How Accountancy Practices Can Use Automation For a Seamless Customer Experience and Increased Client RetentionJamie Allen
Many professional service firms are undergoing a digital transformation; clients are increasingly expecting firms such as accountancy practices to offer and advise on the latest technological solutions. Firms that are tech-savvy and have a digital set up will outperform more traditional firms as clients seek a more efficient and user-friendly service.
Digitisation not only increases efficiency but also allows for a transformation in the customer experience. More than 80% of business owners agree that technology creates financial opportunities for their businesses. It is just a matter of what you use and how you integrate them to ensure you have a seamless process. Below we discuss different ways digitisation can transform your firm.
Re-think Your Business Model
Digitisation is not just about implementing new systems, it will also involve shifting your mindset and rethinking how your firm operates. With more efficient systems in place such as document scanning systems, the amount of time spent on administrative tasks will certainly decrease, meaning that you are able to focus the time gained on providing a more value-add service to your clients. Cloud-based Accountancy applications help streamline processes, allowing easy access to your client’s accounts in addition to multi-user access, real-time data and no need for expensive installation or upgrade fees as it all runs online.
Selecting the applications to use in your firm will be important, but perhaps more important will be how you can utilise integrations between applications to allow for maximum automation. By having a digital mindset within your firm, your clients perceive you as a technology-driven business and will be increasingly likely to approach you to assist them with implementing technology-driven workflows within their own businesses, where they will see the value-add directly.
Get Your Clients Talking
The beauty of providing a seamless experience for your clients is that they are more likely to pass on their great experience to others, resulting in more sales opportunities for your firm. Technologies such as single sign-on portals can be embedded into your own website to make it as easy as possible for your clients’ access to their own personal portal which houses all their applications. All they will need is one login to effortlessly navigate across all their digital platforms.
This online portal can carry your own branding and allow you to tailor the application access for each of your clients, as well as give you the opportunity to add in any internal business applications used by the client from other areas of their business, meaning they can run most of their business operations from one central hub. This also means that your clients will only need to remember one username and password for their account and reduces the support queries you may get regarding forgotten credentials. Systems such as this allow you to get your brand out there, keep clients engaged in your service, increase client retention and improve security for both parties.
Allow Clients to Self-Serve
Often clients are more comfortable with having instant access to their financial information rather than having to call their Accountants or go through lengthy back-and-forth email correspondence. With the use of cloud-applications, clients can access their real-time financial data when they need it, meaning you can focus on providing the best possible customer service. It also means that everyone is always reviewing the same real-time data so you can provide accurate advice if a client does need some further assistance with their accounting information.
Tailor Your Client/Firm Relationship
By using technology well, it can transform the client/firm relationship in the best way possible. Technology can help you make the customer experience seamless and means that you are able to incrementally adopt new applications which are both scalable and adaptable, making processes easier for your client as their business grows. By using the right tools, your service can easily cope with any changes in your client’s operational or financial requirements, as well as extending your service offerings beyond traditional accountancy services into supplying a more tangible product. Small wins can include online document sharing systems, mobile applications for recording business expenses and digital inboxes for supplier invoices.
Automated Customer Service
Having a well-designed website is crucial when wanting to be perceived as a technology-driven firm as this instantly boosts your credibility and gives you the opportunity to showcase your expertise. This also goes hand-in-hand with the customer service experience you can provide to your clients. Clients like to know they are able to contact you when they need help and this can be easily applied to your website in the form of live online chat systems and online electronic forms; in many cases, this can also take the pressure off you as you can answer quick queries instantly and on the go.
Online screen-sharing tools can synchronise to your calendar, so clients are able to book a call with you or another member of your team and are able to see your real-time availability. Not only does this reduce the number of ad-hoc calls you will receive, but it will also give your client reassurance that they are able to book in a time with you that works for both of you when they may need more assistance or advice.
Have Something to Show Your Client
The advantage of being able to give clients access to online financial systems is that they can physically see the value in the service they are paying for. Intelligent reporting and analytics tools are becoming increasingly popular as many business owners want to not only have full visibility of their financial performance but also be provided with real-time insights into their operational performance. This will prove invaluable when creating your business strategy or increasing your client’s ability to make effective, quick and accurate decisions. By implementing reporting tools that are linked directly to the accounting system, as well as business operational systems, you can provide your clients with real-time business analytics that add value and drive operational improvements to increase profits.
Becoming a fully digital firm is all about meeting the expectations of your client. Having the tools to provide a digital-based service gives your firm a competitive advantage by providing something much greater than a compliance-based service.
If you want advice on this, please contact us at www.4pointzero.co.uk and get in touch with one of our consultants today.