How to Make Your Accountancy Firm Digital Friendly
Whether we like it or not, we are well and truly living in a digital world. The way people conduct business has changed in every way imaginable and businesses have had to adapt to meet modern needs.
Cloud storage is starting to replace filing cabinets, instant messaging is replacing phone calls and social media marketing has replaced traditional print advertising in many cases.
The same changes have hit accountancy firms, some harder than others. Those who have embraced all the changes that modern technology has to offer have found themselves thriving in the new market. However, not everyone has had the will or the means to jump right in and go digital.
For those who have been slow to adapt for whatever reason, it may feel like it’s too late to start now. However, we would recommend that if you’re able to make changes to your accountancy firm to bring it more in line with the digital age, then this can only be a good thing for the future of your firm.
With Making Tax Digital due to hit next year, there is still time to start changing the way you do things to ensure you’re not left behind and struggling to compete in the future.
Why go digital?
In order to compete in the modern market, you’re going up against companies who have already gone digital and are taking advantage of everything new technology has to offer.
Those who are set in their ways or have struggled to invest in new tech will find it much more difficult to get a foot in the market and this is only going to get harder as time goes on.
Luckily, there are a few inexpensive ways you can adapt your firm for the modern market. It’s not all about multi-million-pound digital strategies and advertising campaigns. Below, we detail some of the changes your business could make to ensure your firm is what a 21st-century client expects from you.
Get talking on social media
Social media is a necessary evil, a waste of time or a useful tool, depending on who you ask. Whatever your opinion, it has become a basic expectation for modern businesses.
If you don’t use social media, you’re missing out on an opportunity to increase your brand’s reach, engage with customers and source potential clients.
According to research from marketing consultants Propero Partners, just 51% of accountancy firms have a Twitter account. Figures are slightly higher for LinkedIn, with 76% of firms using the professional-based platform. In comparison, they found that 84% of law firms use Twitter and 90% use LinkedIn. While this has shown signs of improving, accountants still have a long way to go to take full advantage of social media as other industries have.
James Noble, a partner at Propero said: “By failing to engage on social media, firms are effectively lining the pockets of their competitors.”
If you’re new to social media, LinkedIn may be better for those looking for a professional platform and B2B contacts. However, it doesn’t quite have the reach that others like Twitter and Facebook have. Businesses tend to get more engagement if they’re casual and conversational, so Twitter is ideal for this.
We’d recommend starting with one or two platforms to get used to it and experimenting with content to see what resonates most with your target market.
Go digital with your marketing
In order to grow your business and win more clients in the modern market, you’ll have to embrace digital marketing. Social media is a good start but most modern businesses are going beyond this and are investing in digital solutions like SEO and PPC which will propel your business forward into the digital age.
This also means updating your website so that it’s mobile-friendly, easy to navigate and more in line with what the competition can offer.
Switch to a paperless office
While it may be difficult to eliminate every sheet of paper from your office, you can greatly reduce your dependency on it. Going paperless can cut down on printing and stationery costs and also helps out the environment.
By reducing the amount of paper you use, you can improve the efficiency of your firm. Digital versions of documents are easier to store, search for and process. You can start by scanning existing paperwork and filing it all digitally. Make use of cloud storage and back your documents up in multiple areas to be safe. They can then be accessed by whoever needs them wherever they are.
Use cloud accounting
Accounting Today’s 2018 “Year Ahead” Survey found that between 45% and 58% of companies are starting to use cloud accounting over traditional desktop solutions.
The interest in cloud accounting is growing and for good reason. It solves a common problem that entrepreneurs on the move find themselves in. Sometimes they need to access financial data on the move, upload receipts or add new transactions to their records.
Those using legacy software have to wait until they’re by the computer where everything is stored. This data is also at the mercy of hardware functioning correctly and can lead to costly delays when issues arrive. Cloud accounting doesn’t have these problems because it’s all mobile and secure.
From an accountant’s point of view, cloud accounting is also very popular. According to a report from Sage, 67% of accountants now prefer cloud accounting. The majority believe that it makes their roles easier and collaboration with clients is simpler and speedier.
Nowadays, cloud accounting has become increasingly advanced, readily available to all and cost-effective. If your firm has not yet used cloud accounting, we would recommend trying out software that specialises in simplicity to get you used to the software.
If you are looking for cloud accounting software to help you become digital friendly, look no further than Pandle.
Pandle was originally designed with small businesses and freelancers in mind but we found that accountancy firms would find it useful too. It’s simple and affordable bookkeeping software with small businesses in mind. If you’re interested in learning more about using our software, you can take a look at our partnering options.