23rd August, 2016
It wasn’t so long ago that the majority of an accounting firm’s revenue was generated through end of year services and tax compliance.
With economic conditions today and the growth of outsourcing, compliance work has become a race to the bottom with jobs awarded to the lowest bidder.
This undercutting has slashed profit margins on compliance work and has forced firms to look at other revenue streams. Proactive accounting firms are starting to re-evaluate their service offerings and move away from the traditional reactive model to a proactive approach.
Higher value services are now needed to better engage clients, and these services also need to provide a deeper level of engagement with the client. Alternative revenue streams can be found in services such as CFO consulting and financial planning.
For accounting firms to make these services profitable, they must be able to work smarter and more productively. Accounting firms need to view technology as a competitive advantage and stop thinking of at IT as an overhead, but rather an enabler in their business.
Here are three areas where technology can boost your service offering.
Having old and out of date technology in your business puts your data at risk, whether through failing hardware or software that is no longer supported and is vulnerable to attack.
The cloud also provides a safe space to save all your data, but always make sure the provider in question has multiple data centres and keeps the data stored in Australia.
Using collaborative tools, such as Skype for Business, gives you the ability to communicate easily with your team outside of traditional methods.
A project doesn’t have to come to a grinding halt just because employees are out of the office. This is especially handy for accounting firms that have multiple offices, contractors or just want their different departments to interact more.
Collaboration software can also help decrease the number of phone calls and meetings needed as everyone is up to date on projects and tasks. Every time there’s a new version of a document, everyone can see and comment in real time. While in-person meetings remain important, frequent needless meetings can drain staff and the labour hours lost add up.
Employees can be sent out to a client’s business and work onsite to offer consulting services. This kind of flexibility allows you to have all information and applications on hand, build better relationships with clients, add more value, and ultimately generate a more mutually beneficial outcome.
Work/life balance is an important part of keeping happy employees and attracting quality candidates. The cloud can allow you to offer employees flexibility, whether that is working from home, working outside standard business hours or staggering starting times.
Company culture is one of the most important factors for a candidate when evaluating a job offer, and can give you that edge when trying to recruit that next employee superstar!
Overall, the right cloud platform can allow your accounting firm to step up its service offerings, create a more productive and collaborative office and attract the right employees.
Once you start looking at technology as an enabler and not an overhead, you will begin to grow your bottom line and gain a competitive advantage.