4 Ways Accountants and Bookkeepers Can Produce Client Reports Efficiently

Carl Coe
Posted by Carl Coe on Nov 14, 2022 7:46:09 AM

Reporting is central to the work of accountants in every field. But in a typical firm, there are so many different kinds of internal and external reports flying around that it can be challenging to maintain a proper flow of reports from one party to another. The process of creating reports can also be arduous when there are multiple people and versions involved along the way. However, none of this changes the fact that you’re still responsible for the reports your clients expect.

Did you know that if done correctly, you can turn reports from a complicated drag on productivity to a boost in your customer satisfaction rates? It’s true: approach reporting the right way, and your clients will find the information they need and feel impressed with your professionalism and want to do more business with you.

Below are our best tips for getting more out of your normal client reporting process so that it reduces the load on you and your team.

1. Offer self-service

If you’ve been working in client services for any substantial length of time, you’re probably familiar with the experience of a client requesting a document or number at an odd hour. People keep different schedules, and some like to work during quiet periods when not many others are around. Unfortunately, this can make it tough for them to get what they need if it requires attention from you at a time when you aren’t working.

A self-service option for reporting can help you avoid this situation altogether. This usually comes in the form of a portal or platform they can log into, where they can access and download information relevant to their account. A self-service option can prevent a minor request from escalating into a problem for the client while reducing the amount of manual time and focus you need for each account.

2. Use a centralized platform

Generating and storing all client reports from a single platform may not be an improvement clients can directly observe, but from an internal perspective, it can streamline the work process that goes into creating reports for your clients. This tip is especially crucial if you have multiple people working on a specific project or account. In these situations, it’s easy for someone to accidentally use the wrong version of a file, throwing off progress and causing internal confusion.

When everyone is working out of a central place, there’s no need to worry about version issues causing mistakes or miscalculations. If your team is using a spreadsheet or document, it’s automatically updated as soon as it gets changed. Another advantage of using the same platform every time is consistency in format. Your clients can come to expect the same look, feel, and information from every report you send.

3. Incorporate visuals

Text-based data and metrics are important and often structured as the foundation of a client report, but it can be extra beneficial to add a visual depiction of the same information. Many people are visual learners and will appreciate information being presented in a way that’s easier for them to understand. Additionally, using visuals allows you to show off your team’s ability to do things in more than one way.

4. Tell a story

The best reports are about more than what happened in a specific month, quarter, or year. If you want your reports to really resonate with your clients, you need to synthesize the data you’re presenting into a narrative that tells them something about their business.

For example: maybe their revenue in a specific line of business has been relatively flat for a few months but is growing healthily in another area, and they’ve been wondering where to devote more of the budget. The data from both types of revenue could be presented along with a summary statement helping to spell out exactly the narrative you are presenting with the data.

Final thoughts on effective client reporting

We get it: you have a set format in which you do client reporting. It’s probably been around at your firm for a while, and you feel too busy to spend a substantial amount of time updating it. We’re not saying you have to implement all of these changes at the same time. Pick and choose the changes to your reporting process that will add the most benefit to your firm based on the needs of your clients and their expectations, then implement them slowly.

Another way to simplify reporting within your business? Use a centralized tool that takes care of multiple tasks in one place. From invoicing to reporting to staff timekeeping, a top-notch accounting practice management software platform will help you streamline all the processes in your business – including report generation – so you can put a larger focus on achieving your firm’s broader goals and impressing clients with your solid, efficient work.


 

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