Building closer relationships through streamlined client collaboration

16th Dec 2020
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At its heart, accounting is a business based around people skills, where excellent collaboration with your clients is a vital part of the winning mix for a successful firm. The easier is it to work together and collaborate on projects, the better your understanding will be of your client’s business, and the stronger your working relationship and business partnership will be.

So, when your systems and processes don’t promote great client collaboration, this can be a big issue for the practice. You may have the numbers in your client’s accounts, but if you can’t share them with the client, review their management reporting and talk through their performance metrics, you won’t be able to offer the best value as an adviser.

How, then, do you remedy this situation and create an effective platform for sharing information, collaborating on client work, and communicating clearly with your clients?

The value of collaboration in the cloud

With cloud accounting now the norm for the majority of accounting firms, the benefits of working in the cloud have had a hugely positive impact on the way we communicate with clients.

74% of accountants believe their role is very likely to change due to technology, according to our Accountancy in 2028 survey. With a cloud-based accounting platform, such as Onvio, at the centre of your practice, the way you interact with your clients will evolve. Your bookkeeping, tax planning, accounting, management reporting and forecasting is all accessible through one central platform – and that’s opened up new ways of working with clients.

For example:

  • Clients can access their accounts 24/7 – with their accounts accessible in the cloud from any device, it’s incredibly easy for business owners to check their cashflow, follow their performance or check in on their sales figures. And this leads to them being far more engaged and enlivened by their business numbers.

  • Numbers can be reviewed online – when you need to talk through the key numbers on a client call, you can both be dialled into the same figures. With cloud accounting, you’re always looking at the most current, up-to-date information, making it far easier to review the accounts, make decisions and drive the future course of their business.

  • Sign-offs can be completed digitally – instead of emailing documents back and forth, and waiting around for scanned copies of the paperwork, you can point clients to the online version of the document and speed up the whole review and sign-off process.

Overcoming the Covid hurdles

1-2-1 time with clients is all part of the new way of working. But being able to sit down with clients face-to-face is problematic during the current crisis, with many firms and their clients working from home and not available for in-person meetings

Without a centralised, cloud-based accounting platform, you'd be forced to email documents and management accounts back and forth, while trying to discuss your insights over the phone. But for digital practices, it’s been far easier to overcome these limitations.

One platform for integrated cloud collaboration 

With a platform like Onvio, you and your clients can both access the same accounts, reporting and key metrics, so you're both looking at the same numbers in real-time.

There are a number of benefits of this online approach:

  • The Onvio Firm Management solution includes Client Center,  a cloud hub where your team and their clients can both access, analyse and work with client numbers and documents – all safely stored and encrypted for easy 24/7 access from desktops, laptops or mobile devices.

  • Client collaboration becomes far easier, allowing you to talk through their actuals, review their profit and loss, or run through the key metrics in their current business strategy – all done remotely and in a paperless manner, via a video call.

  • By collaborating more closely, you can greatly increase your client contact, improve your understanding of the client’s business and form a much deeper working relationship – all of which helps to position you and the firm as trusted advisers.

As the Covid-19 pandemic abates, we’ll see those all-important client meetings, office visits and work-related events and conferences return. But being able to mix 1-2-1 and online working methods is the perfect mix of skills for ambitious digital practices.

Make the move to digital and see the hugely positive impact on your client relationships.

Find out more about the Onvio cloud accounting platform