Inventory Software: Help Your Accounting Clients Choose the Right Option
If you’re an accounting firm that’s getting ready to help your clients with their inventory software, we’ve got good news for you:
There are hundreds of thousands of accountants in the UK – but only a small proportion of them have the ambition to offer their clients a service like this. Unfortunately, there isn’t an established library of knowledge and best practices to work with when it comes to the cutting edge of an industry.
To help you get started, we’ve put together this guide to give progressive accountants the structure they need to help their clients choose the right inventory software.
Start with your client (not the software)
If your clients are coming to you for advice on apps and add-ons, it’s tempting to recommend the same bit of kit to everyone. Your own firm probably has its favourites – and it can seem more efficient to get all your clients using the same inventory software as you.
But when you’re looking at inventory apps, there just isn’t a single, universal package that works perfectly for every business. If you want to make sure you’re making the right recommendations for your accounting clients, you need to forget your own software preferences – and look at what your individual clients really need.
Ask the right questions with our free scoping form
The first step towards helping your clients is getting a better understanding of their situation. You need to know what they’re currently using, why it’s not working – and the specific functions and results they’re looking for in a new inventory app or add-on.
It’s a useful structured guide to help give you (and your clients) a detailed understanding of exactly where they are and what they need. Pay close attention to these answers, all the questions included in our Inventory Fact Find form are important.
Here are three of the most common early signs that you might be looking at a complicated move to a new inventory app:
1. We assemble our products.
If any business tells you that they assemble their products, you can instantly assume that they’re going to have some level of complexity in what they need from an inventory app.
At the very least, you’ll know that you and your client will be looking for an app that can handle:
- Bills of Materials (BOM)
- Assemblies – and potentially sub-assemblies
- And specific data fields for each individual component
2. We need to track people and machines in our manufacturing.
When a business says they need to track people and machines, that means we’re moving into a whole new level of advanced requirements.
They’ll need things like scheduling, capacity planning, and cost allocation. And there’s a good chance that none of the pure inventory systems will give them what they need.
3. We’ve had our current bespoke system for years.
The longer a client has been using their old system, the more complicated you can expect their new project to be.
Some of the hardest jobs we’ve had involved moving people away from their long-term bespoke systems. After such a long time with a particular automated system, some teams see the old way as the only way it can be done!
These are just a few of the most common warning signs to watch out for. If you’re looking for more useful questions and answers like these, you can watch the full discussion in the recording of our in-depth webinar, “How to Scope Inventory Client Needs”.
With everything you’ve gathered through your ‘Inventory Fact Find’ form, you should be ready to start documenting exactly what your client needs.
Once you have this documentation ready, you can send it to an inventory software expert. That might be the sales team of a particular app – or it could be an independent implementation partner like us here at BlueHub.
Get ready to recommend!
Once you’ve had feedback from an inventory app specialist, you should be ready to sit down with your accounting client and talk them through their options. But for the best results, you should follow up this review meeting with a recorded personalised demo of the app that’s the best fit for their business.
You can arrange this through the sales team of the particular app you’ve chosen. But if you want the most honest and unbiased demonstration, you might want to talk to an independent implementation partner like us.
This demo isn’t just a chance to reinforce the recommendation you’re making. It’s also a lasting piece of evidence that your clients can refer back to and show to their team days or weeks later.
Once they’ve made a decision about their new inventory app, they’ll be ready to start with the proof of concept stage: testing their data and processes, and getting the evidence they need to move forward with their project.
And if you want to be ready to support your clients as they move forward, it pays to find out as much as you can at an early stage.
You can see everything we’ve covered here today and more – and in much greater detail – by watching our in-depth webinar recording, “How to Scope Inventory Client Needs“.
And if you need any more help or advice about moving your clients to an inventory app, we’re only a call away – so drop us a message and we’ll be happy to help.