Developments in technology are changing our everyday lives. The economy and the ways we do business have been transformed. Financial professionals are seeing innovations in technology change client demands, employment practices, and business operations. CPAs aren’t immune to the impacts. We know you’re feeling the pressure, and we’re here to help you keep pace with the speed of change.
You’re not alone
Keeping up with the newest tech and consumer demands is not as easy for every CPA, especially if you’re a solo practitioner or a small firm. Attracting new clients, staying up-to-date with the software, optimizing for mobile devices, and managing cash flows and late payments can all become overwhelming. Many CPAs admit to having a very hard time keeping up with large firms and their ability to adapt to the rapid changes in technology, market trends, and client expectations. According to a recent survey by IFAC Global SMP, a couple of the most difficult challenges for small and mid-sized accounting practices are:
• Technology developments (38 percent)
• Pressure to lower fees (48 percent)
One of the most challenging technology developments for solo CPA is the increased competition from online tax services. These services often provide more convenient communication platforms for clients and lower rates. This drives at the second, and larger, issue expressed in the survey: Pressure to lower fees. Today, along with managing and operating daily business operations, CPAs are expected to provide the same conveniences and 24/7 access that consumers have become accustomed to through the use of online portals and other digital tools.
“As new tools augment our profession and streamline certain tasks, accountants will not only have to embrace new ways of working but take on expanded roles—as data analysts and other specialists,” said Deloitte CEO Cathy Engelbart, in Accounting Today. “Being a solo CPA or sole proprietor now means not only being a great CPA, but also requires the flexibility to adopt new systems and the analytical skills necessary to optimize performance.”
If you’re one of the CPAs experiencing pressure to lower prices, then a good first step is to enhance the services you provide with technology that adds value for your clients. There are tools designed specifically for small to mid-size CPA firms that can improve your clients’ experience, increase your own productivity, and help even the playing field with larger firms.
Some areas prime for optimization are client communications and giving your clients options to easily pay you with credit, debit, or electronic checks online or in your office. Let’s dive into some of the opportunities advances in financial and business technology provide:
Virtual Assistant Solutions
We’re biased, but it’s because we’ve witnessed first-hand how much a virtual assistant can help solo and small CPA firms. Not only do virtual assistants field incoming calls and schedule appointments, but they can also prepare documents, accept payments over the phone, and even scan and forward mail. With the help of an HiLivePro virtual assistant for the financial industry, you can keep your sights on the bigger picture items while the tedious tasks that eat up your day get taken care of by experienced professionals.
Many Officense clients can attest to seeing results almost instantly. One particular financial advisor has seen conversion rates skyrocket since adding HiLivePro virtual assistants to her intake process. While previously clients would leave a voicemail and often wait several days for a response, now HiLivePro’s team of assistants will answer live calls and book consultations on the spot. The Baltimore based firm has seen conversion rates for new callers climb from around 35% to nearly double in their first month using an HiLivePro live answer receptionist.
We know what you are thinking; scheduling and live answer are great, but how will this integrate with my lead tracking software and how do I catch these new leads before they call? Beyond phone answering services, HiLivePro back office support extends to services such as data entry, CRM management, and 24/7 live web chat. With customizable live chat services, our agents will respond to your website visitors through instant web chat, turning them from window shoppers to clients in no time. Many CPAs request that customer information is entered directly into a CRM or sales funnel when calls are received. We’ll not only enter customer data but can also assist with the optimization of CRM fields and retargeting strategies, based on our over 10 years’ experience in the industry.
The resources and amenities provided by HiLivePro are what every CPA needs to beat the competition and reach their potential.