We can expect every industry to have changed due to COVID-19 and the accounting sector is no exception. Accountants and their clients have become accustomed to digital processes and anticipate a future based on an experience none of us could have imagined happening.

This guide will help accounting firms adapt to the post-pandemic business environment, covering the following topics:

  • What can accounting firms expect post-pandemic?
  • Ways to meet client expectations:
    • Embrace technology that supports remote working
    • Nurture existing client relationships
    • Focus on the customer experience
    • Apply data analytics for a tailored service
    • Use social media to inform and connect with clients
    • Leverage client-focused accounting software

What can accounting firms expect post-pandemic?

The virus created a pressing need to enable remote work at scale across all industries. In accounting, top-line revenues are driven by chargeable hours, making it important to maintain employee productivity while working from home. 

Additionally, accounting has been known for its in-person client interaction, meaning accounting firms faced unique challenges as they transitioned into the online world.

What’s also becoming clear is that the post-pandemic world will focus on delivering value at lower costs, redefining business models and workspaces. COVID-19 also acted as a digital accelerator, meaning accounting firms must create new technology-driven services to please their clients. There’s also a new need to respond with agility to recent trends and regulatory changes.

To stay competitive, accounting firms must embrace technology, optimise their service offering and costs, and focus on improving the employee and customer experience. 

Below you’ll find several ways accounting firms can enhance their services to stay relevant and enhance growth post-pandemic.

Embrace technology that supports remote working

Managing a remote team and client base can be incredibly challenging without the right tools. Thankfully, the rise in demand for digital solutions has created a boom in cloud-based management apps available. Since 94% of accountants have adopted cloud accounting, it’s high time to join the club if you haven’t already.

Slack is a tool that’s growing in popularity among accountants, which allows you to discuss your targets and keep track of the progress of specific accounts. Slack lets you control everything under one roof.

Remote working in some form is a serious option for accounting firms going forward, with 72.7% saying they’d expand or continue their current Work From Home policies. If this is you, make sure you select a combination of tools that make remote operations seamless and easy.

Nurture existing client relationships

The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, compared to 5-20% with a new prospect. Additionally, existing clients will also spend 31% more when compared to new customers.

These numbers indicate that accounting firms are wise to include existing clients in their business development programs to succeed in the new business climate. Instead of assuming that clients know all about what you offer simply because it’s on your website, reach out to them and tell them about services that could help them. Selling to existing clients not only increases the likelihood of success but also enhances your relationship with them. 

Additionally, if you have a blog, podcast, email newsletters or other communications, remember to cater some content to your existing client base. Share your expertise and use these platforms to keep clients informed about your firm and what you offer.

Focus on the customer experience

According to PwC research, 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience. The more expensive the item, the more they are willing to pay.

Crunching numbers is no longer enough to keep the modern client happy. Accounting firms need to focus on providing an excellent all-around customer experience through quality work, straightforward communication and seamless online experiences. 

Especially in a remote world, make sure it’s easy for your prospects and clients to communicate with you, access important information and collaborate with your firm. Focus on making your clients’ lives easier, for example, by:

  • Using chatbots on your website to answer simple questions or connect visitors with a member of your firm for more complex inquiries.
  • Leveraging technology like Countingup that allows clients securely and directly share their financial data with you using their mobile devices. 
  • Updating your website with an attractive and user-friendly layout, engaging and useful copy and a mobile-friendly design. Make sure potential clients can easily find your contact information, schedule an appointment, download free resources, and so on.

Apply data analytics to provide a tailored service

Data-driven by default, accountants can significantly improve the efficiency of their client’s business processes by harnessing the power of data. With data analytics, accountants can discover valuable financial insights, mitigate risks and recognise potential opportunities for process improvement.

Data analytics has become increasingly essential for businesses. This means accountants have been given a unique opportunity to differentiate themselves from the competition and future-proof their careers by becoming data experts.

During tax season, data analytics can help you evaluate tax codes, reduce instances of fraud and monitor budget and tax expenses. This can save you valuable time, money, and even potential stress. Using data analytics during the tax process can also help you create better, more detailed financial reports that you can use to improve business performance.

Use social media to inform and connect with clients

Did you know that over half the people in the world spend time online, and 3.8 billion of those are active on social media platforms? 

You can use social media to share valuable insights about current trends, promote a new service offering, start a conversation among your followers, or speak to prospects and clients more casually. 

Additionally, research shows that almost three-quarters of clients who had positive experiences with companies on social media tend to spread the word to family and friends. As such, social media has become a powerful tool that accounting firms can use to promote their business and communicate with potential and existing clients. 

Leverage client-focused accounting software 

Start using accounting software that makes it easier to manage small business clients. Clients with a Countingup business current account are always connected to your Countingup accounting software, giving you instant access to your client’s real-time transaction data.

Countingup is an accounting software package that is ideal for working with small clients and sole traders. The software is full of features and real-time organised data that help you review and manage client accounts efficiently. 

Improve your profit margins on self-employed clients with Countingup

You can save your practice time on manual admin and help your clients keep organised records with Countingup’s free accounting software. It’s built specifically to help you manage your self-employed and sole trader clients. Our software is MTD-compatible and full of features for accountants to review and manage client accounts efficiently, with direct access to their real-time organised data. Find out more here.

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