On Monday morning, Wolters Kluwer began their 2016 CCH Connections User Conference in Washington, D.C. with a keynote address from Jason Marx, CEO of Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting North America. Marx presented important details from the 2016 Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting survey and white paper, Game Plan for the Future: Are You and Your Clients in Sync? 

The independent, nationwide survey, was conducted in August by the Aberdeen Group, surveying professionals from 331 tax/accounting firms and 358 clients of firms concerning client service.

“This year’s survey provides a stark reality in that, at any given time, nearly one third of a firm’s clients could walk out the door," said Marx. "This indicates a critical need for firms to analyze how they are doing business today and where they need to improve to meet clients’ expectations."

The survey found that firms with satisfied clients expect an average 7% improvement in revenue over the upcoming year, while firms with unhappy clients predict their revenues to decrease by 11% in 12 months. The survey also found that firms who invest in integrated end-to-end solutions see higher satisfaction ratings (81%) against firms that do not (66%).

The white paper offers some solutions to reduce the risk of losing clients, including:

  • Focusing on the basics. The survey found that the top attribute clients use for choosing a firm is their knowledge of tax and accounting regulations. 44% of clients said that knowledge of regulations is one of the top factors in their relationship with firms, while only 22% of firms said the same.
  • Using tech to support client service. 37% of clients said timeliness and quality of services were also important in selecting a firm, yet less than half of surveyed firms said that they have the staff to meet client needs. Successful firms with very satisfied clients utilize tech to streamline their work, using resources such as cloud-based software to free up firm resources.
  • Bolster communication with clients. 35% of surveyed clients said poor communications was a major factor in seeking another firm. On the other hand, 75% of satisfied clients expect their firm to respond to queries within 24 hours.
  • Add higher-value services. 76 percent of clients using four or more services from their tax/accounting firm reported being satisfied, as opposed to only 50% of those using fewer than four. At the same time, clients who use four or more services are twice as likely to believe a firm can provide significant impact to the overall success of a business. 

“By focusing on the trends and relationship expectations cited in this survey – including better communications, strengthening and promoting a firm’s technical expertise and industry knowledge, and leveraging the latest technology to help automate workflows and ease the burden on staff – firms can focus on developing proactive strategies to improve their service, maintain stronger client relationships and recognize an increase in their bottom line," added Marx. 

For the full white paper, head to Wolters Kluwer's site here.