Realising the value of digital disruption
Compared to their peers in the professional services and FS industries, accountancy firms have been slow to react to the opportunities presented by digital disruption.
We say opportunities because instinctively, the word ‘disruption’ can cause firms to view disruption as yet just another challenge they have to overcome.
Viewed from at a different perspective however and it’s clear that for your firm, if approached in the right way, digital disruption could actually help you establish key differentiators that will help set you apart from your competitors.
Dealing with disruption
Recent regulatory changes such as GDPR, future initiatives such as 2019’s ‘Making Tax Digital’, and audit rotation are causing higher client churn rates. With this mind, it is clear to see why the accountancy industry might be feeling overwhelmed by an increasing number of external pressures.
Rather than worrying there’s too much to do however, your firm should embrace the fact that the right technology solutions, you will be able to exploit of opportunities that others might see as challenges. All of which helps your accountancy firm can take another steps towards becoming a digital leader.
The digital client journey
Digital accountancy disruption means a new client journey, and therefore, the requirement for a new type of digital accountancy.
Perhaps more importantly than any other area is the need for firms to acknowledge that the way that business leaders and HNWIs are engaging with their accountants is evolving.
In the same way retail customers conduct research into the latest lifestyle tech products by going online, browsing websites and reading the latest reviews, your potential clients are doing just the same when researching your firm.
Clients conduct substantial research before they ever reach-out to you via email or phone, meaning your marketing and communication efforts need to substantive, persuasive and easy to access.
This content also needs to be delivered in the format clients expect and delivered at the right time. Doing so goes a long way to helping influence their decision to choose you.
Finally, you need the tools in place so you can be sure that you can sufficiently tracking the client journey, whether it be on your website, through social media, via email or all of these combined. The greater your insight, the greater your ability to influence the client decision making process.
As your network grows and develops, the harder it becomes to unlock all of the intricate relationships that could provide you with opportunities to grow your business. These blind spots are common. And they mean missed opportunities.
The same rules apply to social media. Centralising the information exposed via social media is the most efficient way to access the insight you will need to improve client engagement and identify new prospects.
Short-term vision, minimal gain
Too often, when target deadlines loom, business development teams in accounting firms fall into the trap of knowing they can leverage existing practice management software to help extract revenue from existing clients.
Too often therefore, firms and their relationship managers are not focusing on the long-term benefits of developing new clients via enhanced insights provided by the latest digital platforms.
Ensuring your firm has the wherewithal to focus on longer term opportunities by planting the seeds of future growth via dedicated client relationship management platforms will undoubtedly help your firm increase revenue and reap the benefits of a longer-term strategy.
As your client’s profiles change, so should your firm’s ability to respond
Like all regulated bodies, the accountancy industry is subject to increasing regulatory and compliance issues. If ignored or managed incorrectly, the financial consequences can be substantial, both in terms of fines and loss of new business development opportunities.
The right digital platforms can help your firm ensure it is monitoring critical client data and effectively manage the risk inherent across the client portfolio. From initial on-boarding and throughout the client lifecycle, your firm needs to initiate strong data management and compliance protocols to meet modern reporting requirements, and ensure these stay updated to meet regulatory developments.
With the right CRM platform, your firm can take considerable steps to becoming a digital accountancy that will have the ability to automate client data collection and maintenance can lead to greater efficiency, reduced costs, and, importantly, more time for client-facing interactions and growing your firm.
Get to it…
The transition to becoming a digital accountancy is not something to fear. If you embrace it, the further you set yourself apart from your competitors, and the greater the growth opportunities you’ll uncover.