Ignition blog  /  Technology  /  Automate Your Accounting Practice With Ignition...
Dive into the game changing innovations that are possible for accounting firms around the world.
TECHNOLOGY 55 mins 21 Dec 2017 by Angela Gosnell
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Accounting automation to date has purely focused on the client accounting ledger. We’ve seen some innovations come into the practice management space, but in no way does this match the impact cloud accounting has had on small businesses around the world.

This video dives into the game changing innovations that are now possible for accounting firms around the world. Where you can now trigger functions to happen, automatically, simultaneously into multiple cloud solutions with every new client that comes into your practice.

This can allow you to save up to 120 hour per month or $50,000 per year if implemented correctly. Take a look at our deep dive session and see exactly what you can do to change your own game on accounting practice automation.

What you'll learn in this video

  • The problem with processes in your firm
  • How to build a scalable process that automates tasks
  • What an API is and how they can help you
  • Ignition launches with Zapier
  • Live examples of Ignition + Zapier
  • How you can get started

Links, tools and resources mentioned


Trent McLaren: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to today's webinar on how we've just changed the game on accounting practice automation. My name is Trent McLaren, I am the head of accounting at Ignition. In am joined by good friend and colleague, Mr. Tom Maxwell.

Tom Maxwell: Hello Trent.

Trent McLaren: How are you today my friend?

Tom Maxwell: I'm wonderful. How are you?

Trent McLaren: I'm fantastic.

Tom Maxwell: That's awesome.

Trent McLaren: For those that don't know, Tom is based in Kelowna Canada. It is a nice and snowy afternoon I believe over there.

Tom Maxwell: It is actually. Got a little bit of snow overnight, the ski resort up the road is looking great, so life is good.

Trent McLaren: Fantastic. Whilst I'm sitting here in my shorts and thongs in beautiful Sydney.

Tom Maxwell: Can't complain with that mate.

Trent McLaren: No you can't. We're really excited to have everyone with us today. We're really excited on the topic and what we're talking about. I can say, this has been one of the most popular webinar sessions we'll have run all year. We've had just over 700 people registered for this session. The important part is this session is being recorded. You will get a copy of this later today. So if you do hear anything, see anything that you would like to re watch, the great thing is that it's going to get to your inbox later this afternoon.

Trent McLaren: I've just been reminded that thongs has a different context in the U.S. Thank you Tate. My American friend, I'm wearing flip flops, plus other clothing as well.

Tom Maxwell: Thanks for clarifying.

Trent McLaren: Yeah, thanks Tate, I appreciate that my friend. You got me all thinking about what I'm wearing now. We love to have a bit of fun us Australians. Tom, tell us a little about your role. You're the head of Customs Excessive Ignition, what does that mean for everyone listening today?

Tom Maxwell: Yes, it is my job to make sure that everyone who uses Ignition is happy doing so and gets success and gets the ROI that they expect from it. Really, what my job is, is to live in the mundane. I dream about workflows and making sure that everyone's life is a whole lot easier. That's really what I get up to on a day-to-day bases.

Trent McLaren: Amazing, I love it mate. I love that this is your passion. For those that don't know, my role as head of accounting is to work with our accounting industry friends and make sure that we're actually educating working with industry bodies where possible I do that in a global capacity, and so hence this webinar is a global session between America, Canada, we even got people from the UK that have said they wanted to jump on and check it out as well, which is awesome. And just for a question that I had from Sky, the session is recorded. So everyone that's on the session today will get access to the recording sometime later today. You will get it automatically.

Trent McLaren: Just a bit of housekeeping, we do have a Q&A panel and we do have a chat panel. You can use either, and we will be reviewing them throughout. We may not address your question straight away, and we will get to it, but if you do find a time that again if we don't answer it, we will come back to you after this session as well, and we'll go from there.

Trent McLaren: Also, Sharon is here from the UK. Oh my goodness Sharon you're cane bane and I love it. I love it. Let's have a look at the agenda. You've met myself, you've met Tom. I'm wearing thongs or flip flop and Tom is in snowy Canada.

Trent McLaren: Today's agenda. We're going to talk through the game changes, what we believe the game changes are, and what we're excited about four accounting firms, what we've been testing with accounting firms. Talking a little bit about the connected practice, and believe me, they are very much interlinked. When I say the game changes, I'm talking about a connected practice and how you streamline and automate an entire process, or at least some of that process. That's what we really want to focus on. How do we systemize our one percenters, how much time does that evaluate to, and then how do we go and make better decisions as a result post that.

Trent McLaren: We're going to give you a live preview. We're actually going to give you a demo of exactly what we're talking about, and what it would look exactly like if you were to do this in your practice. Which is exciting, because we've been playing around with it all week. Lastly, [crosstalk 00:05:03] yeah, and then last but least we're going to run through what's new in Ignition, cool?

Trent McLaren: First things first, I want to just kick off with what our mission has been. What our new kind of mission is, or what we're looking at for 2018. So when I talk to Guy and Dade about the mission for Ignition, that rhymed I didn't mean that to rhyme, it's always been about how to accountants add better value to clients. We want to improve the relationship between you as an accountant or bookkeeper with your clients, so that you can focus on adding more value to that relationship, and that was the emphasis of what Ignition was built to specialize on. In 2018, you're going to see a couple of different things from us around how we educate, what we're communicating back to the industry, and it is built up around automations. How do we create the triggers, how do we help you create a connected accounting and bookkeeping practice? That is our mission. If I want to summarize that into a sentence or a word, I'm literally saying what happens next? What happens after a proposal is accepted? What happens after a client comments, or whatever it may be.

Trent McLaren: We're going to give you a snippet, we're going to talk to you about where we're going to start, and what that goes into. Tom, you've been on this journey a lot longer than myself, my friend. You can probably elaborate on what your journey's been like with PI to date, and how you see it changing in the next 12 months.

Tom Maxwell: Yeah. It's real exciting. I'm one of the earlier employees at Ignition. It's been quite a few years that I've been with the team now, and the evolution from year to year, month to month, or week to week, day to day has just been extraordinary to be a part of. So going forward, we're really looking to speed up everything that we do and give you guys the tools that you need to really do create connected accounting and bookkeeping practice. The future is bright, and I'm really excited to continue to be a part of it for sure.

Trent McLaren: Yeah. Awesome. I love it. And just for those playing along at home, which is everyone the session today, we do have the Twitter handles, and things there. So if you like something, or you want to give us a little shout out, feel free to chuck us a tweet, a photo, a selfie, I'm know myself and Nicole Lynch have already started tweeting at each other with excitement this morning. Again, if you're playing along and you like to do the tweeting of things, feel free to give us a yell and tell us your own line.

Trent McLaren: I want to tackle something first and get you to really start thinking, get your brain in the right mindset, so you can start to visualize again what this looks like in your practice.

Trent McLaren: Let's talk about process. When I talk about a process with a firm, and again I've been up since six a.m., I've had a few client firm meetings this morning, just talking about internal processes. One of them specifically by chance was actually around the way they do their payment process at Internally. I said, "Well, you know Trent we can use Practice Addition for our billionaire payments, but we've already got an [inaudible 00:08:11] terminal and a credit card online merchant facility to process our other payments."

Trent McLaren: I'm sitting here, look that's great, it's great that you've got process, but there's also a point where you've got too many processes for one outcome, and if you break it down, what is it that you're actually trying to achieve. We're trying to get paid. We're trying to manage our cashflow, earn a living and actually receive the fees for the services that we're doing. The trouble we find is we get clients that walk in and we want to keep everyone happy, so it's like oh can I pay you when I feel like it by direct deposit. Like yeah, cool that's great. Can I pay you in cash? Yeah that's great. And this was the scenario. What if I've clients with cash strain? Or what if I've got things I want to run through my online payment account? I said, "Look guys, you can run all those things, but the more things that you run the more administration time you add to your process flow, which means you're actually spending more time on the wrong things."

Trent McLaren: This is what we talk about on process. It's not what does the process need to be, shift your focus to what is the outcome we're trying to achieve. If you shift your outcome to what is the ... Sorry, if you shift your process to what is the outcome we want to achieve, then we actually start to think a little bit more creatively, and we actually start to think a little bit more on what is it we need to do, and is this process actually right? Or is it what's been forced upon us, and we haven't taken any control over exactly what we want to happen.

Trent McLaren: Now Tom, as mentioned you're head of custom success, you chat with accounting firms, and have done for the last couple of years on exactly this. What are some of the things you've seen, the challenges, the barriers that have been thrown up at you when you talk to firms about process?

Tom Maxwell: Yeah, I think the biggest challenge that we definitely see across the board is bottle necks, where an employee, or maybe even a leader in the practice is a bottleneck to the process. They're relying, or the team is relying on that person to fulfill part of that process in order to move forward.

Tom Maxwell: Of course, two problems with that, what happens when that person is sick, or God forbid gets hit by a bus. Or whatever the case might be, we now have a broken process, and really that's things we need to try and avoid. That's a big one that we see, and of course the other side, which I think you'll touch on in just a second is the structured process. Having a structure in a single way documented how to go about doing the things that you need to do in order to keep your firm moving forward.

Trent McLaren: Yeah, and I think the reason I chose this image of the rowing boat. Think about your accounting firm as a rowing team. Everyone has to put the work and the effort in, so you can actually get the distance to where you want to get to, but as soon as one person is sick that day, or they're having a bad day, whatever it may be, that actually impacts the entire team, and the entire team, actually has to pull more weight and more lift, so they can actually achieve and get the work done at the same capacity. And when you have, let's say in this example, a rower is quick, they move on, they do something else, you actually now need to find a new person that fits your mold, your structure, and actually is going to help you achieve the goal that you need to achieve.

Trent McLaren: You're only as strong as your weakest link, and when we talk about processes, your weakest link for me generally comes to the things that we can't control and it's varied. When I get to a process, I want to control the outcome, and the only way that I can control the outcome is to make it really, really simple. If I go to my next slide, I'll go in further detail.

Trent McLaren: Too many options kind of comes back to inconsistent results. If I talk about that as a human process, if I've got one person that knows my administration back to front, they're the only person that can get that result. If someone else tries to do what they do, they'll get different results. Whenever that process is handled in multiple scenarios, multiple people, that process is at risk of failure, change, varied results every single day. What I'm basically saying is that any time you've got a person or a human that has to touch a particular process in your business and that process can only start when they are determined to start it, that process is not scalable. We're all here because we want to build scalable practices. That's the whole point behind what we're trying to do. If we can systemize and automate and build a scalable practice, when we actually come back to focusing on having better relationship with clients, adding more value to clients.

Trent McLaren: Think about all the things that happen in your business that are triggered by human interaction. Now, think about what if some of those things could automatically happen. Now, into my next slide, I give you a bit of an idea of what that kind of looks like. When you're using something like Ignition, we've been able to systemize and automate your billing, your onboarding, your payments. That's something we've done very well, and we're going to build on again there's a whole bunch more to come on this, but today is a standalone, if that's all you did, you've automated a little bit and you've been able to free up administration time, and you're not worried about how you get paid, because it just automatically happens.

Trent McLaren: What about things like your marketing? What happens with the data that goes into Ignition? How do you get that into other systems? How do you then follow up with your clients, whether it be internal communications with your team, you're setting up workflows, tasks, maybe it's updating your CRM so that everything is all consistent. What about external communications? Who's following up with the client, and when are they following up with the client about documents now that you need to be able to start doing the work that they've signed on for?

Trent McLaren: Now, this is a big element that we want to focus on today, because we have some really exciting stuff to show and I can't wait. I'm literally budding with excitement. For those that know me I've got a very happy trigger Twitter finger. As soon as I hear a good thing, I am on the blower, on the Twitter. This sphere, talking all about it, because I just get pumped on this sort of stuff.

Trent McLaren: Again, Tom, talk me through your side of it, because again, you've seen with firms. What's your experience been with this type of scenario?

Tom Maxwell: Yeah, so I mean we've brought up the point of people potentially being bottle necked in a process, now I think it would be remiss of us to not touch on the fact that there's quite a bit of fear out there that people are going to be replaced by robots. But what we're talking about here specifically is sort of tasks that are critical for moving the practice forward, but potentially all value tasks. Tasks that don't necessarily need to have a human interaction. Your human interactions in your processes are best spent or best delivered toward customer facing and revenue generating actions. If that's the way we want to frame what we're talking about, that's really important to think about.

Tom Maxwell: How can we move our human skillset towards building those relationships with our clients, and making sure that we're able to continuously generate value for both our clients and our practice?

Trent McLaren: Yeah, awesome. If I look at what does the perfect scenario look like, what's the perfect world look like, we start talking about API's. We start talking about a scalable process. If I use the example of Ignition running into whether it's zero or QuickBooks Online, again, you haven't had to do a whole bunch. Once that proposals accepted the invoice is automatically triggered, it's automatically sent to your client, it's automatically raised in those platforms, and if you connected to workflow tools, again something like Zero Practice Manager, your jobs are automatically deployed with templates, with tasks, two team members with dates, etc. you haven't had to do anything, but again it's one simple process, and that one simple process from boarding a client, every client, you know what the outcome is. You can control the outcome, and you can minimize your risk for any variation to that outcome.

Trent McLaren: When you start thinking about any process in your business, again just come back to what is the process? What is it we're actually trying to achieve? How do we make that outcome a bit more simpler, and then how can we potentially scale that through things like automation and those kinds of things.

Trent McLaren: Again, API's we're all driven towards API. And again we're going to talk about what an API is in a second, but I think our craving for an accounting industry towards API's has likely been because the desktop practice management systems we've been using for 10 or 20 years haven't quite made the full jump to the cloud. We're not actually getting true connected systems, which is then forcing us as accountants and bookkeepers to look outside of our industry, for software that could actually help replicate those tasks. Again, I see a lot of firms using things like Asana, Trello, Team Work, Basecamp, all these different task management systems. I see a lot of firms using Slack. Using Slack to communicate internally. Because there isn't an accounting industry specific practice management platform that is up to speed, that has all this functionality that allows us to run this true practice. That's again, coming back to what we want to try and solve for today.

Trent McLaren: Just got a note from Tate. Tate's a Team Work and Slack user. And my friend, you'll be very excited by what we go through today. This is a scalable process. There hasn't been a human interaction at this point. It's one process, there's no variation, there's one outcome. It's consistent, it's reliable, it's scalable. For those that don't understand what an API is, Tom, your view on an API, please.

Tom Maxwell: It's your new full time worker basically. To be a bit more specific than that it's a way for cloud accounting, or cloud software to connect to each other and trigger different actions to happen based on what you perform or what the apps perform. It's really just a communication point, so as you can see on the slide, think of it as the PowerPoint. You're just plugging in different software to continuously move your data around in the most effective way.

Trent McLaren: Awesome. The other way of looking at it is again you talked about PowerPoints, it's just being able to connect one thing to another, think about connecting a USB into your laptop to your phone, the API is each end of the cable and that's kind of the simplest way to understand what it is. But again, if you're in that cloud accounting sphere we would generally understand what an API is because we start integrating apps between again maybe it's Ignition in Zero or QuickBooks Online, maybe you're using one of those cloud solutions with something like Receipt Bank, or Hub Doc or Fathom, or whatever it may be, these are the things that we're already connecting. Then we want to try to take that to a new level again, okay?

Tom Maxwell: You know what I like the most about an API, Trent? They're not going to call in sick, they're going to do their stuff on time, they're not going to come back and say I'm running late because of the doctor.

Trent McLaren: This is true. They don't ask for pay raises, they don't go and leave, they don't get upset with you when you're having a bad day. These are all the good things that API's allow us to do. It allows us again, it comes back to systemizing and scaling the little things, and when you do that, and you take care of the little things, it actually stacks up to be a lot bigger.

Trent McLaren: The big announcement, the big announcement, and the big part of what we're talking about today, and the big part of what you're going to see form us in 2018, let me just slide. Ignition will have 750 new integrations in 2018. I'm going to let that sit in for a sec. You can see a couple of logos on the screen, but please be excited. I'm extremely excited, you should be excited.

Trent McLaren: This is going to be a big part of what we're able to do and what we're able to help with next year. Or actually it's live from today. It's a very exciting time. We're going to show you a bit more about what that looks like and how that's going to be relevant for you today.

Tom Maxwell: I'm going to point out a comment, Sherry Lee, I have to say you're right. She said, "I disagree, API's get sick very rarely, they just don't suffer from PMS or ever tired from sick kid." That's wonderful.

Trent McLaren: They're not emotionally raw too. Yeah. API's are emotionless things. They're not persons, you're not dealing with people, but it means you can focus more time on dealing with people. I can see a string of questions coming in, so guys we will try and answer them as we go, but we're going to keep pushing things through. People are starting to ask, will it integrate with this and that. Again, I'm going to give you a link where you can see everything that it will integrate with, and we'll go from there. Awesome. Awesome, awesome, awesome. So what does that mean? What does that mean.

Tom Maxwell: A few people have already guessed.

Trent McLaren: Oh, I know. I think I saw Kirsten Barry guessed it. We've launched our Zapier beta. Zapier is a platform that connects us to 750 apps. No, Kirsten, that's fine, it's okay you don't have to apologize, it's a great guess. This now allows us to make the connection, which then allows us to do things like this. What that means is that Ignition ... Aha, you're cheating Kirsten, you're in the beta, you already knew. Once a proposal is accepted in PI and I eluded this at the start, what happens next? What happens after a proposal has been accepted?

Trent McLaren: Well, based on this image on the screen it's going to allow us to trigger multiple things all at once. This is exactly what Tom's going to show you a demo of today. We're going to actually run through what happens after a proposal is accepted, what happens when certain services on your proposal accepted, and how do you actually get data into Ignition automatically without you actually having to manually enter it yourself. This is a big part of what we're talking about today.

Trent McLaren: In this scenario, I've had a proposal accepted, and I've triggered something in Trello. I've triggered my invoice in billing into Zero, I can add information into Sales Force, I can create tasks and projects into Asana. I can add clients to my Mail Chimp list. I can plug everyone in my team in Slack and say, "Hey, we just won a new client. How freaking awesome is that?" And attach different Gifs and funny images. If I'm using HubSpot I can move things along my sales flow, from running into Accelo it helps me create my new projects and tasks, and again if you've got QuickBooks connected, then all of your invoice and billing is taken care of.

Trent McLaren: Awesome, so I've got Heather saying she's got tears of happiness. Heather, I'm almost crying too. I'm welling up. This is an emotional day, it's been a hectic awesome week. Believe me, trying to contain my excitement leading to this has been crazy. So again, very very good times. This is just an example. I said 750, I just picked eight that people might be familiar with and there's a whole bunch more in that as well. I got people that are drooling. I love it, I'm with you. We're all drooling. This is fantastic.

Trent McLaren: Gary, on that question I do believe Arrow is on the Zapier list, which is a good thing for you, my friend.

Tom Maxwell: Yeah, they're finishing their beta right now.

Trent McLaren: yeah cool.

Tom Maxwell: It's Arrow workflow, if you're not familiar with it, is a workflow solution built by an accounting practice. I was with them last week at QuickBooks Connect in Canada, and they got excited when I told them we were launching Zapier, because they're right in the middle of it too.

Trent McLaren: Like I said, I'm a big fan. So this is a big fan and this is what we're going to jump into in a second. Some people are asking me about Carbon. There is something happening there, so please stay tuned for you Carbon users of the world, you'll see more info around March or so. Don't hold me to it, but we're just talking. We're all friends here.

Trent McLaren: Moving along. Tom, talk me through the triggers. Talk me through what this means inside Zapier.

Tom Maxwell: Sure, so in Zapier, some of you might be very well familiar with it. I see Ian Walker is in the crowd and he's definitely someone who would be familiar with this. There's actually a couple of different things you can do in Zapier. They have the notion of actions, and we have the notion of triggers. In Ignition, what we've done is we've done both. You can action things into Ignition, and you can trigger things from Ignition. We're going to demo that pretty shortly here, but as you can see on the screen the example triggers or the triggers that we have right now, and this is by no means a definitive list, we're going to trigger actions based on a service accepted by a client and a trigger action based on a proposal accepted. Pretty cool stuff we're going to see about in a moment.

Trent McLaren: Yeah, again, I'm excited. Again, also my example before, I gave you a view of Ignition pushing into Zero into QuickBooks and then you had a whole bunch of other red circles that were all manually processed. So let's think about what that would look like inside Zapier for example. It would look like this, and it's a very pretty green picture, and I'm very impressed with myself to be able to put this together, because every time I look at it I just get excited. I just want to cry, I just want to smile. This is fantastic. This is where we believe it's a game changer. Now, not just because of the integration, but because Ignition literally is the first step in your workflow, with your clients. Guess what, we are the platform that needs to trigger all of these things to happen, and now you can do that. The beta is now live with Zapier. So you could actually start doing this today, and again ping us a message if you want to talk a little bit more about that.

Trent McLaren: We are actually going to run a webinar post this one to actually look at how to set up Zaps from Ignition into other tools. We will record it, you will get invited to it, so please stay tuned, we're very excited as I said. But think about it. How would you like to trigger your automation simultaneously automatically? A proposal gets accepted, and it automatically goes into all of these platforms instantly. Instantly. Like immediately. How powerful would that be? And if you think of it how much time you might spend doing all of this already, we're barely touching the surface in terms of what we're going to be able to do.

Trent McLaren: So I'm going to jump, and Tom's going to actually give you a live demo right now on how this works. Again, bring out your popcorn, sip your coffee, high five your neighbor and say, "I'm freaking excited for 2018." Can you do that for me? So Tom, my man, can you please take control of the screen?

Tom Maxwell: You got it. All right. We should be sharing now. Can you let me know you can see that?

Trent McLaren: Yes.

Tom Maxwell: Great, excellent.

Trent McLaren: Anyone else see? I just want to quickly check because I can see, but can everyone else see?

Tom Maxwell: Excellent, yup looks like we're getting a few. Heather, Caroline, yup. Oh lots of yeses, that's excellent.

Trent McLaren: Good, good, good.

Tom Maxwell: Very good. All right. Just like Trent has said, we've been playing with Zapier all week. In fact, for a very long time. I spent probably 14 hours yesterday zapping things around, it was really fun. As a result I'm kind of tired, but that's great.

Trent McLaren: I can tell it's [inaudible 00:28:02] I'm going to replace you with an automated system.

Tom Maxwell: Yeah, exactly. So what I want to demonstrate today, I've got a few different scenarios, and I've picked arbitrary tools. I wouldn't say arbitrary. I picked some tools I really like personally, but it doesn't mean you have to use someone wants to see the background image. It's not me, just for full disclosure, but I wish it was. There you go.

Trent McLaren: Tom, stick to your script please.

Tom Maxwell: Sorry. I got to please the masses here. There we go. So, basically I want to show a pre sort of scoping workflow. So we're going from lead to scoping, to presenting a proposal. Then a pre acceptance workflow. And then a third workflow from another slightly different scenario. So we'll start with the pre ... I've got everyone excited about skiing and snowboarding now. Sorry, derailing this. So we're going to work through a scenario. Trent, your name is going to be Joshua Smith.

Trent McLaren: Fantastic.

Tom Maxwell: And you're calling me from Splendid Bastard Beard Oil. Perfect, so let's get on the call.

Trent McLaren: Ring-ring.

Tom Maxwell: Good morning, Alfa Accounting this is Tom speaking.

Trent McLaren: Hey Tom, Josh here, you look like a great accountant, I've heard you're fantastic, I'd like to work with you.

Tom Maxwell: Excellent Josh, that's great. Josh, I'm a little tied up right now, but we have a bit of a workflow that we'd like to go through, so what I'm going to do is I'm going to take some details from you right now. You mentioned your business is, what was the business name again?

Trent McLaren: I think it's Splendid Bastards.

Tom Maxwell: That's perfect. Excellent. All right and Josh, what email can I get you on?

Trent McLaren: Josh@splendedbastard.com.

Tom Maxwell: Perfect, that's great. All right, so Josh I'm going to send-

Trent McLaren: [crosstalk 00:30:15] email, it's a new business. I'm excited I can't quite remember all of it.

Tom Maxwell: Excellent. All right Josh, I'm going to show you an email right now. It's going to have a questionnaire so if you can just take a couple of minutes to fill it out in full. When you get to the end of the questionnaire I want you to click on the final button where you'll be able to book a meeting with me.

Trent McLaren: Yeah, I'd love to.

Tom Maxwell: Great, in that meeting we'll finalize all the details. I'll have a few more questions for you, and then I'll be able to present our solution to you. Does that all sound good?

Trent McLaren: Sounds fantastic.

Tom Maxwell: Excellent. All right, thanks Josh. We'll be in touch shortly.

Trent McLaren: Great.

Tom Maxwell: All right. So thank you Trent, or Josh.

Trent McLaren: You're welcome.

Tom Maxwell: So what I'm using here is HubSpot CRM. It's a free CRM and it's really good. Of course if you already have a CRM that's online, then by all means just think about your CRM being the case here. I'm creating my deal as I'm talking to Josh at Splendid Bastard, which is a real company by the way.

Trent McLaren: [crosstalk 00:31:20]

Tom Maxwell: Yeah, no kidding. Let me just refresh that just to make sure that our deal went into the flow. All right, where did it go? There it is. Sales. I put it in the wrong part of the pipeline, so I'm just going to pop it back into the sent. All right, so I've sent an email off to Josh, just imagine that I have, and now I've mentioned the questionnaire. So now I'm using Type Form, and this is one of my favorite apps of all time. Of course this can be replaced by any other online survey builder. The reason why I like Type Form is it's just so nice in terms of branding and very seamless to set up. If I'm Josh, I am now Josh. Matthew asked was that HubSpot? Yes, that was HubSpot CRM, the free CRM that they provide.

Tom Maxwell: So if I'm Josh, I go into my Type Form. Here's the Type Form that we've created. Whoops, actually your name is Josh. We'll just go with Smith. I've had a bit of fun with this. You can see that the questions actually automatically update with the details from the last answer, which is kind of cool. I knew a guy from Halifax who went by Smith, he went on to make millions and is loved by everyone.

Tom Maxwell: Anyway, what name do you normally go by? So he normally goes by Josh. Josh doesn't mind the logger, because we're going to come in when he comes in for the meeting, I'm going to have one ready for him, and then I'm going to ask for his phone number, and of course his email address. Now if Josh messes up the email address, then it validates, which is great. So let's get that in there. Perfect. And of course the great business name, Splendid Bastard.

Tom Maxwell: So in this questionnaire, the beauty of having a questionnaire like this is we get a structured sales process, so we're going to ask all of their leads the same questions, the same way every single time. I'm getting questions, what program? This is Type Form. Typeform.com. You should see the URL. If you have questions as I'm going as to what apps I'm using, just check the URL up at the top of the screen there.

Trent McLaren: Also, I'm here, so I will answer questions as well, so feel free to do that, and Tom will keep doing his thing.

Tom Maxwell: Perfect thanks. Thanks Trent. These are great questions to ask. What keeps them up at night? Cashflow. What would a successful relationship look like? Of course fix my cashflow. Great, so this might seem a little impersonal, but we're accountants, so we have to ask how much do you turn over annually, so fairly lucrative business this one. Then okay great, which accounting system do you use? You can set this up however you like. With whatever systems you might support. Josh is going to tell me that he uses Freshbooks. Great, we love Freshbooks, we know it well, however, we're even bigger fans of QBO. Now of course if you're a Zero practice you can switch that out with Zero. If you're a Saasu, Sage, whatever, the point is you can demonstrate your, or ask these questions, and you can even have videos that play with audio and everything that you need to demonstrate the value of QuickBooks Online in this case.

Tom Maxwell: Would you be interested in switching your books? Yes, excellent, we know that now. Now, would you like us to run your payroll? Yes. And just notice if I hit no instead of yes, it will actually just skip the next question, which is really cool. Basically from here, we can have it basically ask the questions that are appropriate. How many bank accounts for bookkeeping? Credit card accounts? Would you like us to do personal tax returns? Let's go to yes, and we're going to do three tax returns, or let's just say two. Then final question, we like providing deep insights into your business. We like to provide the monthly reporting, and in this case I'm just demonstrating Fathom Reporting, but of course spotlight, Futurely, any of those wonderful reporting apps, you can do whatever you like in that case, but yes, that's what we're doing here. The only reason why I chose them, was because they had a YouTube video that I could find easily.

Tom Maxwell: So, here's where things start to happen. I hit submit, as Joshua, and now a couple of things are going to happen. As Joshua, I'm going to book a meeting time through my Calendly, so I've just got that connected directly through Type Form, so we can book in our scoping meeting. We're going to book it for Wednesday at two o'clock and just fill that out, but I'm going to skip that for now. That's really cool.

Tom Maxwell: Now, let's switch over to the Alfa Accounting side. Now that that's happened, what is actually happening on our side? Well, let's go have a look at Slack. This is Slack if you're not familiar. I've just got a notification, all these Gifs, I just got a notification Joshua from Splendid Bastard just filled out the sales questionnaire, he's now been added to Ignition, click here for the full survey results, so that will take me back into the back end of Type Form, so I can see all of his answers, and away we go.

Tom Maxwell: Now, I've been notified, okay great. I can go take a look at all of his answers before we have our scoping meeting and make sure I'm ready to go, and in fact, I can even take it one step further and maybe even pre prepare a proposal and Ignition.

Tom Maxwell: Now of course. That's not where this ends. If I go into my Ignition account and go to my client list, if I search for Josh, or in this case Splendid Bastard, he's now a lead. That's automatically been applied from him submitting that questionnaire. We can see all the details, and in fact I've brought the results in here as notes as well. All of that has now connected, and I've now through my sales workflow, what we should also see if remember correctly, because I can't remember how many Zap's I've got going now ... Yeah, so we also just saw, I did that pretty quickly without explaining, but that was really cool.

Tom Maxwell: If you remember, Splendid Bastard was in the sales questionnaire sent part of my pipeline, he's now automatically moved across to sales questionnaire complete. That's really cool.

Trent McLaren: Very very cool.

Tom Maxwell: Sweet, so we've now finished our lead gathering qualification process, we're ready for the scoping meeting. Josh and I get together at a coffee shop and we go through his questions, and we go through his pain points and we come to an agreement that there is certainly a solution that we can provide to help them through those pain points. At this point of course, I'm going to jump into Ignition and create my proposal and I'll just set up the dates. I'm just going to move this forward by a year. There we go. Excellent. Now I'm going to go into my service library and I'm going to drop in a couple of things, so remember, we're going to do a QBO set up in training. That was part of the questionnaire. We're going to drop in that subscription of course, Zero, if you're a Zero practice. You can just switch that out of course, or any other accounting software whatsoever. Might even throw in a Hub Doc subscription. There we go, and we'll do some base advisory work as well on a recurring bases.

Tom Maxwell: I'm not going to spend too much time in Ignition. Even if you aren't familiar with Ignition, I do encourage you to book a demo so we can go into a lot more detail. I'm just going to try to keep it fairly high level, just to focus more on the automation that Zapier provides.

Tom Maxwell: At this point I've created the proposal and in fact if I've set this up well enough and I got all the answers already, imagine that I'm still sitting with Josh at that coffee shop, or perhaps we just left and say, "Hey Josh, going to get that proposal across to you in just a moment." Trent do you mind if I give them a little bit of a sneak peek on the new feature in PI?

Trent McLaren: We can, I am conscious we have 20 minutes left as well.

Tom Maxwell: Okay, should be all right.

Trent McLaren: Yeah, we should be fine.

Tom Maxwell: Won't take long. Okay. So in the past we would have to only send to the client via email. So if Joshua is sitting in front of me, I have to send it to email before he can accept it. Instead, what I can now do is move it to awaiting acceptance without sending an email to the client. When I do that, I must have hit, there we go. We've now got it into that awaiting acceptance status, so I can either click this link to open up the proposal and swing my laptop around and have them fill it out right in front of me, or perhaps even better, I now got this link, which I can copy, which is a short link and you can do anything you want with that, including send it as a text message. Here's one I prepared earlier. Here's that example. I met Reed at a coffee shop. I followed up with a text message just after our meeting, I'll send him the link through text. He then signed it through text or through his smart phone, which you have always been able to do in Ignition. So that's pretty cool.

Trent McLaren: Very cool.

Tom Maxwell: All right, so we're onto the post acceptance flow. I'm going to-

Trent McLaren: Yeah, show us the magic.

Tom Maxwell: Show us the magic. All right. So I'm going to move this into Acceptance. I'm just going to do this quickly if you just allow me to indulge, I'm going to accept on the client's behalf.

Tom Maxwell: All right, so we've now got a few things happening. Automatically straight away on acceptance, you probably saw that happen immediately. Congrats team, we have a new client. Let's wow them from the start. Please welcome Splendid Bastard to the Alfa Accounting team. Here's their PI proposal.

Tom Maxwell: From here, we've even got our little Gif of Seinfeld and Co having a little dance, which is lovely.

Trent McLaren: Love Seinfeld.

Tom Maxwell: So, basically from here, a few other things have happened, which is really cool. Let's go back into HubSpot, and I'm just going to refresh. What we should see if I've set this up properly and my testing prowess of the webinar works, yup closed one Splendid Bastard proposal has been accepted, so he's automatically been moved to closed one.

Trent McLaren: Boom.

Tom Maxwell: Which is really cool. That's that. Now I'm trying to remember what else I set up in here. There's a million things. I'm just going to go back to my Zap. What we also have is Mail Chimp. I think I saw this as a question. Someone said I'm really struggling with getting my data connected between all of these different systems including Mail Chimp. Perhaps what you want to do is send out a welcome to the Alfa Accounting family email and we can see of that acceptance Josh@splendidbastard has been added to my Alfa Accounting customer list in Mail Chimp, which could then of course send an email out to say welcome to the Alfa Family.

Tom Maxwell: That is that one. I have one more scenario, being conscious of time, this one will be a lot quicker. What do you reckon Trent?

Trent McLaren: It's amazing, I love it. This is all happening all at once. We've just seen that it can go from PI has accepted that then pushed and moved the pipeline in HubSpot, we've automatically added it to Mail Chimp so our marketing database is automatically updated. I can put it into a campaign. Which is awesome. Again, you can have lots of things happening all at once. The next part I'm really excited for, which is the workflow side of things and the tax management, so Tom back to you mate. Show us that side of it too.

Tom Maxwell: So this one's pretty simple, I'll be the first to admit, but it's based off a conversation we had with our friend Bobby Chatter over in the UK. He's a senior partner at Deutsche, but prior to his retirement to work he was running a practice called Palmer and Co if I'm not mistaken. He had a problem in the tax season, which for those of you in North America is just around the corner, or UK for that matter. Where they were really struggling to stay on top of what needed to be done in their tax engagements, or in terms of prioritizing the tax work. With Ignition and now this Zapier thing, we're going to look at how we can automate that as well.

Tom Maxwell: I'm going to create another real quick proposal. In fact, I'm just going to duplicate one I prepared earlier just to speed this up a touch. I've got a million apps running, here we go. Let me just jump in. This is the one. In this particular one I've got a business tax return prep and a base business and advisory planning. I'm just going to quickly duplicate it, and I'm going to just add another client in there. Let's go with these guys right here. Remember, we have our base advisory planning, which is maybe a three month service, and we have our un-acceptance business tax return preparation, so two different services.

Tom Maxwell: Let's imagine, I've sent this to the client, and they've gone ahead and accepted it. Now of course, we're going to see in a moment that we're going to get another Zap and I'm excited to see what the Gif is this time. Oh God, check out what that is.

Trent McLaren: Happy you didn't share it.

Tom Maxwell: But, what I've also done is I've used an app called Trello to manage a really basic workflow. What I now have is a really simple board, that I might want to throw up on a TV, especially during the tax season, how busy it is and how many jobs are going to be coming in and out, and we can see that my Beam on laboratories, business tax return preparation task has been added to the not started list and at the bottom, so it's in order of how they've come in. If I click into the card I've also automated the checklist that I need to go through in order to fulfill this tax return, and the contact information as well.

Tom Maxwell: Then as I'm working trough this stuff, I'm going to say Andrew's is in progress, we've now finished this one it's out for signing, and then Guy Skate Boards has been finished, so we've moved it to done, and we can celebrate our wins, which is awesome.

Tom Maxwell: That's not in on that one. Of course as I dropped this service in, perhaps you need to send a very specific questionnaire or document or something like that. In this particular Slack, I have sent an email automatically and in fact if I go, I'm going to have a lot of things, there you go. Thanks for signing our tax engagement proposal, to get started we need to get some more information please click this link, and please note the deadline for your tax return is third of March, or first of March should I say.

Tom Maxwell: There you have it. I've also automated an email out of my Gmail account off the back of that as well. And so there you go.

Trent McLaren: Amazing. Amazing. I love it. I'm going to pause and see if there's any reactions from the crowd. I think Mark Sherman said FCUK I can't tell if you're talking about the fashion retailer, or if he's actually just excited. Which is fantastic.

Trent McLaren: At this point, because again, we've get 15 minutes left to fund. This has been fantastic, I know you're all loving it so far. I'm going to take control back from you Tom.

Tom Maxwell: Yeah, let me stop my share. Go right ahead.

Trent McLaren: Thank you. Quickly confirming everyone can see my screen. Tom, can you see my screen?

Tom Maxwell: Yup, I got you mate.

Trent McLaren: Good, good, good, good. Now, just some statistics. Let's talk about in Ignition we use Zapier every single day. This is the statistics we find in terms of how much time we save, so think about in terms of what you can save. Think about it, not even for just what you would use PI and Zapier with, but you can also use Zaps for other things at smarter that as well.

Trent McLaren: In this example, we've got 7683 zaps this month, and we're saving around, Zapier would say it's about 60 seconds to two minutes on average per zap you save. You think about every time you need to copy something somewhere else. The Zap will save you 60 seconds to two minutes. We're saving 683 minutes of time on average, which is 128 hours a month, which is 1536 hours per year, all automated. It only costs us 45 USD per month, so $550 a year, we're saving 38 grand a year. We're saving one salary, or one salaries worth of time by implementing Zapier into our practice. If you start to build your practice, based around the apps that are all connected, and as I said all the popular ones are generally on Zapier.com and if you combine it with things like Grow QuickBooks Online etc. then this can be really powerful. So all the statistics you're looking at right now, these are the benefit Ignition has for our use of Zapier.

Trent McLaren: So what I'm really saying is that if you implemented Zapier into your practice, with Ignition and a string of other things, you too could be saving $38,000 a year or positioning those fees into something else.

Trent McLaren: At this point, I'm going to go with question time. Don't be shy, it's question time. Please be mindful, we have 10 minutes left. I'm not going to be able to answer everything.

Trent McLaren: I've got one here from Brad on custom fields, is this some info on whether this will integrate or not? Brad, so you saw Tom's example, he used the Type Form questionnaire, if you use the Type Form questionnaire at the start that will allow you to capture all your custom information, which could then potentially push into your other CRM or whatever it is that you're using. Some of that information will come through into Ignition in the notes field anyway, but in that scenario Brad, as I said at the start, it's identifying what is the current process, but what is the outcome that we actually need to happen. If we can collect all that information in Type Form, or Google Forms or whatever that app is, and then it automatically pushes into other systems, then you'll get that custom information. It's not looking at will this product do it? It's looking at what do we need to achieve, and then working backwards from there going what if we did his? What if we captured all the info up front? How could we then push that into other things? Trish just-

Tom Maxwell: I think I might add on top of that, sorry Trent, from the Zapier integration perspective, we started with a handful of fields, and it's certainly not definitive. We encourage your feedback as you start to connect Zapier to Ignition and you'd say I want x field to flow in or out of Ignition, make sure you let us know, and we'll be glad to take your feedback and then try and work towards building those out as well.

Trent McLaren: Cool. Awesome. I'm just looking at the questions still. Would using Gmail be a better platform than Outlook? Natasha, it really depends on you. We're a Gmail Google house, and I like it because everything is in the cloud, generally more integrations all those kind of things, but there are Zapier still integrates with Office 365, so you could still be using Office 365, the whole point is it needs to be in the cloud. That's probably the best way I'd say it.

Trent McLaren: Will Zapier integrate with Zero Practice Manager? Susie Kimball my friend, we already integrate with Zero Practice Manager, so I wouldn't necessarily need the integration between PI and XPM because it already exists, we've already had that integration being built as well.

Tom Maxwell: I don't know if they are, just to add to that, we might be. I might field, there's a few questions coming in around the time it takes to set up, or how do we actually set it up, so yes, the thing that you'll need to know of course is that with Zapier you'll want to make sure that your process is set up correctly, and it's going to take a little bit of time, but once you invest that up front time, as you can see, it's now resulted in that, what did we say, 38 grand a year at least in savings so it's definitely worth spending the time.

Tom Maxwell: As for how to get support, we've just got started on our journey towards providing content for everyone. What's going to happen next, we're still in beta, and part of the beta process is to provide Zapier itself with example Zap templates to and from Ignition. We're going to start with those, and you'll start to see those soon when we officially announce our launch, so we'll have some very specific instructions around those particular Zaps. From there, we've got some more work to do. We're going to build a lot of content around our recommended Zaps and how you go around building them, so there's lots more to come, and of course our customer success team can help answer questions whenever possible.

Trent McLaren: Yeah, and the one thing I want to add, I had someone just say is Ignition going to be able to set up all the required apps, or does PI offer someone else as a service to do this for us? We do have an implementation service that some of you are familiar with. On our website, that normally starts at $2000. Now, it really depends on the time and the setup. We've never done this before, because it's brand new. We are looking at investigating into a service. If you want to come and say you know what, team we want you to help set up all of our integration. We can't set up your apps, I can't set up your whole process flow, but I can help you integrate Ignition into the other systems using Zapier, and we would be able to do that for a service in terms of a fee.

Trent McLaren: What we will be doing educational wise that won't cost you anything is running more regular content on building Zaps with Ignition looking at some of the best recipes we've found and what that will look like for you, so there will be both options. If you don't have the capacity, or the budget, or you don't want to spend that kind of money for whatever reason, then we will have some monthly educational content that you can dive into to help build this out, but if you're just sitting there going Trent, just do it all for me, just shut up and take my money and do it for me, there will be that option as well. If that is you feel free to leave a question or a comment and we can talk about that in a second, and we'll go from there.

Trent McLaren: I'm just going to look through different questions coming in. There's a couple of questions around exchange servers, and all those kinds of things. Again, it depends on the Office 365 integration. Trisha specifically. Again, you'd have to spend a little bit of time looking at Office 365, what your current integrations look like. I've actually worked in my last role with a server based environment on Office 365 and I was still able to do integrations like this kind of stuff, so I think you should be fine, but you'll need to actually investigate that part of it yourself.

Trent McLaren: Again, there will be a recording of this session. A lot of people asking will we get the recording? You will get the recording in the next couple of hours. That is definitely happening. What we're going to do, we've got five minutes left, and I got a couple of things I need to do here. Brad, I like that, that's funny. We'll come back. I'm going to talk to you outside of this, Brad anyway, because you had a lot of questions coming in and I want to answer all of those, so that will be fine. The next thing I want to show is what's new in PI and what else we've done. It's really only one thing that I really want to highlight.

Trent McLaren: We automatically now send invoice notifications of payment receipts, which basically means prior to this actually happening any time a proposal is accepted in Ignition, we would raise that invoice is draft inside QuickBooks Online and Zero. What that meant, was you still had to go into both of those platforms to then send that invoice to your client. Now, as of two weeks ago, you no longer have to do this. When a client accepts your proposal, we will automatically send the invoice to the client and the payment receipt, which is again I was already really excited at this point we had a lot of good traction in terms of engagement on the back of that, but that was my mic drop moment two weeks ago, saying look mom, no hands. I'm not doing anything. All I did was accept a proposal and you've never had to touch their invoicing again. Especially if you've got them on fixed structured fees. You won't have to touch those clients.

Trent McLaren: That's kind of the benefit when you connect Ignition with a cloud ledger. I'm getting a questions on other cloud ledgers we don't currently connect to. I know on Zapier.com this will actually allow us to integrate to things like Saasu, Reckon One, Free Agent, and a couple of other platforms, and you can see that on Zapier.com. There's a couple of platforms we can't integrate with because the API's specifically don't exist. I started the company six months ago, the first thing I did was chat to every accounting provider, A to break ground, because as some of you know my background, it's nice to build a new relationship with people. B, to find out what their plans were for their practice management system and how we can then better work with them. How do we do some better integration. There are some platforms we simply can't connect to because the API's do not exist and then go from there.

Trent McLaren: So this invoice certification this was a huge release, we're very excited. It just means you don't have to do anything. This is an example of what that would then look like. Which means, all of your clients is in PI with fixed fees, with PI payment connected. You'll never need to touch their billing again, smiley emoji. Amazing.

Trent McLaren: If you want more updates on the product releases we've had, you can see all of that on Ignition blog site, so it's .com/blog-product-update-November-2017, you can read all about that there. We've got two minutes. Last chance for questions. I've got one from Sheryl Lee, if you're already a Zapier client, then yeah, you just pick the PI Zap in Zapier, and you'll be able to start doing those things. So yeah Shirley, if you're already using Zapier, fantastic. This is going to be really easy for you to navigate and get through.

Trent McLaren: David, do you speak to Sage about Sage One? David, it's probably understand do we have many firms that run their practice on Stage One, and that's generally the first question we ask, what do all of our accounting clients use internally to run their practice. In my experience, we haven't come across too many firms that run on Stage One, it's more like Handy Soft, Handy Ledger all of those kind of things and so forth. Cool.

Trent McLaren: Any other questions? Tom anything you want to add my friend?

Tom Maxwell: Not particularly. There's lot of questions and we'll do our best to get back to everyone, but I just want to add that I had a lot of fun doing this.

Trent McLaren: This has been really really fun. I've currently enjoyed it. Last but least, if you're new, you're not actually using Ignition, you can get started with us today. We offer 14 day trials. If you would like to spend 30 minutes chatting with myself, or Tom in a demo if you're new to Ignition you can book a demo directly through the website. If you're interested in having Ignition help you implement Zapier, it's a fee for service, it's not something we can do for free unfortunately, just because of scalability, put a comment in and we can talk to you about what that would look like, and what we'd need to understand is what are all the apps that you're currently using, and we can actually sit there and go what is the process you're actually trying to create. What is the optimal experience you want, and we will work with you on that.

Trent McLaren: Again, guys we're at time. We've had an amazing 60 minutes. This has been a lot of fun. You're all going to get a recording of this session. Any question that we haven't been able to answer, we will get back to you individually, myself and Tom. I know we both blocked at least an hour and a half or two today. Well, I know I have to get back to these questions. Thank you so much, you're amazing, we're excited, I hope you're excited. I'm clapping, I'm crying, I'm laughing. Thank you for joining us, and we look forward to hanging out with you guys all again soon. Amazing.

Tom Maxwell: Thanks guys.

Trent McLaren: Thanks guys, see you later.

Tom Maxwell: See you, bye-bye.

Trent McLaren: Bye.

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Angela Gosnell
Angela Gosnell

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Published 21 Dec 2017 Last updated 21 Jul 2023