How much “technology advice” do you provide to clients?

Some clients are very IT savvy or have their own in-house IT support services, or perhaps buy in specialist support when needed. However, is this an area in which you can add value and therefore produce an additional revenue stream?

For the small business, it might be that the only involvement is recommending and helping to implement accounting software. However, this might only be the tip of an iceberg. There might be many other areas too where IT comes to the fore.

There may be staff that need to record time, or there may be a job costing requirement. This might be carried out on spreadsheets at the present time – but if you don’t ask you don’t know. What about purchase invoices – how are these processed? Would one of the many invoicing processing apps be of benefit? How many are still using spreadsheets for their expense claims?

Xero has the facility through its Xero HQ – Explorer tab, to identify third party apps that are linked to clients, so this is often a good “starting point” to review the client list, think about their business and consider which other apps might potentially be of use or interest to them.

As well as the selection, there is the implementation and training, and ongoing support.

It is not just the software. Too often we have seen issues where clients have religiously (to their mind) been backing up data from their desktop-based accounts and payroll software – to another area on their single hard disk! Needless to say, this occasionally “crashes” and all data is lost – a recipe for total disaster. It is possible to help them in this area too.

There will be the usual rebuttals – “don’t need it, what we do already works fine, it’s too expensive, it does not take very long etc” but there will also be some that will actively welcome and embrace the new methods you can introduce to them. There will also be a few (notably software developers(!)) that don’t want to know as they can “write something far better” but never actually get around to doing it!

How often are you asked for advice by your clients with regard to the technology they are using in their business?

 Is this a regular occurrence, and how do you handle it?

Are you proactive rather than reactive and have a systemised process for enquiring as to what they use and what they do from both a hardware and software viewpoint?