A couple of weeks ago I was running a seminar for practice owners in London.
The seminar was themed around how-to future-proof your accountancy practice against industry changes and challenges.
And during the morning, one of the attendees raised a point about transitioning her clients onto the cloud.
She said “3 months ago I emailed all of my clients with their Xero logins asking them to set up their bank feeds and so far less than 10% have done it. It’s slowing our progress down what can we do to speed them up?”
So, I asked her – “Ok, well who is the project manager responsible for transitioning your clients onto the cloud and getting their bank feeds set up?”
“Erm, no one. Me I guess”, she replied.
And so I asked another question – “Ok, and do you have a project plan with clear targets and KPI’s for this?”
“No” she replied.
You see it’s easy to blame clients for not doing what you want them to.
But more often that not, the blame actually lies with you and how you are approaching the project (or maybe you’re not even treating it like a project at all).
So how do you go about successfully managing a project such as transitioning all of your clients onto the cloud?
1. You need a project manager that’s not you
Every successful project requires a project manager.
One neck on the line.
Ok that’s a little strong but the point is that you need somebody to accept responsibility for this that you can hold accountable to making things happen.
Have a think about who in your team this could be.
And only once you’ve chosen this person, can you move on to step 2…
2. Create a project plan with targets & KPIs
Once you’ve chosen your project manager, its their job, not yours, to create a project plan.
This project plan needs to contain all of the targets & KPI’s that you need to track to complete the project.
In the example of client transition, the plan might consist of:
- Total number of clients still to be moved onto the cloud
- Deadline for when you want to complete it
- Number of clients that need to transition per week
And then each week, your project manager would update this plan to see whether you’re on target or not.
3. Hold your project manager accountable to actioning the plan
The third and final step once you have your project manager and project plan in place, is to hold them accountable to actioning it.
As a business owner, and the leader of your practice, it is your job to hold your team accountable to things.
And sometimes, this means applying the right amount of pressure for them to do this.
I would suggest having a meeting with your project manager on a weekly basis to run though the latest numbers.
By holding them accountable on a consistent basis, it’s hard for them to make excuses as to why things haven’t happened.
Where else does this apply in your practice?
Managing your clients transition into the cloud is just one example of where project management is needed to ensure success.
There are plenty of other examples where it will work as well:
- Transitioning all clients onto a monthly direct debit
- Educating clients around new apps and technology that you want them to use
- Re-engaging all of your clients using pricing software such as GoProposal
- Setting all of your clients up on workflow software e.g. AccountancyManager with the correct services and deadlines
Have a think about where else this can apply in your practice and treat it like a project.
Because when you do that you’ll dramatically increase the chances of getting it done successfully, or even at all…