I think that technology is ‘dumbing down’ the value of the Accountant. Before technology Accountants had to think about the client’s situation more and communicate (with spoken words) more than they do now. These days the Accountant just needs to know which keys to hit in which order on the keyboard.
It seems Accountants would rather ‘rip off an email’ and think their job is done rather than give the client a call. It seems Accountants would rather send work via email or courier rather than present the work to the client. I think most of the value created is in the conversation and the presentation.
Take a look at what the 428 business owners told us when it comes to annual accounts. Over half (52%) said they got their year-end work either emailed, posted or couriered to them for signing.
This is disgraceful. Most of the profession’s revenue is in compliance right now. This is your primary product and you email it to your clients for signing! Save me please. No wonder clients do not value compliance! You don’t value it. You downplay the value of it by emailing it. I (and your clients) have 2 primary questions when it comes to our year end financials.
- How much tax do I have to pay and why?
- Where did the money go?
How will I know those answers if you email me your primary product? I do also wonder what happens in the face-to-face (45% of occasions) meetings. I bet they are not structured nor do they offer a huge amount of value.
Stop sending your primary product for signing via courier post or email. You are wasting an opportunity to add value, ask questions and maybe find another project.
Make sure when you do meet with your client to present the year end accounts that you actually explain what they mean. Make sure you do a 3-year historical ‘Business Performance Review’ at least once per year to add value to the history. Make sure that you ask (in this meeting) what their goals are and then you can start to match services that help them achieve their goals.
Technology can certainly make our lives easier and more efficient. Technology should enhance a client experience not diminish it.
Without a doubt the no. 1 technology thing that you can do in your firm is to suggest/encourage/cajole/insist your clients move to a cloud accounting product. Although there are issues associated with cloud accounting I think it is the most important thing you can do with your clients. The issues are only issues if you do nothing about the efficiency gains you get from using cloud based accounting.
With your clients on a desktop product you have redundant data. With your clients on cloud accounting you can be so much more real time. You can add value now, not later. You can get a heartbeat of your clients every day. You can make a massive difference to their financial condition. You can take the ‘financial intimacy’ up a number of levels.
Many firms are insisting that 100% of their clients move across to a cloud based accounting system. It just makes sense to do so. The vast majority of firms will have 2-3 products in their client base. Most Accountants will not align themselves with just one provider. I think that is the right thing to do. You match the product to the clients’ needs.
There are many firms who are going further than just promoting a cloud based accounting system. The ultimate solution at the client’s site is where every aspect of the technology ‘talks’ to each other. The accounting data is integrated with the customer data. The accounting and customer data is integrated with the inventory control data and all that integrates with the distribution system. So the entire supply chain is covered. All of that data is consolidated into daily ‘dashboards’ so the business owners can see what is going on in every aspect of their business. This sort of technology used to cost millions of dollars to buy and implement. Because of the massive development in cloud computing you can get it for a few hundred dollars per month.
The right technology can give the business owner better data to make better management decisions. You can be at the center of all the technology by recommending systems which will help.
You are the expert in financial coaching. With better data you can be a better financial coach. With the right technology and the right data you truly can become the Real Time Accountant. You can download the entire report on what 428 business owners want from their Accountant my clicking here.