No matter the size or maturity of your firm, you can use automation to leverage your workflow, boost your customer service level, increase overall efficiency, and enhance personal interaction. 

This guide will focus on how you leverage automation to streamline your client onboarding process.

Benefits of automation in the onboarding process

As you know, client onboarding can be a long-winded and tedious process, especially if you don’t have efficient procedures and tools in place. You’ll also be aware that automation has the power to speed up the process significantly. 

Automating various stages of client onboarding could cut the time down from several days to just a few minutes. This means you can onboard more clients faster while still having lots of time to focus on your other duties. No need to forgo new opportunities!

Aside from increased speed and efficiency, automation also brings the following benefits:

  • Improved regulatory compliance
  • Enhanced customer experiences
  • Higher customer satisfaction and retention rates.
  • Increased accuracy of data processing –– no need to repeat the same steps
  • Better overview leading to fewer bottlenecks

Automating client onboarding operations helps accountants build credibility with clients without wasting significant resources. Being able to navigate the ever-evolving business climate of emerging companies and technological challenges will empower your firm to stay competitive.

How to automate client onboarding

Your firm has probably already automated a lot of your processes, but here are a few parts of the client onboarding you can automate now to increase efficiency.

Use digital contracts

Paper-based documents might feel more professional since they’re traditional, but the truth is that having paper contracts can add several bottlenecks to your onboarding process. For example, if you sign a client that lives in a different city to you. You’ll either have to send the contract for them to sign it and send it back. This process can take several days or even a couple of weeks.

Using digital contracts with e-signatures means a client can instantly complete a contract with just a few clicks. If more than one party needs to sign it, you can easily repeat the process down the line, and everyone can sign off in seconds. Not only does this save admin time, but it dramatically shortens the sales cycle. 

Have a pre-written welcome packet

Providing a welcome package that combines information with personality is an excellent way to reassure your client they made the right choice in signing with you. While you want your welcome packets to be tailored to each client, having a pre-written template with room for customisation is much faster than writing them from scratch. 

Here’s what you should always include in your welcome packet:

  • A welcome message
  • Service package overview
  • Communication details
  • Process overview
  • Client guidelines
  • Next steps
  • Tools and resources

Use online questionnaires

Sending client questionnaires will help you assess their needs and requirements without even needing to take a meeting. Online survey makers like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms allow you to ask as many questions as you’d like and design the questionnaires, so they align with your firm’s image.

Don’t go overboard with questions when creating your questionnaire to avoid overloading your new client with work. Remember, the easier you make things for them, the more likely they are to want you as their accountant. So, only include key questions you need to know when onboarding them. Save the other questions for later.

Use a booking system

Is there anything more tedious than emailing back and forth trying to find a time that works for both you and your new client? 

Booking systems like Calendly allow you to sidestep this roadblock since clients can book a time with you themselves and automatically add it to their calendar. These systems only show time slots you have available, so you’re never double-booked. Calendly also has a Zoom integration and can automatically create a Zoom meeting, so all you have to do is be on time.

Transcribe your meetings and calls

It’s always good to take notes during a client meeting to make sure you don’t miss key points that they bring up. But it’s easy to miss something, and your notes might also be difficult to relay to people you work with. 

Instead, ask your client if you can record the meeting to make sure you don’t miss anything (they usually don’t mind) and transcribe the call afterwards. Programs like Otter.ai can transcribe your calls verbatim, even differentiating between different voices. Recording and transcribing your calls allows you to listen intently to your client and be more engaged

Save time on sole trader clients with Countingup

Once you’ve automated your client onboarding process, you can save your practice more time on manual admin by helping your clients keep organised records with Countingup’s free accounting software. It’s built specifically to help practices manage self-employed and sole trader clients.

Your clients get access to an exclusively great value business current account that takes the strain out of essential bookkeeping.

If you’re looking to receive structured client data in real-time, without continually chasing for boxes of receipts, you’ll find Countingup a breath of fresh air as a fully MTD compatible software that frees up your time to focus on running your business.

Discover more about the advantages of Countingup here.

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