed on her by the previous accountant.  For this particular client, the accountant was doing everything except the invoicing, so quite why she was having to pay £30 a month for that privilege bemuses me. I've switched her to Pandle, at a 6th of the cost, partly because I wanted to get to know the software, and partly because I do intend to offer cloud as part of my stall.  What I won't do is push the cloudy stuff, like some accountants have, forcing their clients on to it (usually, as Joanne points out, one particular brand) 

You say it's cut down on your time massively, and I'm sure you're right, but that also means you've cut down your charging time (which is great if it means an increase in clients to make up for it)  When I first looked into cloud 3 or 4 years ago AutoEntry wasn't on the market, but receipt bank was, and it wasn't cost effective in the slightest, as it bit into my charging rate considerably. (That said, I was only small scale, and couldn't replace the time)  I have looked at AE since, and whilst being considerably better and slightly cheaper overall, still wasn't a viable option.  I chose to employ an adhoc data entry person instead, which for me worked out cheaper.

Quickbooks Online I haven't tried, but I did dabble with their desktop solution 11 years ago and have to confess, I didn't like it.  I'd just spent two years on sage, and much preferred that.  A few years later, possibly around 2012, I discovered VT, and loved it. It is now my preferred software. Once my website is built in early March I will be offering cloud as an option (QB will be part of that option) but the client will decide, or if indifferent as most of mine are, I will.

I'm saddened by your comment that you don't post a lot as you consider the forum anti cloud.  Yes there's been a couple of threads in the past that have given that thread, not helped by the fact that a heavy proponent of the cloud was quite vehement against those of us who considered desktop software much better.   But that's all the more reason why you should have your say and discuss the cloud, as you have here.



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John 

 

 

 Any advice given is for general guidance and professional advice should be sought applicable to your circumstances.



Master Book-keeper

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Cheshire wrote:
Plus who cares if we all disagree, makes for a livelier forum.    

 Absolutely.  I love a good debate, although I agree entirely with your post so not much room for debate there biggrinbiggrin



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John 

 

 

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Master Book-keeper

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Leger wrote:

 

You say it's cut down on your time massively, and I'm sure you're right, but that also means you've cut down your charging time (which is great if it means an increase in clients to make up for it)  


Fixed fees, time saved =fill with new clients.

Am guessing P charges fixed, which may be why the other Q is now being asked.  The 'sign up' is not a new service warranting a new LOE, perhaps not mentioned in the existing LOE, hence the issue, but of course that can be adjusted as required anyway.   But for the 'couple of minutes' mentioned in the other post is it really worth it....or can it gain some kudos by being 'marketed' in the right way - everyone likes to think they are getting a bargain.  Only thing then is - do you charge for processing 64-8 (ok online!) equivalents and the time it takes to get the KYC done?   Perhaps there is more in the question that hasnt been fleshed out.   Maybe she can clarify.



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Joanne  

Fallows Hall Ltd 

Winner - Bookkeeper of the Year 2015, 2016 and 2017

Thoughts are my own/not to be regarded as official advice,which should be sought from a suitably qualified Accountant.

 



Master Book-keeper

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Or not.

No surprise there then.

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Joanne  

Fallows Hall Ltd 

Winner - Bookkeeper of the Year 2015, 2016 and 2017

Thoughts are my own/not to be regarded as official advice,which should be sought from a suitably qualified Accountant.

 



Senior Member

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that's just rude. cliquey and old fashioned. no wonder there's just an ever diminishing group of small minded people on here...

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Master Book-keeper

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Factual and based on past history.
Rude not to thank people when they answer your questions, such as on the other post from the same day. Might be a diminishing group of folk who answer, but you still get all of your questions answered, yet you don't even acknowledgment it.
Name calling - so childish.

__________________

Joanne  

Fallows Hall Ltd 

Winner - Bookkeeper of the Year 2015, 2016 and 2017

Thoughts are my own/not to be regarded as official advice,which should be sought from a suitably qualified Accountant.

 



Master Book-keeper

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Princess wrote:

that's just rude. cliquey and old fashioned. no wonder there's just an ever diminishing group of small minded people on here...


 Why is it rude, cliquey and old fashioned?  You posted some comments regarding the cloud, you were encouraged to make your voice known, and join in debate   Joanne posted some comments and asked you to clarify as a means of drawing you into the debate and you ignored her, which is fine, that's your prerogative.  But don't get uppity and throw your toys out of the pram just because she highlighted that she was ignored.

The only one I can see here being rude is yourself, calling the regular contributors small minded.



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John 

 

 

 Any advice given is for general guidance and professional advice should be sought applicable to your circumstances.



Guru

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Princess wrote:

that's just rude. cliquey and old fashioned. no wonder there's just an ever diminishing group of small minded people on here...


 I have been called small before but never small minded! biggrin biggrin



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Doug

These are only my opinions of how I see things and therefore should not be taken as advice

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