How to improve lead conversion in your accounting firm: Interview with Amplify Advisors

Building efficient processes in your accounting firm with technology can help to improve lead conversion. We go through how speaking to clients about accounting technology in their own language can build rapport and better relationships.

As part of an interview series we’re running with a range of accounting technologists listed on the Amaka Advisor Directory, we spoke to Jamie Smith, Co-Founder and Chief Experience Officer at Amplify Advisors. She worked in the accounting profession for about two decades before founding Amplify Advisors.

This is number four of five snippets we’ll be releasing over the next week with Jamie, exploring the way her team at Amplify have adopted technology across their practice to maximize efficiencies and convert leads.

Below, you’ll find the recording of the interview snippet, a summary of key points and the full transcript.

Key points on improving lead conversion

  • Disruption with accounting technology is all about the growth and strategy for our clients
  • Talking about software with language specific to growing faster, increasing profits and freeing up time for projects specific to the client helps get the conversation going
  • The importance of implementing technology definitely comes up in conversations with Amplify Advisors’ sales team and when doing Net Promoter Score surveys with existing clients
  • The technology that you set up for a client will last them a lifetime, the value is indispensable
  • The client experience is improved dramatically because you’re able to give clients real-time data and analyses at the drop of a hat

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Full interview transcript with Amplify Advisors

Gian Ottavio (Amaka)

Hi, everyone. My name’s Gian Ottavio. I’m the Strategic Partnerships Manager here at Amaka. Today I’m joined by Jamie Smith, the Co-Founder and CEO of Amplify Advisors. Amplify Advisors is a full service accounting practice and also a growth consulting firm based out of Calgary, Canada.

Jamie’s team at Amplify offers a holistic accounting and finance service ranging from Outsourced CFO, CPA recruitment and consulting to technology and business strategy. They cater for small, medium businesses who typically utilize Xero and QuickBooks, as well as more enterprise-size clients who leverage ERP systems such as NetSuite. So, Jamie, thanks for joining us today.

Jamie Smith (Amplify Advisors)

Appreciate the opportunity. Thank you.

Gian Ottavio (Amaka)

All right. So, look, we’re moving to, I guess, the five fireside questions. And as you were mentioning, a lot of your clients, you already have an understanding of, okay, if they’re small, medium businesses, we’re going to put them on to Xero and other applications in your tech stack. Have you ever had clients that are resistant to implementing those types of technologies outside of the core accounting software?

What I mean by that is something that I guess we experience to be the Amaka is because of the unknowns, a lot of customers will be resistant to adopting technology because it’s an unknown, it’s a new thing, it’s a disruption to their current processes and something that we look to do is eliminate a lot of those unknowns by offering free guided setup for all of our activated, activated integrations to take the users through an end to end setup of the integration with one of our specialized accounting experts.

So is that something that is also done across Amplify when discussing the type of technology you’re going to look to implement to your clients? And does that help with overcoming any resistance?

Jamie Smith (Amplify Advisors)

Yeah. So a couple of things there. I mean, the one thing that I always tell our CFO and our team is that at the end of the day, we are disruptive, right? And it’s up to us to decide what end of the spectrum of disruption we are. So obviously what’s in the heads of the clients and what’s stopping them from taking on a CFO to begin with.

Actually, as well as the technology is often picturing that disruption as being chaos and, you know, having a negative impact on the employee with having the employees feel bad about prior processes and prior habits and prior cost, etc. and they don’t want that negative disruption and and pulling people out of what’s actually making the business money. Right. But you can also be disruptive in a positive way, which is not to be cheesy, but to amplify strategy and to amplify growth.

And so if you constantly tie everything back to the growth and strategy of the client, I find the conversation is much easier. So if you’re talking about implementing a software because it’s going to save money or save time or be less manual, which I know we’ve talked about all that and as accountants, we all get that that doesn’t speak to business owners. That doesn’t.

What speaks to business owners is understanding how I’m going to grow faster. I’m going to grow with more profit, or I’m going to achieve the purpose and the strategy that I have set out to do. That’s what speaks to me as a business owner. So using that language and turning the decision around directly, tying it to the strategy that they’ve told you, that’s not about you, that’s about them, that’s going to get the conversation going much faster.

And that’s going to let them visualize why it matters. Because if all you’re talking about is transactional in the weeds stuff, they don’t actually care how hard that is for you.

Gian Ottavio (Amaka)


Jamie Smith (Amplify Advisors)

You know what I mean? They don’t care that it takes you a long time. They don’t care that it’s not fun for your team. I mean, they care, but they don’t. That’s not inspiring. That’s not going to help them make the decision.

Gian Ottavio (Amaka)

Yeah. And I feel like it’s something that needs to be reasoned with the clients. We all know the business owners are time poor and implementing these types of technology can in some degree make them time rich whereby they’ve got up to date accounting softwares. They can make more informed business decisions through the use of this technology. So I think as you were saying, changing the angle of the conversation definitely helps minimize that, that resistance.

Jamie Smith (Amplify Advisors)

Totally. And if you know they’re time sensitive, then you speak about how they can use that time to be more in touch with their team, or  more in touch with their clients or customers or driving more revenue by focusing on a new region. And so you talk about the time in the capacity that matters to them as opposed to the time in regards to things that aren’t as relevant to them.

Gian Ottavio (Amaka)

Yeah, that makes sense. That makes complete sense. And further to that as well, you know, it has being a cloud cloud accounting first firm, has that actually improved lead conversion when you are talking to customers that are exploring different options because those as all business owners do, you know, they look at they they want to understand what’s out there in the market.

How is your firm better than the other? Does having that technology stack an understanding of how technology can enhance the customer’s experience? Does that actually improve your lead generation and lead conversion?

Jamie Smith (Amplify Advisors)

It has. And it’s interesting because we don’t have it all over our website. In fact, I don’t even know if it’s even on our website anymore, which systems we use and and what and how we use technology to help us do our job that’s not even on our website in any prominent way, might not even be on there at all.

But yet it comes up in the conversations with our sales team for sure. It absolutely does. And it also comes up actually when we do our Net Promoter Score in our surveys with customers, it comes up in the comments quite a bit. And so where it matters to them is that, you know, all the technologies that we put into place are providing scale that will outlast their relationship with Amplify, right?

So inherently they’ve got that value and that set up, which is there for the lifetime of their business regardless of how long they stay needing our services. Right, because with success, they will all outgrow our services and have their own internal team that’s taking care of things. So that is like a tangible asset to them as opposed to a service which is not never tangible, never left behind.

Right. And so they do absolutely see a lot of value in it. And they also recognize that it is through technology that we have such great results in terms of timely reporting, less errors, acting quickly on decision making, analysis and things that matter to them. Right? Because we have that information at our fingertips to actually get into strategic conversations as opposed to most of them coming from experiences where by the time they got financial information, it was really a compliance exercise because it was meaningless to management decisions.

It was far too outdated be it 30 days, 45 days, 60 days, that’s when they would get their financials. So it was kind of just a I’m supposed to get financials. I better check no one’s there’s no fraud here. And of course, send it to tax or send it to the bank or what have you. It was just a check the box exercise.

And if you needed to do analysis, you didn’t have access to what you needed anyways.

Gian Ottavio (Amaka)

Yeah, there definitely. And we’ve actually held some case studies on this same topic and we found that for the accounting firms that have actually incorporated practice enablement technology such as integrations or proposal automation software, that’s actually minimizing the time that they’re spending on the more time consuming data entry manual type tasks. So it’s freed up time that they can then spend on business development opportunities or increasing the allocation to sales budgets and areas of the business that will then grow the firm in tandem as well.

Has there ever been an occasion where Amplify has been chosen by one of your clients just by the use of your technology?

Jamie Smith (Amplify Advisors)

I don’t know if it’s ever been the be all, end all because it’s not what we do, it’s not what we put forward in our sales process, but certainly I think, you know, there is a desire to be tech savvy and to work with tech savvy companies. Right. So even you mentioned proposals and it was a deal breaker for us.

Actually, it’s your move to finally move to a proper proposal software where you have templates and everything set up and now we can do it’s how we can do a proposal that’s incredibly personal and customized within 10 minutes. And that same one used to have to go back and forth even just to check for spelling mistakes, you know, at least three or four times.

It’s just a big, big difference. And then you send a proposal that doesn’t have a spelling mistake and that makes the difference, right? It’s those little things that can make a difference. And I think though, when it comes to clients and how tech savvy they are, it is really important to actually recognize the audience. Like even today I had a conversation with one of our CFOs who uses decisions within Microsoft, which is a project management communication tool.

But, you know, sometimes you have to remember that not everybody on the other side is tech savvy. Or wants to push a button and open a new software. What in the world is this? Right? And so you have to know your audience a bit. And so you know what the proposals and with the decisions. Sometimes you still have to send an old fashioned email, right?

And maybe some of them even ask, can you send it to me in PDF? And you can’t get too upset about that, right? You have to accept the feedback and bring them along for the journey.

Gian Ottavio (Amaka)

And that’s part of the educational piece as well. The beauty about this type of technology that it sounds like Amplify is implementing. It’s very customizable in nature. There’s never, ever going to be a one size fits all model and that’s something that we’ve even found across our business as well, creating a customizable solution that does look to fit all different use cases has been one of the main reasons why we’ve found so much success across so many different accounting practices on a global scale.

So I can definitely reason with you on that one.