How Firms Can Take Advantage of New Technology and Resources

Ferrone & Associates CPAsBlog

During this last year, we have learned so much about managing our remote workforce, rethinking the scope and delivery of our services, and about new and new-to-us resources and tools that have helped us transition and adapt.

There is no argument that established, virtual firms had a leg up on the competition. Although it may seem that we have made it through the initial part of the crisis, we still have a long road ahead of us. Now is the time for firms to seek out resources and implement tools to bolster team engagement and streamline client processes and communication.

Promote Team Engagement

Staying connected and engaged with your team is a real challenge in a virtual firm. Fortunately, there are tools and resources to help stay organized, on-task, and in touch with the rest of the team. Even better, many of these tools are included in the business management software suites of apps your firm already uses and are relatively easy to set up and implement. Resources such as Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts and Groups, and Slack can be useful to improve communication in your firm.

Reinvent Your Client Experience

The most impactful change we’ve experienced during the pandemic is the loss of in-person meetings. The reality is that our clients have a wide range of technical aptitudes, and what may seem simple and easy to use to some can seem overwhelming and difficult to others. It’s up to us to design a client experience that is as easy as possible and makes our clients feel comfortable. One way to do this is by proactively communicating your expectations and providing support to help them acclimate.

Ways you can help your clients feel comfortable using technology to communicate with you include:

  • Creating both a written and a visual guide to share with your clients before they join a meeting
  • Be patient and have screenshots of their experience ready and on hand to help
  • Allow extra time for technical difficulties during each meeting.
  • Offer online training webinars where you introduce new technology and processes to your clients and record them so you can share the video with them to review afterward.

Streamline Your Processes

By taking the time upfront to set up automated processes and templates, you can provide superior service without much on-going effort. Taking advantage of these automations can free up time to improve your client’s experience. Below is a list of easy to implement automation you can set up now to help you stay on track during the busy season while still delivering stellar service to your clients:

  1. Create canned email templates for frequently asked questions and requests.
  2. Create predefined folder templates for your document management software.
  3. Utilize templates and other resources from your associations and partners. The AICPA has a whole library of free letter templates and workflow templates available to its members.

Conclusion: The 2020 pandemic has changed the way we do business, and our clients depend on us to lead the way. We hope these tips and tools will make your journey just a bit easier.

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