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The Digital Agenda can deliver for you and your clients

The increasingly digital world in which we live and work is providing a raft of fresh opportunities for accountants

In this competitive, technology-driven world, accountancy practices are changing the way they do business. In part, this is being led by clients who expect their trusted advisors to be available 24/7, and to use the same technology as they do.

Clients’ expectations for connectivity in an ‘always-on’ society are being fuelled by what most people carry in their pockets: the smartphone. This device is responsible for a major shift in the way we all prefer to keep in touch and most businesses are only now starting to leverage this technology for the good of the customer experience and fuel mutual efficiencies.

Increase in mobile take-up is extending choice over how, where and when your customers communicate

A recent study by Ofcom, ‘The Communications Market Report’, shows how the increasing take-up of faster fixed and mobile data services is extending people’s choice over how, where and when they communicate with others, watch or listen to content services, seek information, shop and participate in the digital world.

There has been a strong increase in the penetration of connected devices across the UK population, with smartphones owned by four of every five UK consumers and accessing the internet on a mobile phone continues to grow, from 66% in 2017 to 72% in 2018. Almost eight in 10 UK adults (78%) personally use a smartphone and people claim they spend the equivalent of a day online a week.

What do these statistics mean for you? Clients are increasingly looking to leverage their smartphones for better collaboration and accounting practices are opening up their communication channels to connect with clients and prospects by adopting a more personalised approach via their own App.

Integrating digital into the practice has the potential to make it more agile and more productive and according to McKinsey in their 2018 report ‘Digital Reinvention: Unlocking the How’, those that use real-time data to create personalised customer experiences gain an impact on the bottom line with an increase in sales of 15%–20%.

First step to behaviour-led messaging

Behaviour-led messaging and automated client communications heighten the customer experience and are now within the grasp of accounting practices that invest in a digital App platform. This demonstrates, like nothing else can, that the practice is modern and technologically progressive and committed to putting the accountant at the heart of their clients’ mobile lives.

Automated Client Engagement (ACE), 24/7, provides accountancy practices with a key differentiator in their client service and communication strategies because it provides a personal and unique experience to the App user and the accountant does not have to do anything at all.

It provides the perfect solution to some of the most common but frustrating communication challenges:

  • Communicating with clients in an effective way.
  • Chasing and reminding clients.
  • Struggling to get clients to engage at the right time to give them the right advice.
  • Value is often lost by having conversations with clients that are not informed.

How does it work?

If a client has opened the accountant’s App to work on one of the calculators or has filed a receipt, it automatically sends out pre-written notifications from the accountant to the user’s phone. The accountant can fully tailor the content of the messages and switch off any notifications that they do not want clients to receive.

The automated client communication feature ensures that all communications are relevant and includes pre-crafted messages that are designed to drive the right level of contact with clients. These are available every month and cover a wide range of subjects including reminders of key deadlines, tips on how to get the most out of the App, advice on how to reduce the cost of driving and a holiday message, to name but a few.

In addition, the Tax Hub generates messages featuring the latest finance news and a complete Autumn Statement and Budget Pack, including expectations and business and personal announcements, as they happen. These automated messages help to build a reputation with clients and prospects for great communication and providing valuable information, which extends beyond their accounts. New functionality to be introduced soon includes a personal calendar with an automated reminder.

Used in this way, digital technology can play an important role in enhancing the client experience.

  • Thanks to MyFirmsApp for this article. MyFirmsApp has launched a new monthly pricing plan for sole practitioners that makes access to the most comprehensive digital App platform highly affordable. For more details email glen.h@myfirmsapp.com

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