Software skills for the modern practitioner
When hiring, after technical competencies,
experience and personal ‘fit’ one of the
most important issues a public accounting firm will
look for in potential new recruits is their software
The PC is a critical business tool for
all practitioners in the twenty-first century –
even the sole practitioner working form home –
and reliance on I.T. will only become heavier in the
So what are they key tools that you
will need to be au-fait with?
Well, the key ones would be considered,
by most, to be:
· Caseware, and
· Tax preparation software
Pretty obvious, huh?
For most, yes, but there are other programs
that, as time goes by, will become highly sought-after
Of course, there are a number of bookkeeping
programs out there, and for the smaller firms, mostly
looking after owner-managed businesses, the main ‘players’
· Simply Accounting & Accpac
But there is a new business tool for
the forward-thinking/valued-added minded practitioner
that I feel is going to be a new ‘must-have’
in time to come as it becomes an industry standard,
and that’s Accpac’s CFO and KPI programs.
CFO and KPI will give the modern practitioner
a huge advantage over their competitors, and I have
been lucky enough to meet with the developer of these
tools when recently on a speaking engagement in the
I saw the programs in action during
a two-hour presentation that was so ‘in sync’
with my own thinking that I got talking with the guy
from Accpac after the seminar and I am presently conducting
an in-depth ‘test drive’ of the product
to be included in a future issue of my newsletter for
practising accountants, ‘LEDGER’.
So what’s so great about these
tools and what do they do?
Well, simply put, it’s a tool
that systemizes and standardizes value-added business
planning services and helps the practitioner turn their
client ‘from compliance to relaince’ for
want of a better phrase. It also produces a wonderful
return on the professional’s time (how does $400
or more an hour sound?).
They are tools that allow you to import
last year’s financial results and then sit down
with your client and say… ‘now, what would
your business look like if we could speed up the time
taken to turn receivables into cash?’ Click a
button and BOOM – there are the results.
Or how about ‘What plans for growth
do you have in the coming year?’ BOOM –
this is the effect on cash flow. But it gets better,
using KPI you can break down the client’s cash
flow and produce a ‘working capital requirement
per dollar of revenue generated’ and explain in
detail where the clients cash resources go.
This helps the client to understand,
if they’ve made $140,000 net profit and drawn
$90,000 over the year, why they don’t have an
extra $50,000 in the bank at the end of the period.
For some it’s quite alarming.
I have already seen cases where a client requires $1.40
of additional working capital for every $1.00 additional
By breaking the issue down to its most
basic concept, in many cases the ‘typical’
client (if such a thing exists) suddenly ‘gets
it’ and has a far better understanding of what
makes the finances of their business tick.
This type of value-added consulting
project, for our better clients, is easy to ‘value
price’ rather than price by the hour, and the
return on your time is way higher than the traditional
method of hourly billing.
It’s also easier to sell. From
the clients’ perspective they can see benefits
of ‘X’, investment of ‘Y’, and
they can make an informed buying decision, usually in
your favour, pretty quickly if you can explain the concept
and benefits well to them.
This type of project is, in my opinion,
the way forward for the modern practitioner, and people
who learn how to use this program and present the results
to the client, will be in high demand before too long.
© 2004-2011, Steve McIntyre-Smith.