Why Accountants Are Critical for Small Business SuccessMorgan Gertler
Nowadays, technology plays a huge role in being able to run a business. And with so many people managing their businesses from home, these new technology solutions are needed more than ever.
Stone DeSouza is the leader of the small business segment for Sage in the US. He was leading the accounting channel for two years and then helped drive this segment to service small businesses.
Stone understands what small businesses need and how to help them utilize all these coveted technologies for their businesses.
“It’s a real privilege for me to do that because we know that small businesses are the backbone of the economy of this country. And when you have to think about the way they manage their operations, the way they want to stay afloat, and in this new environment, how solutions that we build can really help them address their business needs, it’s an exciting journey.”
Sage and Small Business Support
If you take a deeper dive into the way Sage is approaching the markets for small businesses in the US, you’ll see they have three channels of technology solutions. The first channel is the accounting channel, which is how they are servicing accountants and helping accountants support small business owners. They have a direct channel, which addresses directly small business owners with a customer success team, helping them be successful. And then there is the retail side, which is the channel used to sell their product to retail customers.
“How can we help small businesses leverage the network of accountants that we have so we can match them? They can all use our solution in a very efficient way to increase the value of the service and experience that they are building.”
Take a look at accountants and what they do:
- Help small businesses in managing their books
- They help businesses with filing taxes
- Support them with financial insights
Sage offers a suite of desktop products, cloud-connected products, and cloud-native products to support this journey of technology solutions. There are also data entry solutions to help accountants and small businesses be more efficient in the way they are managing their practices and businesses.
But Sage also focuses on how to offer a great digital experience to small businesses. With COVID-19 being a major issue for all businesses, many small business owners and employees are working from home. So how can Sage help them digitally?
They offer solutions that can help them access accounting solutions from a distance and remotely, so business owners can work remotely without worry. And they also have a platform that helps accountants and small businesses work from anywhere in a seamless fashion.
This makes it possible to collaborate in the system live at the same time, and then have conversations in a chat platform, for example. The overall goal of the digital environment that Sage is building is to make sure it’s not only about the product, but also the experience.
Growing Together with Technology Solutions
Sage is one of the rare companies that can serve a very small business, such as a startup. They make it possible to start with a product that is called Safe Business Cloud Accounting, which is easy to use and can help start your business. Businesses can go from there and grow into a product called Intact, which is more of a medium-size company solution.
And then you can get even larger with a cloud-connected solution like Sage 300 Series, 100 Series, X3, and more. From a scale-up standpoint, you can go through the entire cycle using Sage products. And the main reason this works well for businesses is because you have an accountant who starts with you and can advise you along the way. That person will know the history and needs of your business so they understand your growth first-hand.
There are many different types of accountants and Sage wants to support each one in the way they’re servicing their customers. Some accountants just want to take over completely and tell their customers, “Don’t worry about anything. I’ll take care of everything, and I’ll do it on your behalf.” And then there are accountants who want to focus only on where they add value and help in a strategic, advisory way.
The beauty of these solutions is that they adapt to all of these different profiles. And on top of that, you have accountants now who are saying:
“I want to scale back. I’ve been doing taxes and I’ve been doing accounting and then bookkeeping. Now, today, what I want to focus on is only, CPA work and I don’t want to do bookkeeping anymore.”
- Start with your customer and their needs.
- These solutions can be designed to fit your business needs.
- There is a program called Cloud Advisory Service Program that helps the Sage team train businesses and bring them into a more business world.
The Steps to Success, Advice from Stone
Fifty percent of small businesses fail in their first year. Ninety-five percent of small startups fail within the first five years. This is a pretty significant number. But why does this happen?
A large percentage of small businesses don’t think about accounting software from the get-go, because that’s not what they have in mind. Entrepreneurs don’t start a business by saying they need to buy accounting software. But in order to maximize your success and make sure that your business continues to grow, you need technology solutions such as accounting software. Stone feels this is essential.
As you’re building your business you have to think about someone who has a fresh set of eyes, who is outside of your operation, and who can then help you understand where the gaps are. Stone has seen that cashflow is the number one problem. But accounting software is going to help you understand where the money is going and how you’re managing my cashflow. You have a better way of tracking the performance of your business.
Moving from data to decisions is sometimes where small business owners get ‘analysis paralysis’. This is because they have a lot of numbers in front of them. But the question is, which ones should you trust and which ones should you leverage to make a decision?
That’s the reason why partnering with an accountant is going to help decipher the numbers and make sure that you’re focusing on the right data and insights.
Stone also suggests that even if you’re going through tough times right now, make sure you’re stepping back and making the difficult decisions when needed.
Is it about the size of the organization?
Is it about investing in something necessary to then postpone something else because you haven’t seen enough cashflow?
Stone says to be decisive, use data to make decisions, and make sure that it’s insightful enough to help you grow.
So make the right investment, leverage the data, and use the solutions.
…sometimes short-term success might be a long-term failure. And that’s why you need that balance between your work and the accountant’s work. – Stone
Sage is the market leader for integrated accounting, payroll, and payment systems, supporting the ambition of the world’s entrepreneurs. They help drive today’s business builders with a new generation of solutions to manage everything from money to people. The social and mobile technology provides live information so you can make fast, informed decisions anytime, anywhere in the world. They support business builders for life by offering choice, support, expertise, and innovation. Sage is a champion of your causes and provides world-leading advice and support when you need it most.
PS - Want more attention, and more impact, and more sales for your business? We created a complete Personal Branding Framework for business owners just like you... get it here.