To satisfy regulatory demands, accountants are forced to focus on delivering compliance work, which is, oftentimes, time-consuming. Low value compliance results in increased volumes of unrewarding work that keeps accountants from doing what they should: provide financial advice.
In this ever-changing landscape, accountants need to free up resources to add value to clients. They need to evolve from concentrating on low chargeable compliance work to high value business management services to remain relevant and stay in business.
Here are three tips on how to add more value to your clients:
Communicate With Your Clients As Much As Possible
As author and industry expert, Rob Nixon, puts it, “communicate until it hurts.” By increasing the level of communication with the client you will be able to improve the kind of relationship you have.
Improved client relationships make it possible to increase the level of fee for each client, which also helps increase the referral rate.
Schedule regular meetings with your client. Your relationship with the client is no different than any other relationship in the sense that it requires effective communication.
Effective communication is constant. It’s open to feedback and produces results.
When meeting clients, you get the opportunity to assess the financial situation, identify red flags and come up with solutions. Regular meetings make sure that nothing falls through the cracks, which can be costly when tax season comes.
- To learn more about improving client experience, accountants need to understand their changing expectations. Read more about it here.
- Topnotch communication skills are among the qualities good accountants need. Read more about it here.
- For accounting firms, here are tips on establishing effective communication.
More than talking to your clients over web conferencing tools, personal visits can add more value to the services you offer.
Clients appreciate accountants coming to their place of business simply because it’s a strong indicator of the accountant’s commitment. Failure to do so can mean missed opportunities to add value. There are massive opportunities to create new businesses from existing clients when you personally visit clients.
When meeting clients, accountants are able to:
- Have a clear understanding of the current financial situation
- Understand the client’s short and long term objectives
- Get to know your client more
- Find more opportunities to get more business
Clients expect accountants to be proactive.
Because accountants don’t get to talk to their clients as often as needed, it has become difficult to become a trusted advisor. Proactively communicating with clients will make you a real time accountant.
The Outsourced Accountant CEO, Nick Sinclair, recognises the importance of picking up the phone and talking to clients for the sole reason of checking up on them. Unfortunately, not many accountants talk to their clients to see how they are doing.
You are not going to chase up work. You’re simply ringing to say “hi” and ask how everything is going.
Important note: do not charge clients for communication
One of the important tips shared by Rob Nixon when it comes to adding value to clients is to not charge clients for communication.
Doing so would not contribute to improving client relationships. If you start charging clients, they will only call you when they need to, and when they do, they are going to try and make the calls as quick as possible.
The fear of being charged will keep them from being open to you about business matters. This will become a wasted opportunity for identifying opportunities for improvements.
Retain Clients By Protecting Their Trust
Changes in the accounting industry, more specifically technology, have made it easier for clients to change accountants. If you’re not doing your part, nothing will stop clients from going with another accountant who’s doing a far better job at servicing their needs.
Accountants retain clients as a result of satisfying several factors like great service, strong client relationships and value for money. But there’s another factor that plays in retaining clients: financial intimacy.
Clients put a lot of trust in their accountants. They entrust us with private information, which they probably only share with their spouses. That trust is what makes them stay. They trust that you will not share their confidential information with others and, of course, provide the kind of service they deserve.
- Retaining clients doesn’t have to be too complicated. Learn more about it here.
- Use these productivity tips to improve client experience.
Keeping watch on your clients
To provide the best service possible, accountants need to be on top of everything. Keeping watch on clients means being in control of all aspects of their business. Accountants need to know every movement in sales, inventory and other critical data. This is possible with the help of accounting automating systems.
Technology has made possible real-time updates so accountants can have access to data whenever they want it. Cloud accounting systems will consolidate data and streamline and automate the entire process.
- Cloud computing can supercharge your firm. Learn more about it here.
- Discover how cloud computing can benefit your accounting practice in this article.
Always Go The Extra Mile
Going beyond what’s expected is a sign that you genuinely care about your clients. That, in itself, is adding value to the services you offer. The following will help you bring the WOW every single time:
- Conduct an annual performance review
- Brainstorm with your client to discover opportunities to improve certain aspects of the business
- Utilise social media and create a networking group where you can connect with clients
- Offer free regular phone calls and meetings throughout the year
- Personally visit your clients
- Devise a way to obtain feedback from your clients
Accountants can also find other ways to deliver better services. These can be little things that have a strong impact on the client’s perception of you.
For dedicated accountants, adding value to clients should come naturally. It’s that desire to help clients succeed that will empower financial advisors to continuously offer value-for-money services. Again, here are some ways to do that.
- Communicate with your clients on a regular basis through phone calls or video conferencing tools
- Schedule regular visits to your client’s place of business to discuss important matters and build a relationship
- Be proactive in communicating with clients
- Protect your client’s trust to retain their business
- Improving client experience is a step to retaining them
- Strive to deliver the WOW in everything you do to exceed client’s expectations
If you are an accountant, bookkeeper or finance firm looking for solutions to capacity restraints, call our offshoring specialists at 1300 896 522 or click here to download our blueprint on how to build a global accounting team.