Get inside your clients’ heads and understand their expectations so you can build a better reputation as an independent firm and enjoy long-term customer relationships. 

We’ll explore some of the recent research and opinions surrounding what clients really want, how this informs their business practices and how firms can meet client expectations better. Find out how you can provide your clients with the following in this article:

  • Confidence and peace of mind
  • Well prepared for the future
  • Self-sufficiency
  • Time efficiency

Confidence and peace of mind

You probably predicted this expectation to be high on our list, if not number one. However, it’s important to reframe your thinking around this expectation as more of a ‘need’ than a ‘want’.

Accountancy, and especially tax compliance, can be a complex task and present a considerable challenge to some new entrepreneurs – if even to establish the self-discipline of setting aside time to perform it. While clients might not necessarily always know what to do, they know to achieve tax-compliant at the least, even if their books aren’t always the tidiest. 

In reality, some of your freshest entrepreneurs may struggle with the very basics of accurately collating receipt and invoice records, with proficiency in differing accounting methods and familiarity with depreciation, equity, and more notwithstanding. And so, as an accountant, it’s important to be able to cater to a variety of mathematical, legal, and entrepreneurial abilities when meeting new clients.

You should consider scheduling several early onboarding appointments to gauge clients’ accountancy abilities and understand where their needs are more acute. Not only can this lighten your workload later in the financial year when Self Assessment season comes around, but it can also be a good way to demonstrate your concern and care in helping their business succeed – giving them the confidence and peace of mind they seek.

Well prepared for the future

Managing a business means navigating the unknown, and understandably, many clients want to be as well prepared as possible. Specifically, clients want help in building growth projections and managing their cash flow.

While there isn’t a single silver bullet to solve any one business’ problem, helping clients understand common pitfalls facing small businesses and their options to overcome them can provide them with actionable and insightful solutions to their problems. Fortunately, your accountancy firm is also well-placed to help clients manage other areas of their business: including how they can develop new products and services, and critically, how their finances underpin the success of their strategy.

However, clients’ concern for future-proofing also includes external forces to their business, including legislative changes and evolving technological demands. Currently, some of the most pressing challenges facing UK industry are the fallout from Brexit and subsequent increase in operational costs, as well as the forthcoming MTD deadlines and changing work landscape from software tools and flexible working arrangements.

Prompting conversations with clients to take a more holistic view of their finances at earlier stages can help them develop more robust enterprises.

Self-sufficiency 

In a similar vein, the best accountant-client relationship is where you can instil confidence back to your clients in meeting the demands of their business on their own.

Whether this comes from years of trading experience or dedicating their time to learn accountancy, building clients’ financial confidence will help them generate their own peace of mind and make your relationship more productive.

This is especially salient as clients’ businesses transition from sole traders into limited companies. In order for them to carry out their office’s duties adequately or seek more complex financing methods at this stage, clients will need to be reasonably competent with the financial side of their business. Therefore, no matter the stage of their business’ development or your shared relationship, helping clients establish financial competency will help them be better entrepreneurs.

Time efficiency

Almost every one of your clients will thank you for pointing them in the direction of time-saving tools to use in their business – in particular integrated accounting solutions like Countingup.

Countingup is the business current account with free accounting software, supplying a two-in-one accounting solution built with small businesses and their accountants in mind. Countingup automates time-consuming bookkeeping admin for your clients so they can focus on running their business.

Counting comes with features for instant invoicing, automatic expense categorisation, a receipt capture tool and cash flow insights – equipping your clients with more insight into how their business is performing and allowing them to run their accounts while on the go. The app also calculates tax estimates across their trading so they’re not left anxious about sudden or large tax liabilities to HMRC. Countingup’s accounting software is also MTD-compatible and makes sharing VAT returns easier and more accurate – future-proofing their trading.

Countingup provides a parallel software for financial professionals through our accountant’s hub. It allows your clients to share their records with you quickly and securely and enjoy direct access to their financial data. With complete digital integration of their business records, you can also save time by receiving accurate and pre-structured data to work with upon arrival.

Give your clients peace of mind and hours back to each of your lives. Find out more here.

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