The modern day change
In the modern era, a Practice Management infrastructure allows firms (of any size) to deliver higher value services to their clients at lower cost. The resulting factor creates sustained profitability, reduced risk, empowered accountants, as well as improved client engagement.
The expectations of a client have now changed and firms in turn need to respond. When a firm invests in improvements to their practice, it's clearly visible and it does so in a way that exceeds traditional marketing. The best firms are proud to demonstrate this through the way they turn around
existing business and engage with their clients, by displaying that they are ready for more and more high-margin, activity.
The new model commands leaner, much more agile teams with staff at all levels enabled with technology. Partners and management now start to feel empowered to shape strategic direction, identifying and capturing new business opportunities at both existing and new clients, and also in new practice areas before the competition sees the potential.
Below, we will discuss in more detail how a Practice Management solution can enhance the power within your firm. It doesn't have to be benefitted solely by the larger firms. We discuss how it can be just as effective for the small practice (1-5 staff) and yet considered an investment on operationally mundane tasks.
Why should you consider this?
It can be very difficult to measure profits (or losses) by client, practice area, or operational activity. The use of an effective system will allow you to track activity and provide reports via dashboards that deliver key measurable information used to make executive decisions easily. The
next time that client arrives for a meeting and discusses a discount; you now have the ability of pulling reports at the click of the button and consider justifying your pricing.
The right system will present the areas where as a practice you should focus and continue to make more profitable, whilst less time managing the loss activities. As a result of this, business development now becomes the primary thought instead of an afterthought.
Staff will also find that they are much more in control through the many processes becoming automated and being freed up now to grow margin. The work they used to check and double check now becomes an afterthought as it's handled by systems.
Client deadline tracking is of major importance when ensuring your business remains in control.Having a system which is fully compliant with workflow and setup with the correct processes, in turn alleviates the problems.
With firms also facing the potential problem of staff turnover, a robust system can quickly bring new employees up to speed using integrated systems, to allow them to carry on from where others left off.
The use of previous Excel trackers to maintain those client deadline can now be made redundant, by importing the data into systems for tracking. The resulting factor creates a much more proactive business based on schedules and reporting, instead of a reactive one based on last minute client requests.
On many occasions accountants are prone to feeling consumed with their workload, therefore provoking a reactive stance; sending out the wrong message to clients. Doing so may indicate you may struggle to take on additional matters relating to their business.
Client questions take longer to answer due to sifting through paper processes to try and find the relevant data. By avoiding these pressurised mistakes with a faster turnaround; positively impacts competitiveness and client retention, enabling dramatic improvements in cycle time, which translates into more business.
Management of a client lifecycle
What currently differentiates you from others? Why not make your client services a competitive differentiator?
Allow clients to go online through a portal to view their status, reports and even request services with automated acknowledgement and workflow, to ensure timely attention. Clients can maximise on collaboration by sending documents securely via the portal. Alert them on specific deadlines coming up and stay in constant communication.
Dramatic cost savings
Using collaborative tools will save you time by speeding up responses with clients. It also provides you the ability of using outsourced / flexible
resource to work on any task knowing it's secure and controlled. Online services also minimises your spend on IT infrastructure by making those costs on internal servers completely redundant.
So… where do you start? A Practice Management solution doesn't have to be viable for only the big firms. By choosing a suitable vendor, it can be used from the very outset when starting a practice. The gains in doing so allows you to not only future proof your firm as you begin to grow; but also provide you that competitive edge over others. Business owners now expect more for their money and by providing key value add services you can remain ahead of the game.
Manage your clients and don't let them manage you. Take the step change now and see how cloud practice software can help you. Have full visibility and communication with your staff and your clients and make working life simpler this year.
Over the next few months, we will discuss specific individual features you should expect from a practice management solution, which will enhance the services you provide your clients.