Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more interactions than ever are taking place digitally. From the cloud to automation, Ford Baker, CPA, explains how to make the most of the technology at your fingertips to ensure an even better client experience.
Expectations and ways of working with clients have changed thanks to the pandemic. There are so many digital platforms that are being used to engage with people, send data, perform tasks and communicate with clients. Now, we’re focusing on a digital client experience where CPAs are having to adapt and learn new things to serve their clients adequately. Let’s look at how you as an accountant can adapt to this ever-changing environment. Here are strategies to help you succeed in the “new normal.”
1. Take Advantage of Delivery-Related Technology
Staying connected with clients is an important part of client retention. You should utilize the resources you have in this digital world to make paperwork processes easier for you and your client. With online conferencing and e-signature tools, delivering paperwork to your clients is easier than ever. Receiving the paperwork is faster as well. As time goes on, more interactive methods of delivery will surface, but document sharing is the best thing you can do as of right now for you and your clients.
2. Cloud Adoption
For years now, we’ve seen the use of cloud-based solutions for many things. You can store everything from your phone in the cloud, OneDrive is a cloud-based solution, and so is Google Drive. Utilizing cloud-based solutions is the only way for your clients to work in a flexible manner in this time. You should consider adopting a cloud-based solution for yourself and your clients so that you can work together even when you’re apart. This is a safe way to store data while also having a centralized location for all that you will need. Cloud-based solutions for both accounting and data transmitting are vital in ensuring that you are having a more seemless relationship with your clients.
3. Connecting Clients’ Data
CPAs will use several softwares each day for their clients. That is a lot of information to keep track of. That’s why connecting your clients’ data is crucial to navigating this digital experience. If you’re struggling to get a handle on your data, this makes it difficult for you to work with clients. You’re constantly disorganized and using their time to find what you need to work through your meetings. By synchronizing your firm’s data, you can ensure everything you need is there when you’re working with your clients. Our technology allows us to sync our clients’ data every night, so we never miss a beat of what they’re doing. We stay on top of their financials allowing us to continue working efficiently. Consolidating data can help you run a more organized firm which helps you focus on your clients.
Automation reduces human error and accelerates time-to-value. First, you should start with tasks that can be easily automated, then work up from there. You can improve your workflow just by changing the small things because you don’t have to focus on the mundane tasks anymore. Next, you can do a cost-benefit analysis to see if the automation of your small tasks has improved your workflow. Success of this leads to further automation and an even better workflow. Look into how you can automate portions of your workflow to better the work you do for your clients.
The “new normal” has shifted the way we work. Adapting to this can be difficult for any CPA out there. Hopefully, these strategies for digital experience will help you change your workflow so you can focus on your clients and help them adapt to this “new normal” as well.
Ford Baker is a 1986 graduate of Texas A&M University with a degree in accounting before beginning his career in Public Accounting. He earned his CPA and has over 30 years of experience, first in audit, and then changing to tax before he founded The BaCo Group, PLLC, over 20 years ago. After a realization that his personal life was out of...