Build trust, stay competitive

Being a client’s first port of call for advice will stand your business in good stead.

Accountancy firms must offer quality, value-added services to stay competitive. Not only will this help develop existing client relationships but – crucially – it will help win new business. The nature and amount of work expected of accountants is ever-increasing. Gone are the days of only offering tax-compliancy and bookkeeping services.

The sector is moving towards being advisory-led. Today, clients want a better understanding of how to grow their business and keep a competitive edge. Having up-to-date and forward-looking services means you can really help them shape their future.

According to Sage’s ‘The Practice of Now 2019’ report, 40% of new staff join a practice rather than its competitors because of its reputation. And 45% of accountants in the UK say the needs of clients are the biggest influence on their practice’s culture.

Sudipta Moore of Manchester-based Moore Accountancy was quoted in the report: “The needs of clients always will be the biggest factor. But I think, for us, Making Tax Digital, GDPR, integrating accounting portals, and more, have probably been more of a driver of change, or at least a change in the way that we do things in the business. Client needs on the whole are still the same.”

A previous report revealed that 67% of accountants prefer cloud accounting and 53% of respondents said that they adopted a cloud-based practice management solution on many levels, such as project management and communicating with clients.

Crucially, they also found that 42% of clients would like their accountant to offer business advice. This means that accountants need to review how they can loosen their administrative burden by automating the most time-consuming tasks.

It’s clear that practices need to ensure they stand out from the rest and they:

  • Cement client trust and protect their reputation.
  • Broaden their practice offerings.
  • Are regarded by clients as a significant asset.

Data privacy and security is at the heart of protecting client data and thus ensuring trust. Businesses that manage personal data by law have to abide by the GDPR, which sits alongside The Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018), enforcing a similar level of data protection to areas falling outside of the regulation. Firms must ensure that their systems are robust enough to meet requirements. This gives accountants the perfect opportunity to demonstrate that protecting client data is a priority.

Despite this, ObserveIT’s latest research shows that a staggering 34% of employees in the UK haven’t changed their ways, despite the vast majority admitting they knew about GDPR compliance and their responsibilities.

More clients are demanding more from their accountants today than five years ago. With that in mind, iCaaS offers an affordable value-add for clients.

Making life easier

Accountants’ reputations are built on trust. Clients rely on accountants and bookkeepers to improve efficiency and increase productivity.

They make life easier for businesses and can improve business prospects from loan applications to tax audits and from company formation to business plans. You can improve any company’s business prospects – every step of the way.

Accountants handle a vast amount of data and done in the correct way, dealing with the requirements of GDPR can be complex, time-consuming and difficult to understand.

That’s why iCaaS GDPR Management partnered with the ICPA; we knew accountancy firms needed to look at the way they handle data, to maintain the trust and reputations of their clients.

The data you handle is extremely valuable and, in this digital age, anything you can do to protect your clients and give them greater control over their information will only strengthen your organisation’s reputation.

iCaaS is a cloud-based compliance software which can save you time and money. Accountants are already used to cloud-based accounting software which simplifies the end-of-year close by improving client collaboration year round.

Not only will it help your business, but by offering iCaaS to clients, it also gives you a great revenue share opportunity. It will strengthen your organisation’s existing product portfolio by including the suite of GDPR solutions available from us, with full support provided.

Use the iCaaS tool as a business development initiative to attract new clients and grow your customer base by offering an easy to deploy solution to a real business pain point.

• Thanks to iCaaS for this article. All ICPA members receive 25% off iCaaS’ software. For more go to www.myicaas.com

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