Client Relation(shifts) Help Sustain Growth

In firms of all sizes, the client experience is a critical issue.  Equally critical is figuring out how to optimize that experience – while achieving realizations that will fuel your bottom line and growth. Particularly, for sustainable growth, improvement to the client experience requires intentional <shifts> in your client relationships this busy season.

Want a client relation<shift>?

To start, it is important to realize that firms must be intentional in how they address this client experience issue. Therefore, take time to think through your answers to these questions.

  • How do you improve your client collaboration?
  • What do you do to ensure your clients are ready for their audit?
  • How do you help communicate key audit issues?
  • What value can you provide beyond the audit?

If you have clear answers to these questions, then your firm is actively making the <shift> we are discussing. That means you are most likely on the path to being a trusted advisor for your clients. Additionally, you are adding value during the audit and throughout the year.

On the other hand, if you don’t have clear answers to those questions, then you have some work to do.

Tips to improved client experience

To illustrate, here are several ways you can intentionally improve the overall client experience:

  • Ensure clients know what is expected of them, and by when
  • Include ‘client service’ as part of the training curriculum
  • Deepen the understanding of the client
  • Identify actionable insights from the audit
  • Use KPIs to identify new service offerings beyond the audit

With that said, a big question remains:

“How do I achieve this, while remaining profitable at the same time?”

Largely, the answer is to ensure that you use technology and the latest innovations to help enable you.  For instance, focusing only on one area, you can improve client readiness with a cloud-based PBC (Prepared-By-Client) list.

PBC list – traditional

For the last several years, a PBC list has traditionally been an “audit” shopping list given to the client at the beginning of the engagement. Typically, it has simply been a static Word or Excel document that was copied from the previous year.  Again typically, the auditor has to chase down items throughout the engagement, often requesting additional information verbally or via email.  Notably, the client then sends the requested information through a variety of means – like email, portal, USB, or hard copies.  Not surprisingly, there are many problems with this approach. Specifically, inefficiencies cascade and multiply when you are juggling multiple engagements throughout busy season.  Moreover, those inefficiencies often have a negative impact on the client experience, resulting in spinning heads and frustration! However, this scenario is a perfect example to show where technology is available to help.

PBC list – reinvented

Put simply, technology that will transform the client experience, help the auditor be more effective, and ultimately drive higher realizations exists. It is the Engagement Organizer feature within CCH ProSystem fx Engagement. This cloud-based organizer technology is available to all CCH Axcess Portal subscribers.  Here is how it works:

  1. Launch the Engagement Organizer from the audit binder
    1. A browser will open with a default request list with the client contact information already populated
  2. Customize the request list as needed, or even replace it from a similar client
  3. Attach any documents for the client to complete
  4. Assign a due date
  5. Send the organizer to the client
  6. The client will receive an email and can launch the cloud based request list
  7. The client will simply attach the request items and make any necessary comments for the auditor
  8. Both the client and the auditor will see the pending items with various visual indicators
  9. The auditor can then insert the documents into Engagement, either one at a time, or all of them at once

As a result, a live copy of the request list is visible to both the audit team and the client. Thus, there is no ambiguity on when items are required and what is remaining.  To add, Engagement Organizer also streamlines how the auditor obtains documents from the client. That process eliminates any duplicate requests or changing down documents from various places.

Recently enhanced, Engagement Organizer now supports multiple documents per line item. Additionally, very shortly, you will be able to assign to multiple people at the client.  Stay tuned for that and more exciting enhancements!

Conclusion

In short, ensuring a positive client experience is critical for a firm to ensure growth. Consequently, it is important to have a strong strategy to shape the client experience.

For this reason, many firms have recently started measuring key performance indicators to track how they are doing. If you, too, are measuring your success – and would like to share insights – please reach out to cathy.rowe@wolterskluwer.com.  We at Wolters Kluwer want to understand these experiences to determine how our technology can help support your firm.

Meanwhile, learn more about Engagement Organizer by visiting our website. Also complete the form below and an account representative will contact you to discuss how Wolters Kluwer can help solve your firm’s needs.

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AUTHOR

Cathy Rowe

All stories by: Cathy Rowe