Streamlining your accounting practice to benefits you, employees and clients
With technology trends and compliance being hot topics many accountancy practices know that they need to make in-house changes and adopt new technology, but what are the real benefits and the business case for doing so?
1) Good technology drives recruitment & staff retention.
Do you find it hard to recruit good staff? Given the state of technology you’d think it would be easy to find quality candidates, but for many this feels tougher than ever. Clients have told us that reviewing the processes they have in place for recruitment and highlighted how the use of the right technology can add significant benefits here:
- Personality testing, such as Myers-Briggs or Gallup Strengths Finder, are good examples of online tools which give you a good understanding of a candidate’s aptitudes and how they might complement and enhance your existing team.
- Make your business one that candidates want to work for, by thinking about your employer brand. Your social media presence, public relations and how your current employees talk about your business to their friends & family all influence how attractive your business is to future employees.
- We make a very informed decision about a potential employer by taking a look at its website. What is yours like and how active are you on target social media sites? Duncan and Toplis are a good example of a brand using social media to increase their visibility to the younger demographic (who are potentially both clients and future employees). Their embrace of new technologies makes them a sought after business.
- Once you’ve identified the right candidate, how do you secure them? If you’re still sending out an offer letter and contract in the post, you’re moving too slowly. When candidates are ready for a new career opportunity, they’ll be likely to pursue openings with more than one employer. Much better to avoid coming in second place by getting your formal offer accepted within hours by digitally sharing and signing it via a secure portal.
2) The right tools make it easier for you to hold on to quality staff
Staff retention is key to driving good recruitment. Bringing technology into your business will drive staff engagement in a number of ways:
- Bringing in technology that speeds up processes, removes unnecessary manual tasks and automates common workflows will free up time for many of your staff. Make them more productive and stress levels will reduce as they get more done and get to go home with less late nights.
- Think about improving collaboration and communication between teams – Slack is a great example of this. If it’s easier for everyone to talk and work together, it’s easier for them to engage with your business goals.
3) The right tools can also improve your customers’ experiences of working with you
Essentially everyone in a business should own the customer experience: it is the responsibility of everyone in the team, from marketing, to customer support to the IT manager.
If you consider how many touch points a client has within your business, each form of communication to this client speaks volumes:
- What happens when a client calls to speak to their accountant who is absent? The delay to an unanswered question leaves the customer feeling frustrated and dissatisfied. What if you could quickly search to find the file the client is querying or see the latest email communication between the client and the customer? Document sharing and automated filing makes this a reality.
- How would your clients feel if you were responding to them and sharing deadline-driven actions faster? As with the offer letter scenario above, relying on snail mail to keep essential workflow moving in the right direction is outdated and noncompetitive. Sharing documents (such as VAT receipts, year end returns) via a secure portal means you’re turning work around faster for clients and exceeding their expectations.
By making it easier for your clients to work with you, you can show the value that you add above and beyond your competitors. So even by focusing on the core services you offer to a client, you offer value without having to diversify/take away your core focus.
Ultimately, any business case for bringing new technology into your business will come down to P&L. How does technology do this? Aside from the immediate benefit of making your practice more efficient and productive, by showcasing your forward thinking credentials to the next generation (both potential employees, existing ones or clients), you are taking steps to future proof your business. This in turn gives them a reason to see you as a business that it’s worth building long-term relationships with, effectively reducing staff turnover and client attrition.