Institute of Certified Bookkeepers
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December 2016 Question of the Month - How to Encourage a Client to Move Forward

  • 127 posts
  • # 114327

My client has to upgrade software, as they are currently on a low grade product that does not meet NFP reporting requirements, specifically, it will not produce a cashflow report and I cannot get a consolidated profit and loss statement for all bank accounts in use.  I have provided them with various options, but they don’t want to pay monthly subscription fees, and they don’t understand the importance of ASIC reporting obligations.  (In the past, the volunteer committee has actually not provided correct reports to Consumer Affairs). Do you have any suggestions for how I can convince them to move to a real accounting product when none of the committee is interested in the financial reports of the entity?

Edited at 19 Jan 2017 06:35 AM GMT

  • Member in Practice
  • Practice Certificate
  • 2 posts
  • # 114355


You don't say how many work in the NFP organisation because if there are several people on the payroll there are many good reasons to move to an updated Accounting system as they now provide a lot of additional benefits such as lodging Superannuatuion Reports (no need to log into Superstream), provide current tax codes and as you also mention better reporting to meet the ASIC and ATO requirements.  If you are spending more time preparing reports to meet the requiremens then there is already a cost saving by having the software do it for you.  A saving of 1 hour of your time a month would be equivalent of a subscription fee.  I am aware that some software products i.e. Xero provide a discount for NFP so worth checking this out and some Advisors will also pass on their partner discount to the user.  I think the real issue here is to find out why they don't want to pay or a service that would provide them with better financial management.

Good luck, Jules

  • 127 posts
  • # 114488

You need to clearly state in writing what it is that ASIC or Consumer Affairs requires that their current software will not do. Then provide several options for different products that will meet the reporting requirements.

Perhaps you could create a table that clearly shows the pros and cons of each software product as it relates to the client’s specific needs, and also an estimate of your time per week / month to do the bookkeeping in each product? Then provide a total for each product. It sounds like the client is only looking at the monthly cost, but not necessarily taking into account the fact that your bills maybe significantly higher if you have to spend the time doing bookkeeping and reporting in an inefficient product.

You can always create a cashflow report in Excel from data extracted from your software, although this may be time consuming. You should also provide them with an estimate of your increased time if they do not upgrade software.

You should also push the compliance angle, that is, being a NFP entity they really should have current and compliant accounting software in order to easily provide the reports to the relevant Government bodies. Accounts reports should be a natural and easy by-product of whatever product they use for running their business.

If they are resisting moving to a “real accounting product” then you may have to consider whether you want to continue with this client if they are set on continuing inefficient and non-compliant ways of running their business – on the other hand, if they are willing to pay you for as much time as it takes and you can get the data you need, maybe it is worth putting up with.

It sounds like it could also be worth putting a proposal to the committee that you do a presentation of the financial accounts and how to read the reports, highlighting what information may be relevant to the management team.  This may assist in showing them that you are a professional and you know what you are talking about and that the information you need is actually of value to them as well. Chances are you are dealing with only one person from the committee, who may not be communicating everything to the whole committee. So doing a presentation to the whole committee could be very beneficial for all parties.

You may also like to check ICB’s Software Feature Comparison spreadsheet for more detail.

Related References

Edited at 19 Jan 2017 06:35 AM GMT

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