Professional firms are using new technologies to be more real-time automated, remote-accessible, collaboration-friendly, and data-reliant.
To do this, firms must implement strategies that help their teams work not only faster, but also efficiently and accurately, with full access to all pertinent data from wherever they are located.
Here are five ways firms can build a framework to embrace the technology that will help them be better and more valuable business advisors:
Accounting professionals and their business management clients are more effective and profitable when they aren’t spending their time on tedious functions like data entry and tweaking reports.
Many firm functions can be automated using systems like BQE CORE, which uses artificial intelligence to streamline management functions. This keeps firm leaders on top of key trends and issues facing the firm and clients so they can provide clients with move valuable guidance.
A recent report by McKinsey showed that for most occupations, at least one third of their functions could be automated. Imagine the greater value you could provide your clients if you could get back a third of each day.
Your Clients Want an Advisor
Your business clients don’t just want someone to fix their books and file their taxes: Most come to you because they want help running their businesses better, more efficiently, more profitably. They want you to help them grow, and they want you to help them find the technologies or processes that can help them do that.
When it comes to startups, more than a third of financial investors do not fully trust the internally-produced financial statements that the startups provide them. The result is a market thirsty for professionally produced financials from independent accounting firms, which can provide greater insight, true expertise, neutrality, and fiscal strength.
So, not only do your clients want an advisor, but their potential investors want them to have one, too. With the right technologies, firms can connect with client data and have real-time access to automatically generated financial sets and analysis, plus the ability to remotely share that information with invited outside investors.
Evolve Your Services
Businesses are getting more diverse, and as your practice grows in maturity, its client base likely is, as well.
That means they need an increasingly diverse array of services. In a recent survey by AICPA subsidiary CPA.com, 65% of business decision makers are interested in revenue growth and business modeling – 46% in budgeting; 38% in risk management; 32% in business valuation – and many other areas are just as in-demand. Yes, they still want tax prep and planning, bookkeeping and other compliance functions, but there is a wide array of services that firms can provide that are often going unmet.
Expanding your offerings can help your firm be competitive helps you offer more proactive guidance to your clients.
Long gone are the days when a firm only needed an ad in the phone book in order to get themselves out there for prospective clients. Likewise, the days are gone when a basic (and often non-updated) website is sufficient.
Instead, the business leaders today – and the ones starting the businesses of tomorrow – expect a full spectrum of social media participation and engagement from their advisors, particularly ones that claim to be technologically savvy.
There are many tools for managing and analyzing social media effectiveness, and ensuring your reach includes those entrepreneurs. Your feeds should be informative and insightful, which makes them valuable.
All About the Data
In today’s data-reliant world, that data often exists across a variety of technology platforms from dozen – if not hundreds – of sources. This data must be reconciled by an automating system so it can then be presented to the accountant with useful analysis and insight.
Accounting professionals have long been the most trusted financial advisor of business clients. Providing a broader array of services based on solid technology will help you provide greater value to them. Doing this will help your clients be financially stronger and grow, which will also strengthen your firm, as will expanding your revenue channels will protect against declines in other areas.
This will help prepare your firm for whatever the future may hold.