4-minute read It’s not surprising for many accountants to start and end the day working on tax compliance and other tasks and still be unable to actually talk to clients. If you’re one of the many busy accountants, fielding calls from clients could be one of the things you do because you are buried with so much administrative work. This profession is known to demand long working hours from accountants. And it’s been a norm for too long that some may find it challenging to veer away from this practice. But with the changes in the accounting industry, like automation and the demand for more flexible working conditions, accountants (and firms) need to adapt to become more productive so they can add more value and improve client experience.
The Problem With ProductivityData show that accountants are spending too much time in low-impact tasks. They have become reactive, which means less value for clients. Their productivity has decreased and affected the value they provide for the firm. They work too many hours during the day but that doesn’t yield much because their time is not spent on tasks that actually generate income for the firm. This also leads to not having any work-life balance. Working long hours doesn’t really translate to productivity. In this case, Australian accountants are spending way too much time in low-impact tasks. We’ve found that answering calls and emails take up 56% of accountants’ time while they address client issues 50% of the time. Additional information show that meetings consume 25% of their working hours while reporting and calendar management take up 6% of their time.
Soft Skills Also MatterThe staggering amount of time spent on administrative tasks could present wasted opportunities for Australian accountants because they don’t get to spend time with clients. It’s never been more important for accountants to build strong relationships with clients, which can only happen if they spend time with them. Client-facing tasks are crucial for driving success to accounting firms. These are the foundations for building trust—an important aspect of generating income. “Research shows that the desirable qualities for accountants are trustworthiness, knowledge and qualifications, and these are the areas accountants perform best in,” said Peter Docherty, general manager at CPA Australia, said this in an article. Crunching numbers, as crucial as they are in the accounting profession, is not enough to maintain and improve client experience. Accountants need to also focus on things like marketing and communication to build deep, strong bonds with clients. Proactiveness can be more highly rated than technical skills in ensuring continuous business for firms. Client needs are changing and accountants need to keep up. Among the things customers want are soft skills, like being approachable and engaging. These can open more opportunities for more business.
Automate To Increase ProductivityOne of the productivity tips for accountants is automation. Automating processes can take care of compliance and free up accountants’ time. Technology can significantly reduce working hours for accountants. Automation will improve efficiency and provide quality output. While it still needs human assistance, when done correctly, automation can slash the time accountants spend in low-impact tasks. This leads to having more hours for business advisory. Accountants can now call clients to see if there are issues that need to be addressed. They will have more time to analyse financial data and formulate strategies for their clients. Automation can increase the amount of value-adding services accountants can offer clients.
Offshore To Maximise OpportunitiesOffshoring offers a viable solution in the problem with productivity for accountants. By taking away from burden of administrative tasks away from Australian accountants, firms will be able to maximise their onshore team’s skills. Transferring tax preparation, bookkeeping, and other administrative tasks to a remote offshore team will also increase firms’ income profit because it gets the job done (and more) while saving costs. More importantly, they can give their onshore accountants time to focus on the stuff that really bring in business. You can supercharge your firm by outsourcing the following roles.
ConclusionWhile it’s true that Australian accountants may lose opportunities to really connect with clients and, in the long run, drive more business, that’s because they are not being too productive due to time-consuming tasks. Offshoring low-impact tasks like bookkeeping, tax preparation, and administrative tasks will drastically slash accountants’ working hours, meaning they can have more time to focus on client-facing task. Focusing on improve soft skills and automating process can have a significant impact on an accountant’s productivity. Get the latest accounting industry updates in your inbox. Subscribe to The Ledger blog now. Or listen to our podcast series, The Offshore Accountant for first hand stories on offshoring journey.
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