Implementing modern accounting practice management software makes a huge difference for accounting professionals. We’ve dedicated more than a few blog posts to how modern software saves you time, helps you get more organized, and rescues you from the monotony of repetitive tasks like collecting client data and filling out endless forms.
But accounting practice management software isn’t just useful for you, it’s also useful for your clients. In this post, we are taking a look at common experiences clients have when working with an accountant and how Canopy can help a firm provide an improved client experience.
Common client experiences
Canopy Kim and old-school Owen are two remarkably similar accounting professionals. They live in similar cities, serve similar clients, and offer similar services. The biggest difference is the practice management software they use. Owen prefers doing things the old-fashioned way, and Kim is a Canopy user.
An old-school client experience approach
Owen’s newest client, Adam, lives far enough away from Owen’s firm that meeting face-to-face is impractical. So, Owen sends Adam an email detailing all the information Owen needs in order to start working on Adam’s case. He’ll give Adam a few days to gather the necessary information and then follow up with a phone call.
When Adam checks his email in the morning, he is greeted with an overwhelming list of information, documents, and IRS forms he needs to fill out and send back to Owen. Adam keeps a lot of documents on his computer, but he knows that emailing sensitive information can be so risky, but he doesn’t know how to encrypt email, so he prints off the documents. He’ll need to take them somewhere to fax them later. First, Adam starts filling out the IRS forms.
After a long, frustrating session trying to decipher the IRS forms, Adam gives up on trying to fill them out himself. They don’t make any sense, and he doesn’t want to fill anything out incorrectly. He’ll have to ask Owen about them during their scheduled phone chat later in the week.
A few days later, Adam spends almost an hour on the phone with Owen. He has quite a few questions, and Owen has to walk him through most of the process verbally. Owen feels like he explained everything clearly in the first email, but there’s nothing to do now except spend the time explaining it all again. So much for getting to the dozen of other tasks he was supposed to finish that afternoon.
At the end of the phone call, Adam promises to fax the necessary documents over soon. Owen knows from experience that “soon” means “I’ll procrastinate for the next two weeks, then call to ask for the instructions all over again.” Adam hangs up the phone, a bit frustrated and still confused. Owen thinks to himself that there has to be a better way to work with clients.
A modern client experience approach
When starting a case, Kim likes to meet face-to-face with her clients whenever possible. However, her newest client, Carmen, lives halfway across the country. That means Kim will be working on Carmen’s case remotely—not a problem since she’ll be using Canopy.
When Carmen does her morning email check, she finds an invitation from Kim to create her Canopy client account. The process is simple, and within minutes she’s using her personal Canopy client portal to fill out the information and upload the documents Kim will need. The questions are a snap since it only asks Carmen relevant questions and explains the accounting jargon Carmen is unfamiliar with. Uploading the documents is even easier. All she has to do is drag and drop the documents into her portal.
Later that afternoon, Carmen gets a phone call from Kim. In addition to making sure her experience with Canopy went well, she wants to verify some of the information she provided and also remind her to upload one last document she needs.
“I’ve set a reminder in your portal so you can remember which document I still need,” Kim says. “Any questions or problems I can help with?”
“No actually. This was a lot simpler than I expected.” Carmen logs into her portal while she’s still on the phone with Kim and uploads the document before the end of the conversation. Kim can keep working on Carmen’s case, and neither Carmen nor Kim wasted unnecessary time.
For more information on effective client management, check out this blog post about simple ways to manage clients efficiently.
What kind of experience do you want your clients to have with your accounting firm?
You can do everything right—provide excellent customer service, clearly explain your expectations and what you need from the client, follow up and support your client through every step—and the process can still be tedious and frustrating for your client. Without the aid of modern practice management software, there’s only so much you can do.
Canopy is designed to bridge that gap. Our software makes providing a great customer experience easy and intuitive. That means less time on the phone explaining terms, less time waiting for documents, and more time actually fixing the client’s problem. For a personalized demo of Canopy, sign up here and a product specialist will give you a walkthrough of our Practice Management suite.