End of year update from our COO 2017

End of Year update

It’s an exciting time to be an accountant – despite some ‘industry experts’ continuing to proclaim that compliance is dead (or “if you’re not 100% cloud, you’re dead!”) we at Business Fitness don’t believe it’s ‘one way or the highway’.
We are now seeing a common trend of accountants transitioning into business advisers. Firms are embracing new ways of collaboration with internal and external teams, clients and the wider community.
No longer bound to a single set of tools from a single monopolistic provider, technology has been a powerful enabler for accountants in recent years, meaning many firms have become completely dependent on and at the mercy of their software providers.
At Business Fitness, our approach to providing tools to our clients has always been resolute: to put the power and choice back in your hands. Our central focus will always be to develop software and digital tools that will enhance your firm and not stifle it.
Looking into 2018, we see this approach as critical to bringing you the best tools in the business.

But before we sign off for the year, here’s a wrap up of what else we’ve been up to…

Our Products

2017 New Releases:

  • HowNow 5 includes improved search and UI features.
  • HowNow Online features new Word and Excel add-in to improve document editing and profiling, along with new features like Status, Smart Links and Email As.

A focus on integrations and connections working with other providers to deliver best of breed solutions:

  • Workpapers include new connections to Xero, QBO, MYOB and Excel.
  • HowNow Online and Desktop have new connections to iFirm.
  • Reportance added MAS and APS importers.
  • The Client Portal is now integrated with Adobe Sign, an industry-leading signing provider.

Be sure to check out the new training and tutorial videos released by our content team, these will ensure your firm makes the most of your workpapers in 2018. 

Our Clients

60% of our clients have been with us for more than 5 years and over 10,000 individual accountants now use our Workpapers and Templates. As a software company in a rapidly changing industry, we are proud of our investment in these long-term relationships.

Our roadmap for 2018 includes:

  • Developing our client care program to help firms work closely and more efficiently with our team of experts.
  • Implementing HowNow Health Check, a quick and easy way to ensure firms are using products to their full potential and getting maximum return on their investment.
  • Continually update FAQs and articles to our new support and help desk platform to allow for a faster self-serve option on common questions and to increase turnaround time for support tickets.

Good Bad Ugly

The 16th edition of our Good Bad Ugly industry benchmarking survey indicates that our profession in Australia is thriving and achieving record revenues and profits. While many areas show vast improvements, there are still many challenges firms are currently facing.

Improvements and trends include:

  • Increase in implementation of technology including automation.
  • Improvement in leverage, advisory services, cash flow, average client fees and operating expenses.
  • Growing focus on two key areas: processes, and relationships.
  • Australia’s most efficient accounting firms include standardisation of tools and procedures, and implementing suitable systems.
  • Enhanced collaboration and communication between both clients and distributed team members.

Areas requiring improvement and current challenges:

  • Efficiency in the profession has not advanced.
  • Declining preoccupation with traditional concerns like growth, productivity and profitability.
  • Challenges posed by process is to reduce costs by automating internal processes and harnessing rapidly changing technology.
  • Finding the right clients, and strengthening these important relationships.

What we are certain of that whatever the next wave of technology and business models offer, there will always be a place for regular, personal contact and offering knowledgeable advice wherever possible, all driven by a genuine interest in a client’s financial success and wellbeing. The Good Bad Ugly 2017 report is available now for your holiday reading.

Jenelle Schultz

COO, Business Fitness