Building a future-fit practice: Embracing a digital future

Accountancy firms and the clients they serve operate in a rapidly changing world. Is your firm future-fit? Does it keep pace in today’s complex operating environment or are you constantly playing catch-up?

In the last instalment, we considered the importance of being aware of the changes taking place in the world around your practice as you create a future-fit business. While the macro-environment may be outside your control, there are steps you can take within your practice to meet these challenges.

Root out time-wasting manual processes

Which day-to-day activities drain time and energy out of your practice, bring low returns and add little value to your business and clients? Identify them and automate them.

Automating routine data entry and calculations frees time for your team to do more of what they’re expert at: having conversations with your clients and supporting their business ambitions. This is more rewarding work in every sense, boosting both employee satisfaction and your bottom line.

Ormerod Rutter Chartered Accountants, in business for over 35 years, make reliable technology a priority. It supports the efficient deployment of resources:

“We have data we can trust and a technology platform that supports our team in maximising their proficiency. They can be at their most productive in adding value to clients and providing a competitively priced service that guarantees compliance – all with the accelerated speed of delivery today’s clients expect.”

Select a technology partner with strong connections to the industry and HMRC. Importantly, in times of rapid change, check that your chosen partner has a clear roadmap for their technology and communicates the impact of planned developments from an operational perspective. Being able to plan in detail and with confidence, knowing you’re not going to run out of road, is paramount.

Embrace a cloud-shaped future

Being future-fit means increasing efficiency, opening up channels for easier collaboration with clients and cost-effectively delivering better service. Cloud solutions give practice teams and clients access to critical data from any location and at any time.

With cloud-based tools such as CCH OneClick you can easily connect, communicate and collaborate with clients to collect information, exchange documents and gain approvals. You can be ‘open all hours’ as busy clients access information at their convenience over their smartphone, including past returns. Your team no longer has to act as an on-call archive service and the precious minutes previously spent fulfilling requests for information quickly mount up.

For Haigh & Co, a major benefit of CCH OneClick is that it maintains a record of payments and refunds:

“We no longer have to check with the client or with HMRC. We have greater visibility as the information is all recorded. This is proving a great time-saver and it’s our strategy to encourage as many clients as possible to move over to this way of working.”

Similarly, Twinfield gives your clients online – and therefore mobile – access to detailed financial information wherever they happen to be working. Recommend Twinfield and you’ll be helping clients to access scalable software that helps in maintaining financial control of their growing business. Twinfield links to CCH Accounts Production, so if you use this software, you’ll be able to view the client’s live financial position and give better advice on business-critical decisions.

There’s no doubt that having a modern and flexible IT infrastructure equips you to adapt swiftly to changing market conditions. Keep your technology strategy under review and explore the opportunities presented by innovative cloud solutions.

Download our Managing Change – how to build a practice fit for future growth whitepaper. It’s a must-read for practices looking to leverage automation and integration to drive growth and efficiency.

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