How a Modern Engagement Solution Makes Accounting Firms More Competitive
By Mike Martin
Technology is transforming the audit and assurance industry. Accounting practices need to streamline and optimize their workflows if they want to retain their clients, grow their businesses and keep up with their competitors.
Caseware’s 2022 State of Accounting Firms Trends Report, which surveyed more than 3,000 accounting professionals from across the globe, found the majority of respondents (57 percent) did not feel their overall client engagement process was as efficient as they would like it to be. Upgrading your technology so you can receive information from clients quickly and collaborate closely with them is key to building customer loyalty. And automating some functions such as financial statements and engagement letters can boost your staff efficiency.
Technology investment is also important in attracting and retaining talented accountants. Caseware’s report revealed 94 percent of those surveyed described retaining talent as “challenging,” with 42 percent saying it was “extremely challenging.” Deploying technology solutions that allow your team to work efficiently from any location and collaborate effectively with clients makes their work easier and improves their job satisfaction.
Boost accounting efficiency with cloud
Secure, cloud-based solutions with intelligent tools that improve collaboration and workflow and simplify engagements are an ideal solution for accounting practices seeking to become more efficient and competitive.
“They let you work smarter by offering a range of features that save you time, give you more accurate information and allow you to offer better advice to your clients,” says Monie Grewal, a product manager with Caseware.
For instance, a cloud-based platform makes it simpler for accountants to work with their teams and clients no matter where they’re based. This is particularly important in today’s hybrid work environment, with many employees splitting their work week between the office and home.
COVID-19 lockdowns have ended, but many employees still want to work remotely, at least part of the time. Caseware’s 2022 Trends Report found 82 percent of respondents were working in a hybrid work environment.
In the cloud, all your files are stored in one central location, making it simple for authorized employees and clients to access them from anywhere. You don’t need to worry about version control, because everyone can work off the same central file and see revisions made by their collaborators as they happen. And clients can sign engagement and reference letters with an e-signature, speeding up your work.
The cloud can also enhance the security of your data. Major cloud providers offer the same levels of security as major banks and financial institutions.
Improve engagement quality
Tracking files across multiple engagements is a major challenge for accounting firms. Without a consolidated view of all your engagements, it’s easy to lose track of deadlines or to spot issues that need to be addressed. A modern engagement solution lets you see all the engagements across your practice at a glance, allowing you to meet deadlines, address potential problems and improve engagement quality.
It can also improve your methodology by incorporating templates and procedures that have been approved by professional accounting organizations, helping you conduct more consistent, higher-quality engagements that meet all industry standards.
Another challenge for firms is document generation. Manually completing financial statements, reports and letters chews up valuable time that could be better spent analyzing data and making recommendations to your clients. Modern engagement solutions can automatically generate documents, freeing your team up for higher-value tasks. They also include integrated analytics tools, which can perform menial tasks like journal entry testing, saving you more time and improving your accuracy by allowing you to analyze complete data sets.
Deliver a superior client experience
Using an intelligent, cloud-based solution to centralize your engagements will save you time, reduce errors and ensure your work complies with industry standards. You’ll be better able to stay on top of all your engagements and get full visibility into staff workloads.
You’ll have the digital tools you need to retain staff and attract new talent. Built-in automation and standardized processes will boost your practice’s productivity, while analytics will give you more insights into your clients’ operations.
You will also be equipped to act as a trusted adviser to your clients by offering a smoother experience and insights derived from a deep analysis of their data.
“You’ll have everything you need to build an insights-driven culture across your practice and differentiate yourself from your competitors,” Grewal says. “You’ll also have an easier time retaining clients because you’ll be providing them with insights that improve their businesses.”
Caseware’s OnPoint A&A Suite is a secure, cloud-based platform that streamlines client collaboration, automates data acquisition, performs testing of general and sub-ledger activity, and features standardized engagement templates. Its automation features make your staff more efficient and its engagement management capabilities let you track all your engagements in real time.
Find out how you can better serve your clients and grow your business through an intelligent, cloud-based solution like Caseware’s OnPoint A&A Suite.
Mike Martin is a Content Marketing Writer at Caseware. He is a former IT magazine editor with extensive experience researching and writing about enterprise technologies. At Caseware, Mike reports on today’s top issues affecting auditors and accountants and how advanced technologies are helping them drive better results.