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Using software to drive practice growth

17th May 2023
Brought to you by
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Xledger is a leading provider of next-generation cloud-based finance software. 

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This Spring, the Chancellor’s budget focused on looking to the future: encouraging the UK to boost innovation across core industries, and drive ‘long-term, healthy’ economic growth through smart investment.

Using software to drive practice growth
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Accountants play a critical role in helping clients do just that: guiding business owners to make insight-led decisions that chart a clear course toward success — no matter what their specific goals may be.

But, when it comes to growing your own firm, it’s often tough to find the time to crystallise your ambitions.

Growth means different things to different practices. It could be working with more clients, hiring new colleagues, diversifying services, or transitioning towards becoming an advisory partner.

Whatever your desired metric, using the right technology is a fundamental driver for achieving sustainable practice growth.

And, though the MTD delay has caused headaches for some, it does offer a chance to pause and look closely at how you can leverage the right solutions to maximise growth for you and your clients — rather than rushing to meet the deadline.

Automation = efficiency

Let’s start with the obvious: using automation to drive efficiency wherever possible makes sense when looking to grow.

The benefits are well documented: increased accuracy, reduced costs for clients, fewer manual tasks for your team, and more time to focus on valuable services.

But lots of practices struggle to implement automation effectively.

What can you do? Taking the time to assess your current ways of working, identify processes (anything that is repeatable and manual) that could benefit from automation, for example, your purchase to pay capabilities. Proactively looking for tech solutions to support you in providing more value added activities for your clients is a good place to start.

Remember that software is always evolving — and your existing solution may well have features that you are unaware or not making full use of.

Where possible, your tech should free you up from manual, repetitive tasks, and allow you to use your time in a more valuable way for your clients.

It’s not just about clients, though — automation can also be critical for staff retention. Think about it this way: by not investing in automation, you’re asking your team to do work that they may be overqualified for — work that workflow technology could handle on their behalf.

Real-time data, real-time advice

Automation only makes up one part of a much bigger picture when it comes to tech and practice growth.

Even more important, arguably, is the access to real-time data that cloud accounting grants us. Data is more available than ever before, with you and your clients able to gain deep insights about their business in just a few clicks.

Furthermore, moving away from retrospective accounting and looking at live data means you can offer real-time, relevant advice to help clients weather any storms and make the most of opportunities as they arise.

With that, making a switch from being a compliance-led firm to a practice offering advisory support based on insight, becomes much more tangible.

Client relationships for now and the future

Building loyalty with existing clients is one of the most effective strategies for growth. After all, the more successful your clients are, the more higher-value services they may benefit from.

But helping clients achieve their goals means they may transition from start-up to SME to mid-market firm, and you need to make sure you’re still able to support them as that happens and they demand more from you.

As we discussed in a recent post, having the right tech is integral to doing just that, and retaining clients as they grow. Future-proofing your tech is a key part of future-proofing your client relationships.

The same applies when it comes to attracting new clients, and it’s wise to build cloud accounting into your offering right from the start, so you can avoid having to ‘sell the benefits’ later down the line. Including the cost of software in your annual fees – or just as part of your service – is one way to establish a truly tech-forward approach.

Partnering with tech for growth

Ultimately, the specialist client knowledge accountants can not be replaced by tech. But if you’re not leaning on software to boost client experience, you could be replaced by an accountant who is.

Firms embracing automation at a large scale may be able to beat you on price, and clients may be attracted to a quicker, slicker service — featuring an element of self-service (like doing their own bookkeeping) that accountants championing tech can empower them to do.

By having an open mindset about innovation and a curiosity about how software can support you, you will be setting yourself on the right path towards practice growth.

If you’d like to embrace technology, our specialist accounting and financial management software could be the solution you need. Contact Phil Chalmers on [email protected] or book a demo to learn more.