With the rise of DIY tax software, clients expect more strategic advice from their accountants. Some people are predicting that the price of compliance services could plummet as much as 50% in the coming decade. So how can firms achieve growth in the face of changing client expectations? A recent survey and whitepaper looked at this question and asked firms to weigh in on what makes a good growth strategy. The top answers may not come as a surprise, but they have one thing in common. They can all be achieved through strategic use of technology.
Firms reported plans to improve the client experience, increase marketing and streamline processes to eliminate inefficiency and create more effective operations as the top three ways they planned to achieve projected growth.
Growth Strategy #1: Improve Client Experience
Client experience can be difficult to measure, because so many factors can affect it. One place to start is to look at how your firm communicates with its clients. Modern communication tools like your firm’s website and client portal are often your clients’ first stop when interacting with your firm. Shuffling papers back and forth between client and firm no longer provides a satisfactory client experience. In addition to the communication tools, review communication frequency. Don’t rely on a once a year tax engagement. Instead, proactively reach out throughout the year to maximize client satisfaction. Firms that can improve client experience will quickly find that existing clients are their best source for new client referrals.
Growth Strategy #2: Improve Overall Marketing Strategy
Many times, clients don’t know what type of services they need. While accountants traditionally have shied away from marketing, clients appreciate an advisor who can tell them what areas they need to work on or potential roadblocks to look for. Improving the overall marketing strategy will involve getting to know your clients better through client dashboards and using technology like predictive analytics to find niches and potential opportunities. Growing business with existing clients can be more profitable than attracting new clients, so any good marketing strategy will give this type of growth its deserved attention.
Growth Strategy #3: Eliminate Inefficiency
Eliminating inefficiency is a tried and true growth strategy. Firms that use automation to eliminate time consuming, redundant tasks find that they have more time for higher-value work. In the past, firms have automated the tax process with scan and fill software. However, the future of automation will bring integration and connectors so that data can flow automatically directly from the source. Standardizing workflows and improving collaboration are also good ways to eliminate inefficiency. A project management system can ensure that staff knows exactly what to work on next and smooths the gap between project steps can improve efficiency exponentially.
A new strategy to enable growth
Cloud technology is more than just hype; it’s driving growth in high-performing firms. To find out more about the benefits of the cloud, download our whitepaper, “Technology Hype or Reality? What firms really need to know to thrive in a world of change. Request your copy today: