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IMHO: Saasu’s partner program – another disappointment

Some weeks ago I wrote a blog explaining my distaste for the Xero partner program. I said I don’t like how it’s structured and how it inadvertently encourages partners to convert clients to Xero to enable them to move up through partner ranks. Well guess what? Xero isn’t the only accounting software company whose partner program stinks! The details of Saasu’s partner program were passed under my nose the other day and I must say it is more than a little smelly! IMHO the structure of the program needs to change.

Sadly, like Xero, Saasu’s partner program is based on number of clients held. Partners with 24 clients and less are known as bronze, partners with 49 clients and less become silver and partners with 50 plus clients are thrown into the gold camp.

Saasu Partner  Program

I think this structure is ridiculous and more than a little unfair for us smaller bookkeeping or accounting practices. As with Xero, a partner’s only motivation to move forward through the ranks is to obtain more and more clients. But what if you don’t want more clients or rather, a large number of clients? Here at e-BAS Accounts, I am content with 25 and less clients – that’s more than enough for me! Not all of these clients are Saasu or Xero users – my clients use a mixture of software so I might only have 5 using one and 6 using the other and so on. So basically, as the partner program currently stands, I will never reach silver or gold status. How is this fair? On the Saasu partner listing, it appears to any potential client looking for a bookkeeper that I am just a lowly bronze partner. Who is he more likely to contact first – a bronze partner or a gold one? I would guess the gold partner will get a phone call ahead of me every time. Again, how is this fair?

This type of partner program is unfair in my opinion because it totally ignores any partner’s prior experience and knowledge of using Saasu. The various coloured ranks only tell us one thing – how many clients a practice has on Saasu. I say “So what!” to that. How can a new client choose from an array of partners based on that information? That information is useless to a potential new client. The number of clients a partner has, says very little about how proficient that partner is at using the software.

A better way:

Let’s help potential clients shop in a more intelligent way.

How about this for an idea? Let’s see partners achieve their partner status based on their knowledge and years of experience instead. Here’s an example of what I mean:

Saasu New Partner Program

So in my example, all partners would be ranked according to years of experience as recorded with Saasu. In terms of the knowledge component, partners would also be expected to attend a certain number of training sessions throughout each year and to pass associated tests as evidence that they have mastered a skill or feature of the software. This would be mandatory and would ensure that every partner keeps up to date with the continual changes and upgrades etc. Partners are already required to pass an annual test to enable them to retain their accreditation with Saasu which I think is great and this should continue. Perhaps Saasu could also look at various qualifications for partners i.e. payroll specialist, inventory specialist etc – just an idea.

Now, instead of shopping for partners of whom he has little or no knowledge, a potential client can search the partner list and find a partner who has an adequate level of experience and knowledge i.e. he/she can be assured that their chosen partner is a Saasu expert. Not only would this be more beneficial for business owners, but it would certainly be fairer for all bookkeepers and accountants. No longer would numbers of clients held determine whether or not you move up the ranks. Instead your years of experience and continual education and testing would be the mark of your partner status. This is more achievable for partners regardless of the size of their practices. This is a fairer system.

So in summary, in my opinion, both Xero and Saasu should stop basing their partner programs on number of clients held. They should look at an alternative system that provides for the following in terms of partner status:

  • Number of years experience and
  • Knowledge of features of the software which is regularly maintained and monitored by attending courses and passing rigorous testing.

This system moves partners’ focus away from client numbers to that of maintenance of knowledge and expertise of the software and gives potential clients assurance that their chosen software partner is suitably qualified for the job.

Everybody wins 🙂

What do you think of my alternative partner program concept? Do you think it would work?