Deeper relationships, more value
The cloud has revolutionised accounting, but by streamlining mundane and repetitive compliance activities, it’s enabled accountants to focus on providing proactive business growth advice. We’ve moved from bean-counter to business adviser.
Cloud accounting gives clients more accurate and real-time data at their fingertips – from anywhere with an internet connection – that can easily be shared with their accountant. It’s then up to the accountant to capitalise on the accurate and timely information to drive effective decision making and engage with clients more deeply, proactively and profitably.
So how do you ensure you’re not replaced by robots?
Look through your customers’ eyes
For my money, this is the ultimate way to go with the disruption flow. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull recently encouraged businesses to forget the money (for adopting new digital technologies) and serve customers first, as the profits will follow. This ethos underpins looking at your business through your customers’ eyes.
We owners can develop a rose-coloured view of things, but by putting your customer first and seeing things from their viewpoint, you’ll be more likely to service them in the way they want and develop a robust relationship.
Never be satisfied
Always look for ways you can service your customers better. How can you make their life easier? How can you give them exactly what they want? Because if you don’t ask these questions, you can be sure a competitor is – possibly one with a revolutionary way of meeting those needs. That’s as true for accountants as it is for other service industries.
What changes to your people, or what improvements to your processes – or totally new processes incorporating technology – are needed to continually keep your customers happy?
Go out and talk
One of the biggest tools for an accountant to stay relevant is also one of the easiest: Ask your customers.
It’s dangerous to presume what they want; go out and talk to them. Ask what they like about interacting with your business, and what their frustrations are. These insights can help you identify areas you need to improve, so you can plan for change.
Don’t limit yourself
If your mission, vision, core values or ‘why’ are too limited, you can cut yourself off from opportunities to harness new technologies to evolve, expand and diversify.
Ensure you use broad terminology, and use emotive language to go deeper than just what you currently do. For example, rather than just facilitate home loans, a mortgage broker makes the great Aussie dream come true.
Just as the abacus, calculator and computer have each transformed how accountants do our jobs, cloud accounting is but another branch on the evolutionary tree. Technology is a tool – and it’s up to us to seize the opportunity technology provides so we strengthen and deepen our customer relationships.
Good businesses don’t see technology as a threat. Good businesses have built strong relationships that will only be enhanced by embracing technology to improve the customer experience.