- BlueRock’s entrepreneurial energy attracts growth-minded clients
- Automating data collection and processing speeds up reporting and accounting
- Integrating business applications so they share related data improves strategic insights
- A test-and-learn strategy is a fast way to unlock a new technology’s potential
"It's a cool place to hang out" isn't the phrase you'd typically ascribe to an accounting office. But BlueRock accounting, with a slant toward entrepreneurial advisory work, designed its offices to be a place where clients actually enjoy spending some time.
"Our clients love coming here," says Aaron March, BlueRock's Director of Accounting. "The staff love coming here. It's probably something that most other accounting firms don't have.
"That's not to say BlueRock is focused only on the face-to-face experience of accounting practice. It's heavily structured around automation and digital processes that get clients the information they need fast.
"These days, with the apps and integrations we have, we can get a fully automated accounting system to produce monthly accounts by day four of the month," says March. "That gives you time to make decisions while you're still in the game. Still have the opportunity to make improvements and implement strategies for the next month."
Driving growth with better data insights
March acknowledges there is still a lot of resistance out there among small to medium businesses to adopting innovative technologies and approaches, particularly if they feel things work just fine the old way. He suggests accountants and other business advisors can help clients move out of their comfort zones by highlighting the opportunities to leverage insights from better data for growth:
"You just need to go through the process of pointing out the advantages, and the cost efficiencies, and improvements in profit that can be made by continuously embracing technology," says March.
"We've been working with a group of cafés. When they came to us they didn't really have any clarity around key metrics. Cost of goods sold is a percentage of sales, and wages is a percentage of sales. They also weren't 100 per cent sure of the profitability of the locations they were running."
"Over time, we've been able to just show them, in a really plain way, what's actually going on with their business. Once you see the data as it comes through, it really highlights the areas that as the management team you should be focusing on."
"Once you see the data as it comes through, it really highlights the areas that as the management team you should be focusing on."
Adopt a test-and-learn strategy for new technologies
For both clients and for accounting firms themselves, March feels that truly tackling innovation is about more than just considering the options. You have to take the leap now and then, and learn from whatever happens next.
"You'll hear a lot of firms say, 'Oh, we've got an innovation mindset,' but then never actually implement anything that's innovative," says March. "You have to give yourself the opportunity to implement. You've got to be prepared to test it, and you've got to be prepared for it not to work."
"You also need to give staff the freedom and the time and the opportunity to have a go at it. You need to be prepared for it not to work, and give your whole firm the opportunity to find the methods that do work, to deliver real innovation."
The CA Catalyst Immersion Programme
The CA Catalyst Immersion Programme gives Chartered Accountants a taste of life as an entrepreneur and discover innovative approaches to using technology in practice. CA ANZ members can apply for a scholarship to participate in the programme.Learn more and register your interest