6th September, 2016
There’s been a lot of talk around accountants moving away from compliance work and into the consulting space.
The reasons and benefits are clear. Compliance work has low profit margins and clients are asking for more proactive services, but what technology does an accounting firm need to make that leap into consulting?
Probably one of the most important aspects of consulting is the ability to visit a client onsite and work with them from their office. Just by being present in their space you’re already establishing trust and answering general questions throughout the day you’re actually beginning the consulting process.
A cloud platform gives you the ability to work from anywhere without compromising on data security, which can be a big issue if you’re storing your clients’ data.
It can also increase productivity as a good cloud provider will handle updates outside of business hours and take care of time consuming activities like updating software licenses, meaning your staff have more time to focus on consulting.
Collaboration between staff is key to moving into the consulting space and the right technology can help you achieve this.
Tools like Skype for Business and Slack allow staff to communicate easily, whether they are in the office or working from home, and it also allows you to communicate with your clients.
The problem lies in making collaboration an easy process, if working together on a project is an arduous task for employees, they will avoid it. The solution to this is to make collaboration an easy and enjoyable process. Use the Cloud and collaboration tools together to enable employees to work together anytime, anywhere.
Having solid Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is essential to offering consulting services to you clients.
The ability to manage your database, your agreements and keep general information on your clients is so important to not only your staff conducting the consulting services, but also your admin and support staff so they can correctly bill the client.
There are plenty of options out there from CRMs that range from giants like Salesforce to free applications such as HubSpot CRM. Do you research, read reviews and take some free trials, you’re bound to find one that fits your business.
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With all the in-house knowledge they possess, the majority of accounting firms could move into the consulting space today, but many are held back by lack of confidence in their staff and their ability to engage their clients.
By implementing the right technology you can empower your staff, harness their collective knowledge, build better relationships with clients, add more value, and ultimately generate a higher profit margin through consulting.