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The accountancy sector is a prime example of a part of the UK economy that stands to truly benefit from technology, both current and emerging.
But tech won’t just make your day-to-day easier—with 88% of SMEs saying that an accountant who understands tech is important to them, it can be instrumental in winning new business.
In fact, with 66% agreeing with the statement, “I would pay more for an accountant who is tech-savvy”, the potential for increasing your profitability can’t be understated.
It’s safe to say that the time of the accountant-bookworm is done. (Or, at least, most clients probably want you to get with the times so you can better help them achieve their goals).
So, if you’re worried your accounting firm will be left behind the digital curve, here are some practical tips to getting ahead of it.
For many accountants, cloud accounting software like Xero is the core of their operations. It’s convenient and allows you to help more clients in less time.
As such, it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that the use of cloud accounting software among business owners has risen in recent years: 37% of SMEs had an accountant who increased their use of the software in the last 12 months.
This means that clients who are swapping accountants might now expect cloud accounting services as a minimum from you. After all, the vast majority of SMEs (87%) had an accountant who used cloud accounting software.
With younger business owners more likely to be the ones whose accountants had ramped up the use of cloud accounting, could the future generation in particular expect their accountant to use these applications as a given? (Hint: the answer’s “yes”).
Investing in cloud accounting software isn’t just something to appease clients—it’s going to improve pretty much everything you do. The more you automate processes and integrate your systems with other platforms, the more time you save for what’s really important to your firm – such as advisory services, which are growing in popularity.
Furthermore, your accounting and bookkeeping services will be vastly improved, which makes your advice more accurate and useful, too.
Technology can make it much easier to manage your firm and your client base, too—the secret is cloud-based practice management software.
With this sort of package, you can automate a range of the simplest tasks, again giving you time to focus on what matters most for your firm. From time tracking and workflows, to profitability tracking and billing, a practice management system can revolutionise the way your firm operates.
This offers accountants several benefits including remote access, improved efficiency and real-time access to practice wide KPIs & metrics.
Meanwhile, customer relationship management (CRM) software allows you to easily manage your clients and prospects, enabling you to centralise your contact database, track leads & opportunities and build up a 360° view of your clients.
As technology changes, you’ll find the way you communicate is changing, too. Traditionally, that meant emails, phone calls and office meetings for accountants.
However, it's becoming more and more common for business owners to communicate with their accountants via video call, instant messaging, and even social media.
There are also generational trends: the younger a client, the more likely they are to prefer a “modern” form of communication—one that’s enabled by tech. But don’t stray too far: 59% of SMEs said they preferred their accountant to contact them via email.
So, try striking a balance: find out your clients’ communication preferences and keep an open mind when it comes to flexing your way of working digitally.
You might just open the door for more and better business—without getting left behind…
CMap offers an integrated CRM and practice management platform for accountants that you can rely on. Contact us today to find out more.