Client relationships are the lifeblood of the accounting industry. If there isn’t trust and goodwill between you and your clients, you’re skating on thin ice. This article addresses how your accounting practice can transform the client experience through PSA (professional services automation) solutions.
In the face of downward price pressure and increasing competition, these quality client experiences are more essential than ever. Stripped of their personal components, many accounting services are becoming commoditized.
The competition is growing: 80% of respondents to one 2018 survey of professionals say that competition has increased in their field. Just a year earlier, that figure was 62%.
To complicate matters, client expectations about the nature of your services are changing. In a survey from Servicenow, 93% of executives stated that client requests regarding quality, speed, cost, transparency, and accountability are all intensifying. More and more clients expect proactive advice and thorough data analysis, and they can be very short on patience.
Professional Services Automation
One type of technology has proved to be extremely helpful when it comes to meeting these expectations in a personalized and friendly way. Automating your back office procedures and utilizing business intelligence through professional services automation (PSA) software is a foolproof way to make your firm more efficient and keep your clients satisfied.
Here are three key ways in which these solutions will help you step up to the plate.
1. Save Yourself Time (and Money)
Perhaps the most obvious benefit from automation is the reduction in hours needed to finish the work in question. By streamlining tasks like billing, time and expense tracking, project management, and financial management, PSA solutions help you and your employees manage your time better.
According to Salika Suksuwan, a human capital leader at PwC, automation and AI allow accounting professionals to focus more on “advising clients and providing strategic insights on critical financial transactions.” Leaders from KPMG and Deloitte agree, noting that new technologies position accountants to upskill and focus on advisory work.
For example, one study found that prior to introducing automated workflows, 70% of firms reported not having enough time to properly attend to their clients. After implementing them, that percentage dropped to 41%.
Moreover, BQE Software has found that automating parts of the billing process alone reduces an employee’s workload by 10%. With all that time liberated, you can focus on building your business and better attending to your clients.
Of course, hours saved directly relates to dollars saved. With 48% of professionals reporting that client demands about price are intensifying, PSA software gives you the increasingly important capability of being more flexible with your costs.
2. Ensure Availability
While everyone wants a healthy work-life balance, the fact is that clients need their accounting professionals to be more accessible. Fully 75% of clients who consider themselves to be satisfied with their financial advisors expect their requests to be answered within 24 hours.
This is where PSA solutions come in. The right tools are cloud-based and have extensive mobile capabilities, so you can access the information you need whenever and wherever. Being able to manage tasks, schedule and send reports, and view KPIs at a moment’s notice can make all the difference when it comes to client satisfaction.
This is especially true among millennials—the newest generation of advisory clients. This is the group whose loyalty is harder to earn, as they are four times more likely than older clients to switch advisors. However, regular personal communication reduces millennials’ flight risk to just 17%.
3. Get Easy Access to the Data Clients Demand
Clients aren’t content to remain in the dark when it comes to the state of their financials. They expect proactive advice and information as well as analytics. A survey from Gartner and Financial Executives International (FEI) reveals that CFOs’ top needs are better facilitation of analysis and decision-making, improved monitoring of business performance, and higher quality data for these purposes.
It follows that business intelligence technology is becoming a mandate, not a choice. PSA software offers up-to-the-minute information on cash flow, profitability, margins, budgets, and the like. With extensive reports, scheduling capabilities, and interactive dashboards, sharing these analytics has never been easier. Moreover, as many PSA tools are integrated platforms, they offer more accurate and extensive data.
It’s clear that by enabling quick turnarounds and providing the information needed for strategic decision-making, PSA solutions make accounting firms more agile and better able to deliver the service their clients want.
Discover more about the demands clients are making and how PSA platforms help firms rise to the occasion by attending an exclusive webinar with BQE Software and leading analyst firm Forrester on Thursday, July 26. Sign up today—spots are limited!