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Better Every Day: Think bigger about firm communications

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It’s become a tradition in the accounting profession to put off change as long as possible. But I think we can all agree that this tactic is no longer an option. In just a matter of days, we were hit fast and we were hit hard with change due to the coronavirus pandemic — forcing firm owners to implement massive operational changes on the fly.

My hope is that all firms were able to adapt quickly enough to keep staff working and clients calm. For most, this meant moving to a fully remote staff and upping their communications game to keep clients informed and well advised. I know from talking to several firm owners that the latter proved the most difficult.

If the current health and economic crisis has taught us anything, it’s that communication (both planned and on-demand) is at the heart of a strong operation. Just keeping up with the changing economic relief efforts has been a full-time job. Pile on having to develop clear and timely content to efficiently communicate, educate and advise business clients, and it proved a nearly impossible task for many.

What’s your communications strategy?

This is the year to think bigger — specifically in the area of communications. To accomplish this, I believe the formula is fairly simple. First, accounting professionals must start thinking beyond a basic website to a website that serves as a dynamic platform — one connected to a content management system. A CMS adds the power of pushing content to a firm’s website platform as needed. Second, we have to level up in the area of communications so we are never caught so off guard again.

Managing an effective communications strategy hinges on the power of your website to function as your communications hub. Static sites just won’t get the job done anymore. A more advanced website platform, however, offers the added power of a content management engine. It puts you in control of pushing content out and the quality of the content delivered.

Take a moment to consider a few more benefits of working within a website-plus-CMS platform:

  • Creates a “home base” for one-to-many communications — offering a dedicated, organized online space to drive clients to for timely, accurate information and updates.
  • Allows firms to execute a far more proactive communications program via social media while having a home base to send clients and prospects back to for more information.
  • Elevates your brand based on the ability to significantly improve the client experience via timely, valuable communications.

If we look no further than the COVID-19 crisis, this makes more sense than ever. And trust me, the firms that provided a dedicated COVID-19 page, complete with timely communications on economic relief acts, loan applications and tax updates, as well as informative collateral such as fact sheets and guides, are those that cemented client loyalty.

Imagine having had the ability to push out a guide for business clients that outlines current CARES Act loan criteria, bill updates as released by Congress, and personalized messages from your firm.

Now look forward, and imagine the ability to offer helpful content to clients throughout the year. This could come in the form of ebooks, short-form articles on current business trends, or helpful blog posts on everything from general firm announcements to tax law changes and tax payment reminders. When you start to view your website as a dynamic platform for communications, you will begin to see the exponential value.

Our new normal demands that we level up in the area of communications. It’s what our clients need from us … and what we must do to stay closely connected to them. Static websites don’t cut it anymore. Firms need to start planning a sound communications strategy and understand the necessity of having an advanced website platform to serve as a communications hub.

This is the year to think bigger.

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