Most accountants know that it’s good for the firm if they can convince a client to use more of the firm’s services. These value-added services don’t just make the firm more money. They also make clients more satisfied. According to a recent Aberdeen Group survey, reported in our Game Plan for the Future whitepaper, 76% of clients that use 4 or more services are somewhat or extremely satisfied with their firm. Clients that use fewer services are less satisfied.
In addition when we looked at which firms offer higher-value services to their clients, it was clear that firms with integrated solutions were more likely to offer these valuable, unique services. So, which value-added services should you offer? Here are some ideas:
The reason tax compliance isn’t really a growth area for most firms is that clients want more from their accountants. Instead of just dropping off a shoebox full of papers once a year, clients want a partner who will advise them and help them manage their finances throughout the year.
Clients expect responsiveness. But your staff isn’t always waiting by their email ready to help clients at all hours of the day. Offering self-service portals gives clients the opportunity to find the information they need when they need it. That includes late-night and weekend requests.
Getting clients to provide the information you need in a timely manner can be a challenge. It can, of course, be inconvenient for the client and cause delays in the engagement. Even worse, it can create friction in the client/accountant relationship. If you can offer data integrations that let your systems get data directly from your clients’ systems, you’ll alleviate a big headache.
Accountants aren’t necessarily IT experts, but many firms have developed a software support niche to help their clients. How a business’s ERP or bookkeeping system is set up can greatly affect your firm’s ability to provide financial advice. If you can help them get their technology infrastructure in order, they will thank you. And it will make your other engagements easier as well.
Providing value-added services is difficult when your staff is pre-occupied with data entry. That’s why zero-entry processing can be a great value add for your client relationships. After all, your clients don’t want to pay you to enter data into a computer. They are paying you for your expertise. Automate the lower-value work so you can give your clients their money’s worth.
Are your firm’s service offerings meeting your clients’ expectations? Download the “Game Plan for the Future” whitepaper to find out.