We recently got together with Rita Strauss, Director of Channel at SMB Suite, to pick her brain about trends in the cloud services industry. SMB Suite provides cloud ERP solutions that help small businesses grow.
What tips do you have for other businesses in your industry?
Embrace the cloud and subscription pricing because the industry isn’t going back!
What skill set will successful vendors need to keep growing in the sales tax automation and compliance business?
Adaptability. Compliance requirements, tax rates and even your own business needs are always changing. Figure out what you can do well and let an expert take care of what you can’t.
In your view, what are the 3 key drivers you need to win new customers?
The key drivers are:
- understanding the customer’s problem,
- giving them a clear message about how you can fix it, and
- instilling in them a belief that you can deliver.
How are you adapting your sales pitch in light of the move to sales tax automation and cloud services?
We’ve been pioneers in the cloud ERP space and have been evangelizing the benefits of an all-in-one solution and subscription pricing for years! We continue to refine that message and how we deliver it to prospects regularly.
What are the most common or challenging compliance issues your customers deal with?
We’re dealing with the financial records that are both the lifeblood of a small business as well as the source of greatest regulatory and industry scrutiny. The most challenging compliance issue most customers encounter is how to translate a change in compliance into a new organizational best practice.
How do cloud services impact you and your customers?
Cloud services make it easier for us to offer simplified pricing and reduce the upfront costs traditionally associated with ERP deployments. This makes it easier for customers to manage their cashflow and ultimately helps us close new business.
What new business models do you see emerging in the accounting, finance & compliance industry?
There is a continuing trend to identify the industry specialists and leverage their knowledge rather than assigning internal resources. The importance of providers who can integrate multiple solutions and manage the total data flow will only grow in importance.
What is the impact of major sales tax changes like Amazon tax on your customers?
It raises questions of how to adequately comply and if the collection of sales tax will impact future sales that were driven by tax benefits previously.
Where do you see the accounting and finance industry in 5 years?
We see accounting and finance playing an increasingly important role in informing business intelligence and inter-departmental decision making as data-sharing becomes simpler and more effective.
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