Kevin Cumley recently sat down for a Q&A interview to update readers on the Sage Intacct Accountants Program. The Sage Intacct Accountants Program (SIAP) provides CPA and outsourced accounting firms  a console that allows you to manage all of your clients from one place.

Find out in the blog below why Sage Intacct is acknowledged as the preferred provider of financial applications by the AICPA and see how joining the Sage Intacct Accountants Program can help you gain visibility, increase efficiency, grow your practice, and improve profitability.

Brittany Benson: It’s been a year and a half since we’ve chatted, Kevin! Can you give us an update on the Sage Intacct accountant's program?

Kevin Cumley: Absolutely. I’m happy to report the accountants' program is thriving and it continues to have high levels of growth and success. We've doubled the size of the SIAP teams since we spoke last and things just keep getting better!

Collectively, with our partner CPA.com we're able deliver the best accountant's program in the country, hands down.

Brittany: That’s fantastic, Kevin! What kind of interest are you seeing for outsourcing accounting services in your channel?

Kevin: We're continuing to see a huge increase in interest and demand for outsourcing accounting services. This is broader, across the accounting industry, not necessarily just specific to our program but we’re seeing an increase in larger organizations that are interested in outsourcing which is not something that we experienced as much just a couple years ago. There is a lot of growth in those kind of traditional mid-market-sized organizations regardless of whether they're for-profit or non-profit.

Second, we're seeing a big spike in interest and increased demand for what we refer to as high-value outsource accounting services, like virtual CFO, where an organization wants to outsource the top-level executive finance and accounting roles to our accounting partners which are great engagements for all stakeholders.

Brittany: What is it about the Sage Intacct Accountants' Program that set us apart from maybe other offerings at different organizations?

Kevin: That's a great question; there are several things. First, our program is built around a substantial level of benefits, resources, tools, and assets that are all designed to help our partners learn how to grow an outsourced accounting practice built on Sage Intacct. A lot of other "programs" only provide software at a discounted rate and then they say, "Hey. Good luck." That's not the way we work. Second, Sage Intacct is clearly the best cloud accounting solution for delivering outsourced services. Third, the relationship that we have with CPA.com and the AICPA provides a distinct advantage to our partners and their customers.

Our program is now much more selective regarding what types of firms we allow to join because we want to make sure there’s a high probability of success. We make a significant investment in our partners, and we want to know that they are going to do the same with us.

Brittany: That's helpful to know, and that probably explains why some of the top firms in the industry are so eager to join the Sage Intacct Accountants Program.

Kevin: Absolutely. We have over a third of the top 100 CPA firms in the program, which is significant. We also have a number of large BPOs in our program that are international and do work all around the globe. This program is much better suited for the needs of these large progressive and sophisticated firms, and our capabilities in this area are what attracts these top caliber firms.

Brittany: Excellent to hear! I know in the last post you talked about our IAP advisory council provides the communication links between Sage Intacct, CPA.com, and our partner community. Is that still the case now?

Kevin: Yes! We recently added a number of new advisory council members and we’re thrilled about their contributions to help us continue improving our program.

We’re thankful for the experience and value they contribute and we have a really solid representation of our channel. So it's not just largest partners, but we've got firms that are small, medium, and large, including both CPA firms and BPO firms, to ensure that all the different types of firms in our channel have a voice.

Brittany: That's great, Kevin. And also in the last post, you talked about some changes made to the training and certification aspect of the SIAP. Is that training still the same since the last time that we've talked or has that evolved as well?

Kevin: Well, it has definitely evolved. We've significantly raised the bar, not only in terms of the quality and quantity of training for our partners, but also certifications. Now all of our partners are required to go through the correct product training for their firm and to have staff that are certified. Depending on the size, either small, medium, or large firms, they are required have a certain number of people that are certified.

This approach has accomplished several things. First, it's created parity in our channel, so now all partners are required to have these certifications. Second, our education team significantly raised the bar in terms of the content for the training as well as the exam. This helps to ensure that if a firm has the required certifications, that they are knowledgeable enough to be providing outsourced accounting services using Sage Intacct. The ultimate goal is to help our partners deliver successful engagements to their customers that provide a high level of value.

Britany: That's fantastic. And what does the Sage acquisition mean for the accountants program?

Kevin: Our accountants program is thrilled to now be a part of Sage. They also have a high-quality accountants channel and have experienced much success in that area over the years. We view this as an even greater opportunity for us to work together and make this even bigger and better with even more resources and benefits!

Brittany: That’s great to hear, Kevin. And can you provide any further information on what’s changed over the last year for the accountants program?

Kevin: That's a great question. Several major additions: The first one is the 8 Keys to IAP Success, which is the result of a year-long research project where we talked to our top partners to find out what made them different and so much more impactful. We compiled that information and distilled it down into eight key areas which top partners have in place. We then created a guide that goes into extensive detail on each one of the keys to help firms understand the critical components that need to be in place in order for them to build an effective IAP practice.

What’s unique about this guide, is that it features four of our top partners: two CPA firms and two BPOs, two larger and two smaller, that talk openly about how they use the 8 Keys to drive a high level of growth.

This methodology is now used by our entire internal teams, both Sage Intacct and CPA.com, as well as our partners, so that we can all be on the same page on how we work together for optimized success.

The response has been overwhelmingly positive. The adoption rate has been incredibly high. I just came back from a series of partner meetings over the last month, including five top 100 CPA firms. All of them are actively using the 8 Keys in their practice. One of them, which is a top 30 CPA firm, has built the business plan for their entire outsourcing practice on this approach.

Brittany: Wow! That sounds like it’s been incredibly impactful for these firms!

Kevin: It really has! Another thing that we introduced recently is a comprehensive enablement process to educate new partners on what is required to build an outsourced accounting practice using Sage Intacct. All of our teams are 100% behind it and we know that when a partner completes the enablement program they are truly prepared to begin building their practice.

Brittany: What a great way to set the partners up for high levels of achievement. Anything outside of training that our readers should know about?

Kevin: Yes, over the last couple of years we held a Business Building Conference which was hugely successful. For example, we have had several firms that attended who have now doubled their growth rate, which is amazing! We have one partner that believes they are on track to triple their growth this year as a result of attending our event primarily as a result of what they learned there about marketing and sales.

Brittany: That’s awesome! To finish up, can you explain what are you most excited about for the next year for the accountants program?

Kevin: I’m looking forward to working with our talented team and partners as we continue to develop the absolute best accountants program in the industry!