Receipt Bank shepherds clients with push notificationsby
As Making Tax Digital ushers in an era of greater client shepherding, Receipt Bank is the latest software application to adopt automatic push notifications and item messaging to allow accountants to nudge clients into submitting receipts on time.
AccountingWEB has recently seen software such as mTrio (as seen in our practice software challenge) and CCH OneClick use push notifications technology, which is commonplace with smartphone apps like Facebook and WhatsApp.
Now Receipt Bank has updated its Practice Platform - a dashboard that tracks data such as workload and client engagement - with smartphone communication partially driven by machine learning.
Steve Lucas, Receipt Bank’s customer experience manager told AccountingWEB that the new feature was developed following feedback from Receipt Bank partners looking to improve their bookkeeping efficiencies. “The major pain point for our partners is going back and forth on email chasing clients,” Lucas said. “Chasing paperwork can take a lot of capacity and creates a lot of retrospective bookkeeping.”
The major pain point for our partners is going back and forth on email chasing clients. Chasing paperwork can take a lot of capacity and creates a lot of retrospective bookkeeping.
The practice platform feature takes two different forms: the item messaging element allows the accountant or bookkeeper to gain the attention of their client with a manually initiated push notification appearing on their smartphone. The accountant or bookkeeper tailors the message based on a specific item.
The second aspect prompts the client with a notification based on pattern recognition to move them away from their receipt-hoarding habits. Powered by machine learning, the push notification looks for patterns, and alerts the user when they should submit items based on their previous activity. For example, the algorithm realises if the client takes regular business trips.
The client delay metric measures the time the client takes from when the receipt was generated to when it was uploaded to Receipt Bank. Armed with this information, the practice platform can pre-emptively encourage the end user to submit receipts.
When the user swipes the notification they will be taken to the receipt and message in question. As seen in the example below, accountants can discuss any submitted item in conversation thread, where the client can reply.
Making Tax Digital
Receipt Bank said the upgrade was predicated on reducing the client chasing time. However, the automation aspect of push notifications and the manual item messaging looks to play a role in how accountants can influence their clients under the Making Tax Digital regime.
Lucas recognised that the push notification technology will be useful as more accountants process in the cloud. “As a lot of accountants move online, they will look for an efficient way to streamline communication.”
Push notifications are set as default for a lot of smartphone apps, so it seems a smart move for accounting tools to embrace this trend. But push notifications are far from the silver bullet in client chasing. Recent data from Kahuna, as reported by the Andrew Chen, the head of rider growth at Uber, shows that over 60% of users opt out of push notifications. The reason is simple: people don't like being constantly hassled by irrelevant social media updates and alerts
However, the same research shows that users are more engaged where the notifications are time-sensitive, valuable and relevant – as Making Tax Digital will undoubtedly demonstrate, users will likely appreciate the timely reminder to submit their invoices in the same way they engage with the best performing opt-in rates industries, such as notifications from ride sharing apps like Uber (79%).
For accountants and the end user, the value of push notifications will become more evident in the coming years, but for it to work the accountant will have to work hard to convince the client of the relevance and value of the information.
Do you think the notifications will help dull the MTD axe and assist you in corralling clients’ information?