For years, accountants have played a major factor in small business success. Throughout this journey, many accountants have become reliable recommendation engines for their small business clients. This creates an opportunity for small business app developers to succeed as well.
For app developers, accountants are equally (if not more) important to the adoption and success of your app. As you look for strategies to incorporate and implement into growing your apps and reaching your goals, here are the top 10 things the most successful app developers do to win with accountants:
- They never view accountants as one accountant; they view them as hundreds of small businesses. Every accountant has dozens of small business clients, as well many accountant friends – each with their own dozens of small business clients. Once you realize this, it isn’t hard to see the ripple effect of one accountant’s opinion about an app.
- They win one accountant at a time. If you can’t convince one accountant to use your app, how will you ever convince 100,000 QuickBooks ProAdvisors to use your app? If you don’t have a ProAdvisor in your hometown that you are already working with, use the Find-a-ProAdvisor site to contact one. Buy them a cup of coffee and start building your first relationship with an accountant.
- They know the accountants that are in their niche. QuickBooks Online, and other SaaS apps, have changed the entire concept of an accounting practice. No longer are accountants limited by geography, or required to be generalists in many types of small businesses. They now can specialize in a niche and take on clients all over the world. For example, if you have an app for breweries, check out Chris Farmand, or the dozen other accountants that specialize in brewery clients.
- They use accountants to get feedback on their app. I argue that most accountants know their clients business better than you do, and possibly even know your app better than you do. Gathering their feedback and incorporating that feedback into your app is crucial to your success. Attending events such as QuickBooks Connect is a great way to get in front of hundreds of accountants. There are also small low cost ways to get feedback about your app idea, features, and more. One way would be check out some of the Intuit Developer Friday morning hangouts.
- They add tools and features that help the accountants work with multiple clients. The easier your app is for an accountant to use with multiple clients, the more likely they will implement your app for multiple clients. If you don’t have an accountant’s dashboard with access to all their clients using your app, you should add that to your backlog today.
- They offer free subscriptions to accountants. If an accountant can’t sign up and use your app for free, you may not even be under consideration as an app they implement with clients. This may be the #1 decision factor for accountants when analyzing and implementing apps for the clients of their firm.
- They participate in the QuickBooks community.
- They go to the shows/conferences that accountants attend.
- QuickBooks Connect, coming up Nov. 4-6 in San Jose, brings the Intuit ecosystem under one roof: hundreds of accountants, small business owners, entrepreneurs, and developers. It’s a unique opportunity to get your app in front of a highly qualified and target audience.
- Look for a smaller accounting show in your local geographic area. Flagg Management puts on a number of accounting shows around the country during the year.
- The Scaling New Heights conference in June is heavily focused on QuickBooks and the apps that work with it.
- They understand that selling to accountants is a 15-month sales cycle. The sales cycle to the accounting community is about 15 months. For example, if you engaged any accountants for the very first time during the early summer, they may put one of their clients on your app during the summer/fall as a test. Then, from December to April, they are heads down working, almost forgetting about the client they put on your app. (NOTE: Do not try to talk to them or sell them anything at this time.) Then, they go on vacation post 4/16, and before you know it, it is the start of the next year’s summer accounting show season.
Fast forward to one of the late April or early May accounting shows, they see you again and remember that they put a client on your app. They then go home and check in with the client. If you are lucky, the client has rave reviews about your app and its QuickBooks Online integration. Now, in that summer, they start making plans on rolling your app out to the rest of their clients. So, sometime in the fall of that year, they put many of their clients on your app. Now, you finally get to see the ripple effect of your sales efforts.
- They put 5% or more of their company resources into the accountants channel. The most successful apps have a dedicated employee, or a team of employees, 100% committed to managing and supporting their accountants channel.
Hopefully, you are doing many of the things on this list, and if you aren’t, you should begin today!
Looking forward to seeing you at QuickBooks Connect in November!