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How technology can drive Practice Excellence

7th Jan 2015
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The main lesson from the latest Practice Excellence whitepaper is that the most successful firms are embracing technology where it can make a difference to client service.

Sponsored by SAP and its business partner Codestone, the downloadable document presents data and case studies from the 2014 Practice Excellence Awards to suggest a variety of tools that could make a big difference to your firm and the service it provides to clients.

Technology alone will not guarantee success. The whitepaper, written by AccountingWEB editor John Stokdyk, emphasises that firms should research what’s available to ensure they apply technologies that truly meet their own and clients’ requirements. The topics covered include:

  • Cloud accounting - The most commonly cited initiative at firms shortlisted for Practice Excellence Awards, cloud accounting gives firms a platform for presenting management information to clients (as 33% shortlisted firms do) and working collaboratively with them on their accounts. The awards process also found that the firms who had pioneered cloud-based approaches were also the ones that have moved farthest from pure compliance to advisory work.
  • Management information - Technology alone won’t surface the insights, nor present them to the client in an easily digested way. But software tools can make it easier for the accountant to act as a business adviser by presenting financial information that stimulate conversations and points clients in new directions.
  • Social media - Online networking is increasingly prevalent within modern accountancy practices, yet few firms are able to track whether they are achieving measurable results from their social media activity. The whitepaper presents advice from the likes of and Valued Accounting on how they attract web visitors with online content and convert those leads into new business.
  • Client document portals - Nearly one in five (19%) of the Practice Excellence shortlisted firms included web portals as part of their client service offerings. As Pillow May explained: “The client portal on our website allows clients to access their documents securely and electronically authorise them, regardless of where they are in the world.”
  • Client Relationship Management - Marketing remains a weakness among many accountancy firms.  Accountancy is based around the personal relationship between adviser and client, yet CRM tools that offer a systematic way to manage prospects, referrals and conversion rates are often overlooked. Fast growing firms that communicate well with their clients do not make that mistake.

The message from all the Practice Excellence nominees is that accountancy firms have to use modern technology to meet the needs of their clients efficiently. Innovation award nominees The Tax Guys explained, “The firm could not significantly enhance clients’ lives and make their businesses less taxing to run, without embracing innovation and new ways of delivering our services.”

Are you doing enough to keep up with that approach?

Practice Excellence whitepapers

The efficiency whitepaper is the fourth in a series made possible by sponsorship from SAP and its business partners. Other guides covering key aspects of business development and growth are available, including:

  • Profit strategies
  • Client focus
  • How to become a trusted business advisor
  • Efficiency tips
  • Winning new clients.

ThSAPe Practice Excellence Programme is sponsored by SAP, who explain: “We know exactly how important accountants are to helping businesses grow and we want to do all we can to support that. That’s our business too and we’re focussed on developing technology innovations that not only help businesses run like never before, but also improve the lives of people everywhere.”

Practice Excellence Awards 2015 are open!

The AccountingWEB Practice Excellence Awards 2015 recognise and celebrate the very best in our profession with eight categories that showcase the firms and individuals driving standards of excellence ever higher. Join them here.

Replies (1)

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By johnjenkins
12th Jan 2015 13:00

I think

you have to get the balance just right. The problem is that technology is constantly changing and not everyone wants to, or can grasp it.

Our local Barclays had a 3 staffed counter with bods roaming waiting to pounce. They decided to change to one staffed counter. Queues and complaints were the order of the day. Why? Nobody ever asks us what we want. This years election will tell those in power just what we want.

So yes we will end up with High techies and low techies which can't be reconciled.

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