Successful firms support client retention through great client service. Undoubtedly, good client collaboration processes and tools increase service satisfaction. Krystle Conrad is Audit Coordinator for Smith Marion and Co. Recently, she shared tips for delivering great client service. Listen to the Audit Talks podcast for all of her tips.
Tip 1: Adopt the right tools for client service
One secret to great client service is effective collaboration. As such, the firm uses Zoom conferencing to discuss deliverables with clients. Further, the team uses Engagement Organizer to gather complete client documentation for their audits. Finally, CCH Axcess™ Document stores client QuickBooks data in the cloud.
Engagement Organizer is a cloud-based tool within CCH® ProSystem fx®Engagement. In fact, it replaced the PBC list the firm used to send clients. Clients can see exactly what they still need to produce for the audit. As a result of its ease of use, Conrad said clients love Engagement Organizer. What’s more, they now upload documents themselves.
Tip 2: Get and stay organized
The audit department makes heavy use of several favorite features in Engagement Organizer. First, clients receive email reminders about items that are due. Second, when clients submit documents, administrators can send them straight to Engagement Organizer. The auditors have labelled sections to match the Engagement binders. So, it is easy for Conrad to know where to send each file. Additionally, auditors accept or reject the documentation with one button. After auditors accept the files complete, clients will no longer receive reminders.
Sometimes clients upload the wrong items. Or, they may upload the right files but to the incorrect place. In this case, the auditor rejects it and adds an explanatory note.
Tip 3: Create an easier client experience
Engagement Organizer makes it easier for clients to collaborate with auditors. For one thing, clients prefer not to be interrupted repeatedly with data requests. Instead, clients can gather all of the information, scan it, and upload it. Because information is centralized, clients and auditors easily stay on the same page. Automated reminders provide a gentler approach than urgent calls to clients about missed due dates.
Additionally, the firm can assign different due dates for various items on the list. Thus, clients can turn in items that are needed for audit planning earlier. Also, they can get a little more time on items that won’t be needed until later.
Tip 4: Reduce the cost of collaboration
The firm doesn’t need to repeatedly nag clients to obtain PBC items. Further, auditors don’t have to telephone clients, because Conrad follows up based on status. So, auditors can focus exclusively on audit work. As a result, there’s less firm labor cost involved in the pre-audit stage of the engagement.
Furthermore, clients can also request to have their administrative team added to Engagement Organizer. In this way, their financial executives spend less time producing audit documents. Clients can also divvy up audit tasks across their staff and work together.
Finally, the notes feature in Engagement Organizer enables clients to ask questions. If they are unsure what is needed, they can leave a note. The audit team can reply with additional instruction or clarification—no meeting required.
Tip 5: Deliver virtual client service
With COVID-19, the ability to audit remotely has never been more important. Therefore, Engagement Organizer helps Smith Marion and Co. perform more audit tasks virtually.
The firm uploads sample selection requests to Engagement Organizer. Specifically, they have an auditor upload section near the top of the organizer. Chiefly, the selection requests detail what samples auditors need for testing. Clients can provide sample data and work with the auditor via Zoom calls. Whereas most auditing used to occur onsite, now auditors may only visit during very detailed testing.
Any process that becomes virtual must also be safe and secure. Engagement Organizer ensures security in two ways. First, files clients upload automatically get encrypted for privacy. Second, the tool is built with all of the security measures Wolters Kluwer includes in its accounting solutions. Thus, files uploaded with Engagement Organizer enjoy much greater security than those sent across email.
Every CPA firm has its own special way of delivering great client service. But these five tips provide ideas to improve organization, lower costs, and increase service.
Listen to the podcast for more insights from Krystle Conrad. Or review more information about CCH ProSystem fx Engagement with Engagement Organizer.