Clients are more than happy to be lead by their accountant as to what accounting software choices they should make, and most expect awareness of cloud options.
This is quite a statement but comes off the back of some recent research we completed with 50 SME clients across the UK as part of an ongoing look at how clients experience the service of their accountants.
Over 60% said that they picked their current software on the basis of recommendation from their accountant, with a real mixture of en premise and online options selected. And most were open or were looking at cloud options on the basis that they perceived greater flexibility, reduced cost, and faith that a development roadmap would reduce upgrade issues.
20% said that they had actually introduced a software option to their accountant – citing Xero and FreeAgent as the main two. This group also indicated that their accountant was open and willing to use whatever they were using, and this was an influencing factor on why they engaged them for services.
Interestingly over half those interviewed, said that recommendations for software choice, or information about the options, was instigated by they themselves, not their accountant. And yet they were not only open but ‘expected’ to be informed of the best options available to them, rather than just stay on their existing systems.
Marketers and firms take note!
If you are moving more of your services online, and already engaged with online accounting software, be brave and take a bold approach to talking to your existing client base about what options are available to them.
Clients experience of your service is influenced by their perception of proactivity. This is an area which is a win/win for both you and them
- Don’t restrict your options, create best fit approach for your existing client base. This shouldn’t create significant training overheads, but if you are unsure of a certain package just be open.
- Market en masse. Take the widest possible route, and commit some time and energy to introduce and make recommendation to clients. You could do this in a variety of ways from integrating within existing client reviews to organising Software Recommendation Seminars
- Calculate the benefit of selling an online option as well as an en premise. The aggregated value could be significant, and when aligned with an idea of how your service strategy evolves, could make a big difference to your proposition and effectiveness.
Clients are there to be guided and advised. Their perception of your proactivity is a fundamental factor in how they view their experience of your services as a whole. Take the lead and take them with you!