Are You Meeting Your Clients’ Expectations?
Making your clients happy is key to having a successful and thriving accounting practice. Your ability to meet their expectations directly impacts your firm’s reputation, referrals, and overall success. It also gives you a competitive advantage — firms that go above and beyond stand out against the rest.
But what exactly do your clients expect? We’ve compiled a list of the most common things below. We also encourage you to contact your clients directly; most are willing to share their expectations and how your firm is meeting them or missing the mark. Take the information you learn here, coupled with feedback, and re-evaluate your processes to ensure your firm delivers high-quality services.
Small mistakes can lead to major problems with taxes or audits, so it’s no surprise that accuracy is number one on the list. One of the last things clients – and you and your team – want is to go back and forth fixing errors on financial statements, tax returns, and other documents. Or worse, catching an error after something’s been filed. Having a document management system built for accountants that has things like file locking and version control can help you automatically maintain document accuracy. Your DMS should ensure only one person is editing a document at a time, and it should keep a history of versions. This helps you know you’re always working on the latest version. When you get things right the first time, it’ll build client confidence, leading to repeat business and referrals.
2. Speedy Service
Clients expect you to keep tasks on schedule to avoid the error-prone, stressful scrambling right before the due date. They also expect you to manage your workload well, promptly reply to their emails or phone calls, and deliver quality customer service. This shows clients that they’re a priority. A client portal for accounting firms – especially when integrated with a DMS – is a great tool to enhance client collaboration. You can send clients a request list of all the documents they need to submit, and they can upload everything securely online – from wherever they’re located in the world. And, your staff and clients can quickly access the documents they need to review, approve, and esign, which helps keep everyone aligned and moving forward.
3. Clear, Proactive Advice
Clients trust their accountants to confidently and accurately explain things to them in ways that are easy to comprehend (i.e., they don’t want to feel lost when you’re going through reports, documents, or issues). Taking the time to answer client questions thoroughly also builds trust, and clear communication keeps everyone aligned. Modern clients also want more from their accountants than preparing tax returns, like proactive recommendations on profit improvement, budgeting, growth opportunities, and more for their businesses. Ideally, you can be a partner throughout the year instead of someone they work with for a few months during tax season.
4. Efficient, Straightforward Processes
Clients want it to be simple to work with you. Having a centralized DMS for secure file sharing and collaboration between you and your clients is a game-changer. You can stop writing emails and attaching documents, for example, and instead quickly upload, organize, and share files with your clients through a client portal. This promotes collaboration, enhances overall efficiency, and eliminates frustrating back-and-forth communication. You’ll also want to create a streamlined client onboarding process so clients are set up for success from day one.
Leverage a DMS for Accounting Firms to Enhance Client Collaboration & Satisfaction
Meeting client expectations is a big commitment that is well worth the work. By focusing on the four items above – and the feedback you’ve received directly from your clients – you’ll show your clients that they are a valued partner, not just another source of revenue. This helps build long-lasting relationships, loyalty, more referrals, and a successful firm.
To enhance client collaboration – everything from securely sharing documents online to reviewing and esigning documents – your firm needs a document management system and client portal. Over 3 million people use SmartVault’s platform. Find out why SmartVault is right for your firm in a personalized demo.