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5 Cornerstones of a Consistent Client Experience that Delivers Maximum Efficiency

Published: July 5, 2023
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Guest Blog By Dawn Brolin, CPA, CFE 

Clients are the lifeblood of any accounting practice, of any business for that matter! Ensuring that you have the most efficient and consistent client experience possible will make your firm more productive and profitable now and in the future.  

For me, locking down my client experience and leveraging SmartVault from onboarding through every step of my workflow process continues to be a critical component of my success. It’s also been integral to my ability to scale my firm without having to add layers of staff or unnecessary technologies to keep my team and my clients happy. Here are a few pointers to help you implement efficient processes and the right technologies to make your client experience smooth and stress-free.

1. Determine the key workflows you need to create for your end-to-end client experience.

For example, in my tax workflow outlined below, each step that involves my client is automated or, at the very least, has a standardized process that optimizes our time and technology: 

  • Our client contacts the office at Powerful Accounting. 
  • Our admin sets the client up in SmartVault. 
  • The admin books 15 minutes on my calendar to quote the engagement. 
  • Our client accepts the quote.  
  • Admin sends a custom client organizer and an invitation to SmartVault. 
  • The client organizer is returned, and our admin adds the client to Liscio and Lacerte. 
  • We import the client from Lacerte into SmartVault. 
  • Then it’s time to collect the documents, which we do using the Request Doc feature in SmartVault. 

2. Communicate your specific onboarding and service-specific workflows.

Once you have your workflows mapped out, you can then communicate them to your client and your team. What we outlined above is just one example of how we work with our clients to help them maximize the benefit of collaborating in the cloud with our firm. One of the biggest payoffs of having a streamlined, technology-driven client experience from the get-go is to have our clients immediately see how efficient, secure, and seamless the process is when they work with us, which is critical when it comes to client retention and satisfaction. It also provides our clients with a great deal of confidence and convenience, meaning they’ll want to keep doing business with us and refer their friends, family, and professional contacts to us! 

3. Take advantage of the benefits of using a document management system that’s built for accounting firms as part of your client experience workflow.

As you can see above, SmartVault is a central part of my tax workflow and just about every other client service workflow in my firm. I have been using SmartVault for almost 12 years, and it truly is the backbone of our tech stack, making delivering an amazing client experience super simple.

Why do I keep SmartVault as a central part of my client experience workflows? Quite simply because it covers all of the bases that an accounting and tax firm like mine needs including: 

  • The security necessary to keep in compliance with all regulations regarding safeguarding client data and to ensure that only those who need access to specific documents have it. 
  • An intuitive interface for my team and my clients to make it easy to onboard new staff and clients while also making mapping and customizing workflows a breeze! 
  • Integration with key applications in my firm such as Lacerte for tax, DocuSign for e-signature, and soon, Financial Cents, which I use for practice management.

4. Emphasize efficient document intake and management to enhance your client experience.

An essential part of the client experience is, of course, gathering documents from clients. After all, nothing happens without the proper documents for most engagements. Being able to create a templated folder structure for efficient document intake and management through the full client experience workflow is an immensely valuable time saver for me and my team. This makes SmartVault an even more valuable tool. Plus if needed, we can customize every step of the process with reminders, checklists, and document-level access controls as well as encryption on both ends of the file transfer. All of these are amazing value-adds for our clients and our team!

5. Make chasing client signatures a thing of the past!

Another pivotal piece of the client experience is getting documents signed. From proposals, to engagement letters, and tax returns SmartVault eSignature, powered by an integration with DocuSign, creates truly productivity-boosting time savings for our firm and our clients alike. No more chasing down client signatures or handling painful paper documents! Plus, the security of having sensitive documents signed in a secure environment where we are notified of the execution of engagements, tax and other forms, and more is indispensable.

Learn How to Create a Better Client Experience in this Webinar

In today’s business environment having an exceptional client experience truly can be a game-changer for your firm by creating value for your existing clients, efficiency for your team, and a true differentiator for prospective clients.  If you are ready to break down bottlenecks and put best practices in place to provide an exceptional client experience, I invite you to take a first-hand look at how I have implemented the client experience processes I outlined above.

Join me for a put-it-into-your-practice webinar that will show you how using SmartVault and its powerful technology integrations can create a client experience that sets your firm apart and saves the sanity of you and your team all year long. Register now!