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Three Obstacles to The Perfect Engagement… and How to Overcome Them

31st May 2024
Brought to you by
Suralink logo

Suralink provides professional services firms with a single, secure platform to collaborate with clients, exchange documents at scale, and track the progress of engagements. 

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Have you found this content useful? Use the button above to save it to your profile.

Engagements are a necessary component of virtually every professional service ecosystem, from accounting to audit, legal and beyond. However, the paradigm that many firms use to execute engagements is oftentimes laborious, intensive, and rife with the chance for mistakes. Most engagements involve thousands of documents, dozens of stakeholders, and a basket of different portals and software to manage it all. So many moving parts make for a complicated engagement, which, in turn, makes for an oftentimes costly experience.

 

However, though these obstacles are formidable, they’re not insurmountable. In fact, there are other engagement paradigms available to firms and their clients, and they offer up a chance for not ‘just’ a better engagement, but a meaningfully improved experience that turns a tedious cost center into an enjoyable boon for everyone involved!

Obstacle 1: File Management

The mere mention of “file management” likely conjures imagery of dealing with obscure formats, decompressing zip files, and keeping track of thousands of documents. Many of the clients we speak to say that file management is its own job on top of the engagement, comprising at least 8-10 hours of extra work every week (if not much more). This problem is amplified by attempting to track and store documents across different software and spreadsheets.

What, then, is the solution? The key to expediting file management lies in using a single, streamlined platform to house and validate every file. Rather than attempting to track individual documents across email threads and file formats, firms and the clients they serve benefit from being able to centralise all of an engagement’s collateral. This tip may seem obvious, but the number of firms using a large mix of softwares for this process, as has been the convention for many years now, is staggering. But so too is the potential to create a better engagement via one platform.

Obstacle 2: Validation

Even if a firm is proficient at storing files, validating them and ascertaining where they’re at in the process is a whole other ball game. Every stakeholder needs to be able to voice where a file is at in the engagement and whether they’ve signed off on it, but again, when you’re dealing with multiple files and email threads, this process becomes much easier said than done.

Fortunately, the solution for everyone involved in an engagement is, again, centralisation. The best platforms don’t ‘just’ offer a single place to store files; they also allow stakeholders to view those files in real time, make comments and suggestions that every other stakeholder can see, and verify where those documents are at in the process. This way, engagements can run free of the risks that come with one-on-one communication, repeat validation requests, and other problems that gum up the gears of an otherwise expedient engagement.

Obstacle 3: Communication

Fragmented communication is arguably the number-one impediment to a great engagement. Even if you can store and comment on files in one place, the mishaps that inevitably come with one-on-one email threads, repeat document requests, and more are considerable. These pitfalls can imperil an engagement and even stoke weariness and resentment among participants. Because of that, professionals and their clients need to be deliberate about how they communicate over thousands of documents, validations, and more.

The key to avoiding this problem is creating a direct channel for everyone to communicate in. Ideally, the place to do so is the one and same platform used to store files while validating them. Such an approach also empowers stakeholders to control who can see which asset, further saving time and expediting communications wherever possible.

The Solution

The theme uniting all of these obstacles, and the solutions to them, is fragmentation. Centralising the engagement process puts files, validations, and communications all in one place, eliminating the potential for so many mistakes that end up dragging all of this out.

Suralink, the world leader in PBC request list and engagement management software, stands ready to provide that united, holistic approach to engagements. Our platform achieves the outcomes and solutions stated here with the ability to house an unlimited number of files, no matter obscure their format, and all the communication and validations around them. Indeed, many of our clients report that the time spent chasing files and email threads is cut by as much as 50%.

The true end result, though, isn’t ‘just’ saved time, substantial as that is. It’s a meaningfully improved and more human connection that turns any engagement from an arduous cost center into a great benefit for everyone involved. Click here to learn more about how our platform enables that possibility for your firm and your clients!

Author: The Suralink Team