In a recent webinar presented by Accounting Today, a list of top 5 trends in the accounting industry for 2016 were identified:
#5 Total Client Service
This is the process of creating a relationship with your customers in which you are perceived as adding value to their business, instead of being seen as a necessary evil. To do this, Samantha suggests that firms transition from a traditional fee structure of after delivery billing to a more forward thinking form of Value Pricing. Value Pricing refers to the practice of constant, predictable billing that allows accounting firms to evolve into the role of consultant. This focus on perceived value and the ongoing conversations that it will promote allows for constant communication, even if that is only in the form of a monthly bill, and creates benefits for both parties. Because customers are billed up front, they no longer need to worry about being nickel and dimed to death, and firms are able to smooth out their monthly cash flow.
#4 Social Media
This conversation goes beyond what has come to be considered the traditional Social Media outlets to now include sites like Glassdoor. It is important for firms to realize that they no longer exercise complete control over the hiring process – it is now a two-way street in which prospective hires scrutinize the company as carefully as the firm vets job candidates. The presenters cautioned participants to make certain that their internet reputation matches the reality of working at the firm. They went so far as to suggest that management encourage current employees to rate the firm at sites like Glassdoor in an effort to negate any potentially damaging evaluations that might appear.
#3 Technical Integration
While this can mean many things, the primary focus here is on the implementation of a common database that allows users access across your firm’s platform of applications. In the past, when new employees and clients were brought onboard, all of their pertinent information had to be input into the system multiple times. In addition to that initial pain, performance and billing data might be spread out all over a firm’s system. That’s no longer the case. Merging all of this across a single platform is an opportunity for a firm to eliminate a major point of pain.
#2 Digital Mobility
When thinking about Digital Mobility, the ability to access work materials anytime, anywhere, it is important to recognize that, especially for your youngest team members, this is a firmly ingrained habit. Digital mobility is seen by most as a chance for firms to take advantage of some key growth areas, including new revenue opportunities, service speed and better response to customer demands. It’s just how we get things done now. With that in mind, the primary concern ought to be in making certain that the information that leaves your internal network is secure.
#1 Talent Management
This refers to an opportunity for firms to create and maintain a cohesive culture while avoiding the $15,000 – $20,000 average cost of bringing in new talent. More specifically, this is a conversation about the need for firms to explore the possibility of looking inward to fill current and future needs. Good Talent Management strategies include the selection and training of potential candidates and the process of coaching them through for the advancement of personal and institutional growth goals.
Where does your firm fall on this list?
For many in attendance, instant polling data showed some serious gaps.
If your group also lags behind here, maybe it’s time to start having the hard conversations that will be needed in order to get you better up to speed.
After all, the tides of change are rising.
You don’t want to be left on the shore when the rest of the fleet sails.