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How to improve the weakest points of your client relationships

Sageworks
June 2, 2017
Read Time: 0 min

The critical factors clients seek in today’s firm are expertise, communication and the proactive supply of business enhancing advice. The performance on these three categories will set individual advising firms apart from their competition. 

As data becomes a more integral part of analysis in today’s technologically savvy world, it becomes clear technology’s influence on client acquisition will only become progressively more important. The benefits from cloud computing will be crucial in the future selection of firms for today’s client.

The recent publication from AccountingWeb titled “What do your business clients want?” outlined the responses from 188 accounting professionals in a 2014 survey. Within this questionnaire, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) selected the options they most desire from their accounting or CPA firm.

The survey data within the article showed 70 percent of respondent firms have used an outside accounting service. 47 percent of those same firms have switched CPA providers since their beginning. 

Listed below are the top reasons for a firm’s transfer of accounting or CPA firms rated on a scale with “10” having a large role and “1” having no role at all in their decision. 

Most Common Reasons to Switch CPAs

Average Rating

Former CPA didn’t give proactive advice, only reactive service

6.8

Former CPA had poor responsiveness

6.2

I got a referral to a new firm from someone I trust

6.0

Expertise of former CPA was lacking

5.1

Fees were too high; found a lower-cost firm

4.4

Former CPA wasn’t using state-of-the-art technology

4.2

Former CPA had inadequate staff to meet our needs

4.2

We didn’t have a personal relationship with former CPA, and we wanted one

3.8

As shown above, the most common reason for switching accounting or CPA firms is the quality of services provided. While it is vital for the current firm to stay proactive and responsive to their clients, it is also crucial to remain on the edge of technological innovation. As tech usage increases, it is necessary to stay proactive and remain a source of knowledge and expertise for the improvement of a client’s business. 

In today’s CPA climate, there are few steps more important to becoming a technologically affluent firm than to be on the brink of cloud computing. 

“Cloud computing has been hailed as the biggest technological disruption trend in the history of accounting.”

An article from ValueWalk, a news site responsible for reporting on business, politics and tech news, titled  “What Do Business Owners Want From A Cloud Accounting Firm”, summarizes the three main benefits of cloud technology and the advantages it can bring to an accounting firm. 

Quicker and More Accountable Communication

“In cases where your business relies on quick and clear-cut communication, cloud accounting firms provide the maximum operational value and efficiency to such business operations.” 

Transparent and Comprehensible Data

“The access to transparent and comprehensible actionable business data is what businesses usually look for when subscribing to the services of any cloud accounting firm.”

Better Data Security

“For cloud accounting firms offering its clients with a highly secure data environment develops credibility and trust amongst its existing and potential client base.”

The three benefits shown above will provide reference points for the accountant to make the appropriate decision on their firm’s technological future. The benefits of cloud software for accounting firms does not end with those listed. In fact, cloud software for accounting firms provides the ability to perform work remotely and greatly increases efficiency potentials. With thorough research and accurate determination, today’s accountant or CPA has the ability to correctly select the most appropriate technology to fit the specific needs of their firm and clients.

Additional Resources 

Checklist: How to Embrace Technology and Grow Your Firm

Whitepaper: The Automation Revolution: How Technology is Changing the Way Firms Operate

About ProfitCents

ProfitCents helps thousands of accounting firms and business consultants acquire and retain clients through differentiated, high-value services. Build or strengthen an advisory practice, leverage robust benchmarking data or streamline the audit process. Learn more by watching a brief overview video.

About the Author

Sageworks

Raleigh, N.C.-based Sageworks, a leading provider of lending, credit risk, and portfolio risk software that enables banks and credit unions to efficiently grow and improve the borrower experience, was founded in 1998. Using its platform, Sageworks analyzed over 11.5 million loans, aggregated the corresponding loan data, and created the largest

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Abrigo enables U.S. financial institutions to support their communities through technology that fights financial crime, grows loans and deposits, and optimizes risk. Abrigo's platform centralizes the institution's data, creates a digital user experience, ensures compliance, and delivers efficiency for scale and profitable growth.

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