Cloud accounting software provider e-conomic recently announced the launch of an accountants club. I picked-up this up via Twitter and immediately sent them my response:
Elsewhere, Dennis Howlett also had things to say, stating that he simply could not understand the value proposition to accountants.
Why did I tweet that charging accountants for their help selling your product is plain wrong?
Accountants are being used as a free proxy for a traditional reseller channel by the accounting software vendors. They provide access to their client base and make volume on-boarding of new customers a possibility; saving the vendors a fortune in marketing effort.
It is clearly perverse to ask the accountants to pay for the privilege of bringing new customers to the software vendors.
Please note that I have no problem with e-conomic in particular - since many other vendors have similar “clubs” (in fact e-conomic are a little late to the party) – but let’s look closer at what taking up their offer actually means to a busy accountant in practice:
- I need to change my own practice’s accounting system from the software we have used for years to a completely new one, one that none of my staff (or me) are currently familiar with. This is not a trivial exercise.
- Every year I have to set-aside non-chargeable time for me and my staff to receive “free” training for a day. [Note to training providers – the notion of free training is a fallacy, there is always an opportunity cost on the recipient end of the training.]
- My staff and myself need to spend time showing clients the software and trying to sell it to them.
- Oh, then I send £500 every year for the joy of doing this.
My own firm undertook all of the above steps (apart from 4) gladly, because we were evangelists for cloud accounting, even though we use a different product, but the majority of firms are not evangelists; or are too busy and would love the time to be so.
I totally understand what e-conomic are aiming to do, in good faith, I just wish they (and the other vendors) would see things from the accountancy firm’s point of view too. They should be sending the firms a cheque for £500 every year.