Seamless communication with clients is vital if you want to provide truly exceptional accounting services. However, many firms are still falling behind in their client communication strategies.
Accounting firms tend to work with a whole host of communication channels simultaneously, including long email chains, paper documents and different tools to store and transfer data. Working this way can easily cause delays, mistakes, document loss and a lack of transparency — ultimately leading to client frustration.
With 86 percent of executives naming poor communication as one of the major causes of failure in a business, firms must focus on improving their communication with clients and internal teams.
Read on to learn the top tips for successful client communication at accounting firms.
Why leveraging technology is crucial for effective client communication in accounting
Accounting professionals usually have to manage many moving parts on every engagement, whether it’s an audit, financial review or other type. Significant client involvement is also necessary, as clients must provide financial documents and other data throughout the process.
New technologies are able to streamline all these processes and centralize communications in one place. Specialized accounting software, like Caseware, allows accounting professionals to send and manage requests, upload and store documents and track workflows all in one platform. These software platforms also uphold strict security standards, giving firms and clients alike peace of mind in regards to their sensitive information.
With many firms adopting these technologies and creating smoother workflows, leveraging software is becoming crucial, not only to save time and money but to stay competitive and provide high-quality results.
The best strategies to enhance client communication
Leveraging client communication software to build solid relationships with clients and ensure customer satisfaction is easy with these proven strategies:
1. Use cloud-based accounting software
The simplest way to achieve seamless communication with clients is to use cloud-based accounting software with built-in collaboration capabilities. Software like Caseware removes all the downsides of communicating via email, such as:
- mistakenly using outdated versions of documents
- wasting time waiting on replies
- locating information in long email chains
- opening yourself to potential security issues
By using cloud-based software to automate your processes, you can:
- improve efficiency and decrease the time you spend working on repetitive tasks
- request and upload documents in one place
- easily track documents, client interactions and activity with maximum transparency
- update information for all users in real time
Cloud-based accounting software is great for any firm looking for one easy solution to automate working methods and up-level client communication.
2. Implement a client portal
Another great way to facilitate smoother communication with clients is by setting up a client portal. This is an area of a website or project that clients can access. In accounting, you can use a client portal to:
- share progress
- collect data, documents and information
- keep important documents in one place
This will save you time on back-and-forths with clients and avoid the confusion of missed emails or lost documents. It allows clients to stay abreast of progress without creating separate updates. You can also grant access to the portal to as many relevant contacts from the client and your own team as necessary.
3. Use project management software
If your communication problems stem from inefficient planning or struggling to keep track of workflows and navigating time frames, project management software can help. It allows firms to improve project organization and build better business relationships with clients.
Typically, gathering financial data for an accounting engagement takes time. It can often be inefficient, especially when working with physical documents.
Project management tools can help you:
- manage daily tasks in one place
- assign actions to specific people
- add deadlines
- create streamlined, repeatable processes
4. Automate client updates and notifications
A simple way to boost communication with clients and develop loyal customers is to automate your updates and notifications. Automated notifications and reminders help maintain open lines of communication, ensuring that both accountants and clients stay informed about critical milestones and project status updates.
Automating client communication channels can also:
- remind you to follow up on required information
- save you time and lessen stress
- keep your clients up to date
The best way to automate your client updates and notifications is by using a comprehensive software tool like Caseware that allows you to create tasks with deadlines and timeframes.
5. Virtual meetings and videoconferencing for real-time interaction
These days, there are countless online videoconferencing tools available. With more and more remote and hybrid workplaces appearing, as well as clients in different time zones, it is crucial that you leverage these tools for effective communication.
Virtual meetings are one of the most simple and affordable communication methods you can use to improve client relations. Seeing people’s faces allows you to build a more trustworthy communication style, and interacting in real time saves you time on back-and-forth email correspondence.
6. Data visualization and interactive reporting
Update clients in a way they understand by using data visualization tools and interactive reporting.
Your clients are busy, and they don’t want to spend hours deciphering complex financial reports. Data visualization allows service providers to simplify complex information through tables and graphs.
Interactive reporting takes this a step further by enabling users to drill down into specific data points, filter information and customize views according to their needs. This allows clients to understand the key takeaways from the data while helping you streamline your discussions with them.
Communicate seamlessly and collaborate with clients in real time with Caseware’s PBC
Utilizing the right client communication tools and client communication practices can help you achieve more successful client engagements and client relationships.
Caseware PBC is the ultimate client communication tool, offering streamlined, speedy and secure client communication on every engagement. With PBC, you know that all the information you need is stored and managed in one place. You can also use the app for uploading documents and communicating with clients and team members in real time. Everything is automatically tracked, so you don’t need to stress about compliance or transparency.
Learn how implementing Caseware PCB can boost your client communication to save hours of time and reduce stress.