Customers demand more, but do not want to pay more for basic services. At the same time, software robots already post the accounts in many companies. As an accounting firm, you need to provide new services to make up for lost revenue and find ways to serve the customers in a more efficient manner. The development of new services is not easy, and the sale of new services will not come by itself. How will the accounting firm of the future answer these challenges?
What the research says
In a recent study, experts in the accounting industry were asked to state which three words best describe the accounting firm of the future. They were: expert, customer-oriented and automated. Normally, accountants are good experts – otherwise they are quickly without a job. But what does customer-oriented and automated mean in a rapidly digitalizing world where customers are more price-conscious and expect more value for their money and accountancy tailored to their needs?
Customer-oriented accounting firms
Great service means exceeding the expectations of your customer. These expectations are:
- Accuracy – doing what you promise to do, correctly
- Availability – answering quickly, in the channel your customer is using
- Understand – know the customer and their situation
- Advice – the customers trust you to tell them what they should do
In other words, in addition to doing your job (#1) you have to offer your customers help immediately when they ask for it (#2), know your customers very well (#3) and give them advice, preferably before they need it (#4). Does that sound impossible?
Automation to the rescue
You can never meet the expectations of all your customers without tools to support you. You simply don’t have enough time to talk to all your customers all the time. But if you can automate at least some parts of your customer service, you will be a step ahead! Here are some thoughts on how to do it:
If your customer knows what you are doing and when you are doing it, they will feel that you are doing a great job. If they can’t see what you are taking care of, they will think you are doing nothing. By doing a yearly plan with your customer, you sidestep this problem. Your customer can see what is happening and that you are doing your job. And when you have all customer administrative info in one place, you can do your work quicker and get it right directly.
It is impossible to be personally available all the time. But by providing pre-made task lists, the customers can help themselves. By setting reminders, especially on recurring tasks, you can give the illusion that you are online all the time.
Understanding the customer is a lot easier if you collect all your communication together, especially if the communication and the task being done are grouped together. Having the customers’ info available helps you to know them and their needs.
You have the expertise to help your customer, but the problem is that you don’t know when the customer needs your help. And they might not even know that themselves! Setting a yearly plan is part of the solution, but offering advice exactly when it’s needed might require the help of a tireless system that constantly monitors your customer and proactively suggests new ideas and offers your help on your behalf.
Ideally, you would automate your customer management completely. Then you would get a complete view of your customers’ situation, your communication with them and their needs.
The way forward
We have built Kuveno to help you take your accounting company into the future. This video contains a short summary of some of the things we can help you with. And we are always available for a chat!