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Paul Shrimpling talks client expectations in 2023

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As the end of the year draws ever closer, Will Cole asks Remarkable Practice’s Paul Shrimpling to read his crystal ball to consider what clients will want in 2023.
 

28th Nov 2022
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As the year comes to a close, it’s tempting to look to the future and consider what it may hold for the accounting profession. Paul Shrimpling, head of Remarkable Practice, has been doing just that as he considers at what their clients will require as we tick over into 2023.

In anticipation of his 'What clients want in 2023 and beyond' keynote on day two of this year’s AccountingWEB Live Expo, we caught up with Shrimpling to find out what he has in store for attendees of this session and to discover a little more about his client/accountant predictions. 

Register now for AccountingWEB Live Expo to hear more from Paul Shrimpling

Discussing the current relationship between clients and practitioners, Shrimpling argued that things had changed for the worse since a relatively postive high point due to the pandemic, as the world dragged itself back to normality.

“I think [the relationship] has gone downhill. What the profession did during covid was ramp up the volume of contact between them and their clients - there was an awful lot of what I would call more intimate contact with clients,” Shrimpling said, adding that the profession came out of the pandemic with a “massive amount of credibility”.

“I think this was because of their approach to client care. But now that the volume of work has picked back up, the amount of personal contact between accountants and their clients is arguably less now than it was during the pandemic.”

Reducing uncertainty

Shrimpling said the change in the client/practitioner relationship has come at a tricky time for business owners, with clients facing a host of challenges that will require a steady hand from their accountants.

“The economic uncertainty we now face, thanks to a range of factors, is creating a state of uncertainty for business owners and clients, as they just don’t know how things are going to play out.” Shrimpling said.

The managing director of the Remarkable Practice maintained that this will be at the centre of what clients will be looking for in the coming year as the economic situation continues to remain turbulent. 

What clients want in 2023 and beyond is a feeling of certainty that it's all going to be alright. And while the accounting profession can't give them that completely, practitioners can definitely reduce a client’s sense of chaos and ambiguity from a financial point of view.”

Expanding on his point Shrimpling also believed that, aside from reducing uncertainty, accountants can also help facilitate better decision making from their clients.

“We have to ask ourselves, ‘are we using the technology well enough?’ And is the client using the technology well enough to facilitate timely, sensible, well-thought-out decisions?” Shrimpling said.

Communication is key

Rounding off his point, Shrimpling noted that a revival of the high levels of communication with clients will be key, arguing that a “cadence of contact” with clients will become increasingly important in the months to come.

“Accountants need to be asking themselves ‘how often are we in touch with our clients?’ When the economy is in a state of discombobulation, the regularity or the cadence needs to speed up. Seeing a client once a year isn’t enough anymore when the world is uncertain as it is.” Shrimpling said. 

“One of the most significant values an accountant can offer is their ability to help the business owner interpret the numbers so that they can make the pressing strategic decisions that secure their future, but this can’t be done if a communicative relationship isn’t there.”

Humanise the numbers

Shrimpling concluded that, while the economic outlook for 2023 looks particularly bleak as we barrel towards the end of the year, accountants who offer a more personable experience will be better prepared to help their clients weather the storm. 

“It really is all about finding the balance of the humanity side, and the numbers side - how can accountancy firms humanise the numbers?” Shrimpling said, noting that success in this area comes down to two, relatively simple aspects.

“First, it’s important to remember there are two groups of really important humans involved here. One is the accounting team, while the other is the client. It's this interrelationship between the two that determines the success of any and every accounting firm.”

"Secondly, what we also need to talk about is the quality of the conversation you’re having with clients. In my presentation, we’ll be examing what raw skills do accountants have to use in order to drive the quality of the conversation now and, what I'm hoping for, is that everyone who comes and listens in can take these skills back to their firm and share with their team ready for the new year.”

Register for this year’s AccountingWEB Live Expo on 30 November - 1 December to hear more from Paul Shrimpling on dealing with clients, as well as a host of other industry-leading figures.

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By possep
30th Nov 2022 07:31

This doesn't inspire me to book a "plaice."

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