We use a local mean-field (Hartree-like) approach to study the conductance of a strongly localized electron system in two dimensions. We find a crossover between a regime where Coulomb interactions modify the conductance significantly to a regime where they are negligible. We show that under rather general conditions the conduction obeys a scaling relation which we verify using numerical simulations. The use of a local mean-field approach gives a clear physical picture, and removes the ambiguity of the use of single-particle tunneling density of states (DOS) in the calculation of the conductance. Furthermore, the theory contains interaction-induced correlations between the on site energy of the localized states and distances, as well as finite temperature corrections of the DOS.