[IMGCAP(1)]Since the economic crash some CPA firms have managed to double in size, increase their customer base and open new offices by utilizing data to understand their customers’ needs and adopting new technologies to create innovative offerings.
Congruently, we’ve seen a surge of new software to fill this need. The only question is which ones actually help grow your business? At the end of the day, technology shouldn’t be taking away from your time spent on clients; such choices should enrich those experiences so you can provide the highest value service your advice.
To stay competitive in this market, you have to differentiate yourself from competitors by leveraging new solutions to save time on remedial tasks so you can focus on consultation and new business. The right technology decisions can give you the ability to streamline your current processes, enhance your offerings and connect with potential clients on a new level.
Get Out of the Books and Into the Cloud
Right now, the biggest challenge accountants face with data collection is the sheer mass and diverse amount of it. Financial data comes in myriad formats with no universal method to aggregate, organize and report it all proving an overwhelming task for CPAs.
Fortunately, new cloud computing SaaS programs are tackling this issue by providing accountants with their own dashboards displaying customer needs, profitability, and product usage so they can better serve their clients. On the business side, this means visual reports that users can actually understand in a matter of seconds. This saves accountants hundreds of hours of time analyzing and presenting data, so they can get out of the books and spend valuable face time with clients.
These tools also encourage customer interaction by enabling them to compare industry averages and monitor credit lines to strengthen risk management. By adopting these technologies, accountants can provide valuable recommendations and increase retention levels.
Surprisingly there is no upfront cost for a number of these software solutions, so you can try these products for free and receive an outstanding ROI it’s a no brainer for any CPA looking to increase revenue.
Eliminate Risks and Ensure Security
As we move closer and closer to implementing technology into all levels of the accounting process, the need for security is vital to the overall success of a firm. Risk management solutions prevent those threats and provide customers with an extra layer of security. By investing in these programs, accountants have more control over managing capital and minimizing credit risks. We suggest using services that have world class data centers like Amazon or Microsoft that pass yearly external security audits. It’s imperative that CPAs implement these programs to protect their clients’ information, along with their reputation as a trusted financial advisor.
Start Your Social Media Presence
Social media is a powerful channel for strengthening customer relationships and gaining new ones. Rather than waiting on the phone for a national customer service representative, many customers are heading directly to their Facebook page to share their personal opinion. It’s essential for accountants to embrace this movement by creating company pages on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yelp, and even YouTube. By creating a prominent online presence, accountants are able to showcase their services in a variety of new multimedia formats. Below are the ways we suggest capitalizing on each specific social media space:
- LinkedIn = Use your company page to share recent blog posts, images and upcoming news with the B2B community
- Facebook = Connect with your clientele on a personal level, join groups and create events
- Twitter = Share brief updates and links with your clients, partners and peers
- Yelp = Monitor your current reviews and ensure you have a positive Yelp presence
- YouTube = Create videos to showcase some of your highest value services
These platforms also allow CPAs to learn more about their clients’ customer base, so they can provide the best possible offerings according to their needs and seasonal changes. Through social media efforts, enhanced security and cloud computing accountants can now build their business not just within their community, but from all over the world.
James Walter is the CEO and co-founder of Seattle-based Finagraph (formerly known as BBC Easy), a provider of best-in-class automated financial intelligence tools and data verification to financial institutions and accounting firms.