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Renovating client interaction – what drives it?

driving

In our opinion there are many drivers affecting the accountancy market and forcing businesses to change the way they interact with clients.  Two of the most prominent are digital presence and professional and value added services:

Digital presence – The rise in competitive commerce markets has meant that businesses are being forced to embrace approaches that provide clients not only with easy online interactions but also to attract clients to their door (social media, online payments, modern user interfaces etc.).  This is having a knock-on effect to their own service providers, such as accountancy practices’ adoption of cloud technology, where their offerings will also be judged against their client’s own best practice approach.

Professional and value-added services – In recent years the emergence of professional service firms is a result from a growing demand from businesses for specialist advice to help them achieve business advantage in an increasingly competitive market place.  This demand has raised questions in the mind of some, about how to approach “assurance” clients where an accounting firm issues an “assurance” opinion (such as an audit opinion, a review opinion or a compilation report in respect of the financial statements).  There has been much written by ICAEW regarding audit and non-audit fees and whether a firm’s independence is compromised, with their general conclusion being that non audit work does not compromise a firm, click here for more on their thoughts.

 


Accountants recognise that a great majority of their clients are changing and the advent of technology removes much of the “art” of bookkeeping and thus revenue streams.  We all can see that ethical behaviour plays a vital role in ensuring that accountancy firms remain the “trusted business advisor”, retaining trust in financial reporting and business practices and upholding the reputation of the accountancy profession, something sadly lacking in the financial services world.

Most commercial firms seek to monetise their client base and increase clients spend with them, and accountants should be no different.  This could be achieved in several ways; having a partner network that pays a commission for referred business for example, or by creating a ‘sticky’ business by offering a wider portfolio of services to attract new clients and reduce the churn of existing ones.  Accountancy practices need to embrace this approach and seek additional revenue streams that will keep their practice in business.

Looking at multiple websites, many firms are already working with “partners”, whereby they provide an introductory service for their clients without providing advice or recommendation with the ultimate decision residing with the client.

This is exactly the ethos we are embracing with FloFunder, which enables accountancy practices to “invite” their clients on both sides of a transaction, both funder and seller, onto an online market place for alternative invoice finance without “responsibility” or compromising their ethical and fiduciary responsibilities.

At the end of the day, those practices that actively contribute to the business success of their clients by bring additional value will most likely remain in business in the longer term.