Across every state within the US, there are more than 46 thousand certified public accountants (CPA) and even more bookkeepers. It is an industry that touches every facet of the economy.
Domestically, the accounting industry is estimated to have generated $110 billion US dollars in 2020 alone.
In late October, Accounting Today Magazine surveyed 170 firms from across the country. They were asked what key challenges they faced in this new world of digitization and how the global pandemic has affected their business.
Firms cited “keeping up with technology” as one of the major challenges facing their business. A challenge that, depending on how it is addressed, has the potential to drive further growth and greater productivity or, if neglected, negatively impact business.
Staying up to date with technology also includes the technology their clients are using and how they communicate. Communication technology is usually a lower priority for firms transitioning to cloud software but it shouldn’t be.
The good news is that 41% of small accounting firms plan on greatly increasing their investment in technology infrastructure. The trend continues with 38% of medium-sized and 60% of large firms also planning to increase their spending. As they adopt new technology, there are five principles to keep in mind when moving to a digital communications tool that can significantly help your firm succeed in this new digital chapter.
The five principles of effective digital communications
The following five principles provide a roadmap to creating an effective communications strategy.
Know your customer:
Most databases use basic customer profiles and are often limited to information from their account details (name, address, phone number, etc). The information is often either arbitrary or negative.
Comprehensive overviews which include preferred communications channels, previous workflow interactions, and smart tags open the potential for radically improved personalization and insights into each client.
By creating comprehensive client profiles, accountants and bookkeeping firms can pre-empt customer queries and issues and market new product offers saving time and growing revenue.
Compliance terms and government-mandated guidelines are legally required to be shared with new and existing customers. If the only channel of communication with a client is email and the client’s email has changed, they could miss out on critical information. This is a communications challenge that many professional services operators continue to face.
Understand your value and broadcast it:
What sets your services apart from your competition? Why should a prospect choose your firm over a competitor? Reflecting on these elements will aid in discovering not only how you can establish your value proposition, but also how to communicate it.
This could include possessing unique expertise in a specific area of accounting/bookkeeping, providing higher-value strategic services or offering the convenience of flexible operating hours or proximity.
You can appeal to and engage with both existing customers and prospective new clients by marketing your unique value proposition.
Discover your channels:
The channels of digital communication are vast and ever-growing. Baby boomers are increasingly becoming the primary demographic using Facebook. Generation X is exceedingly the highest advocate of email and millennials and the emerging Generation Z are taking up new digital means such as voice search (Siri and Alexa).To know your audience is to know how to reach them.
Create your follow-up process:
Follow-up and re-engagement communications are key to increasing the chance of returning business. And accountants and Bookkeepers stand to gain from this knowledge.
The challenge is creating an automated yet personalized communications journey where each contact is addressed by name and segmented based on their interactions with your firm.
Gain feedback and enhance your service:
Asking clients how their customer experience was, post-interaction, is one of the key tactics to strengthening your relationship with them and personalizing your service.
Using digital communications, you can intelligently intertwine client feedback and expectations with your value offering into a centralized communications journey to target, nurture and convert new prospective clients and upgrade the services you provide to existing clients.
The all-in-one digital solution
The Whispir platform can help you achieve all five principles.
Our multi-channel communications platform empowers accountants and bookkeepers to easily connect and engage customers with our all-in-one solution. It requires little to no excessive development time, coding knowledge, or the need to jump between multiple platforms.
A single platform to manage all communications.
Easy-to-build automation/workflows with personalized messages and responses, to engage clients/prospects and propel them along the buyer journey.
The ability to maximize revenue by sending scheduled reminders to clients/prospects to attend their appointment or utilize a promotion.
Send out automated reminders for appointments and consultations, collect approval in real-time for action points within your processes, and establish a constant connection to nurture and retain clients.