Guest blog by, Ian Cooper, Digita Business Development Manager
Mobile devices, the cloud and social media have created huge behavioural changes in consumers and has led to a change in their expectations. There is no question that easy to use solutions such as Amazon® same-day delivery, Apple Pay and Uber are helping the constantly connected consumer get what they want when they want it. Consumers are now socially-oriented, design-conscious and impatient. These consumer behaviours describe our clients, prospective clients and they also describe us. All of us have helped change the demands of services in a very short amount of time, ask yourselves that as accountants, are you keeping pace?
First impressions last, if the perception you’re giving off is that your firm isn’t moving forward (practices that were used 5 – 6 years ago can now look ancient to consumers today), clients and prospects may question whether your firm can deliver the service they expect and require.
This leads to considerable opportunities for firms who embrace strategies to surpass today’s consumer expectations, especially when it comes to technology & client experience. As everything is so fast paced, your clients will often need more than just end of year accounts. They want advice to help drive their business forward. Online communities mean people are far more willing to ask for advice than they were 10 years ago, this is now becoming engrained in the psyche.
How will accountants meet this demand? The answer lies in embracing client experience and technology. The better the service and faster the service you offer, the more you’ll be turned to when your clients need answers. Embrace the cloud, offer mobile services, engage in social networks and take advantage of the latest technology.
Use technology to exchange documents, access software and send through essential information through a personal portal. All of this can be accessed via a secure portal on your website or your clients smart phone. With the use of APPS, your clients can be alerted as soon as anything changes that could affect their business. You can ask for information with the click of a button. Clients now expect this type of service, they receive this every day, from their bank, their dentist, the doctor.
Make services simple, such as e-filing. With a user friendly interface a client can approve their SA100 from their mobile device. They can even take phoos of dividend vouchers, P45 etc and upload these via a portal, so in the same way your clients are demanding for queries to be dealt with when they need them dealt with, so can you. All of this additional functionality will help make your firm more appealing vs the competition.
Not only do your clients and prospects have a different mindset than those 5 years ago, your staff do to. The millennials are coming, they’ve been bought up working socially, asking questions and receiving answers. If they have an environment where they can ask and share, coupled with modern ways of working then you’ll keep them engaged.
Staying relevant in the accounting profession is a continuous process. Make sure you’re flexible enough to offer your clients services in a way that they’re familiar with and align with current consumer use of technology. If you can exceed client expectations you’ve built a great foundation, once you have this you’ll see increased productivity, efficiency and ultimately profit for years to come.
This page can be viewed at https://www.digita.com/pro/blog/index.php/is-consumer-use-of-technology-overtaking-their-accountants/
Copyright © Thomson Reuters, 2017