New Year, new opportunities | Our thoughts on what to watch out for in 2020

With the year quickly coming to a close, we’ve been turning our mind to what’s going to have the biggest impact on your business and your clients in 2020. Our word for the year? Leverage. Chances are you’ve already got a wealth of opportunity waiting for you, and it’s closer than you might think.

Here are our top three things to think about (and leverage) as we head into the new year.

  1. Customer first

With business becoming increasingly transactional and digital, it’s never been more important to remember who is behind the email. Regardless of whether you’re working with other businesses (B2B) or direct to customers (B2C), at the end of the day we’re all human, and putting your client first will make a big impact in an increasingly automated world. Find opportunities for personal reach outs, and implement a client contact program for client managers to ensure they’re touching base quarterly with key clients (even a simple “How’s it going call” can make a big impact!)

In action

Look for opportunities to personalise and play to client preferences wherever possible. Whether it’s adding first names in to your marketing emails, sending updates based on region / age or other demographic data, or keeping track of whether client’s prefer to receive snail mail over email, data segmentation and personalisation will have a big impact on maintaining relevance with your clients. The good news is that these “personalisations” aren’t hard to add to your automated processes. By way of example, ATOmate allows you to set client correspondence preferences. If you have a set of clients that prefer to receive correspondence by post, ATOmate will read this attribute from your Practice Management System and format the correspondence it generates automatically to suit the medium. Want to send a certain type of document in a different way to the norm? No worries – ATOmate makes it easy to switch between correspondence types as and when you need, giving you automated personalisation! Want to see it in action? You can book an online discovery session here.

2. It’s not all about the cloud

There is no denying that cloud technology has made a huge impact on the accounting industry – both in practice and for clients. There are huge benefits of course for clients and advisers utilising cloud general ledger platforms that have AI / machine learning features built in (thank you Xero suggested coding), but the benefits and opportunities extend far beyond into team communication, collaboration, marketing automation, and client engagement / management. That said, just because a solution is “in the cloud” doesn’t necessarily make it the best solution for you.

In action

You should be considering & researching the data security, integration options, and the adaptability of the solution to suit your needs. By way of example: low cost, off the shelf software products you can implement yourself may lack customisation and support features. Look out for solutions with robust integration options built in, or ask providers whether 3rd party connectors such as Zapier or Xeppo can help you integrate your server-based products. Don’t settle for work-arounds either, if a quick-fix cloud-based app only solves part of the problem but creates more admin or another system to maintain, keep searching for a more comprehensive tool.

3. Turning capacity into opportunity

With practice’s constantly implementing new technology solutions, and providers continuing to add enhancements and features designed to make your lives easier, you should be noticing some extra capacity across your team. Of course, if we aren’t careful it can quickly be absorbed by other repetitive / low value tasks, or people padding out work for fear of running dry – so focusing on proactive client engagement should be one of your key priorities. If you are looking to implement a process improvement or new technology solution, work with the provider to get an understanding of your savings from both a time and dollar point of view, and then short list tasks you might have been putting off in the face of more pressing to-dos (those urgent, but not necessarily important ones!).

In action

Projects we’ve seen clients kick off in the face of extra capacity range from CSA’s / administration staff assisting more with marketing assistant activities (eg organising monthly client newsletters) and even upskilling in coding / reconciliation / client information requests and management; through to accountants and client managers being charged with new service delivery and implementation, supported by monthly sales meetings – not something you see too often in accounting businesses!

Trends come and go, but we think you’ll find the biggest opportunities for your business in what you already have. By nurturing your current client relationships with personalised touch points, integrating new solutions with existing systems and processes to really get bang for your buck, and implementing new practice development or revenue raising initiatives as you do process improvements to ensure you’re turning time into opportunity; you’ll really set your practice up for real, long-term success.

Want to find out more about how ATOmate’s powerful customisation features can help you create personalised customer experiences while streamlining & standardising your ATO document processing? Book a discovery session for a time that suits you before or after the holidays, and we’ll show you how ATOmate can help your practice leverage the wealth of opportunity waiting for you.

Want more tips, tricks & tools to help your accounting practice take on tomorrow? Follow us on LinkedIn or sign up for our newsletter.

Stan Corner | ATOmate | www.businessautomationworks.com.au

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Stan Corner