Client reporting is an essential activity for any accounting business. Not only are there some reporting requirements that must be fulfilled to meet legal standards, but reports are also an important factor in improving customer experience so that your clients continue coming back to you.
Fortunately, modern technology has allowed accounting firms to easily streamline many parts of reporting. By leveraging the tips below, you can turn reporting from a tedious drain on internal resources into an easy task that improves client relationships.
This is an easy step that will not only help your team save time, it can actually improve your marketing. A template that includes your company logo and colors will reinforce your brand and give off a good impression to both new and existing clients. Templates also make a great starting point for new team members who are still learning your firm’s existing processes.
If you aren’t sure where to start with templates, there are plenty of free and premium options online. Another good option is to work with a graphic designer who specializes in branded invoice templates that will help your business stand out.
Automate repetitive activities
Templates are a great foundation for making the reporting process simple. But these templates still need to be filled out, which takes valuable time away from your team during which they could be focusing on tasks more directly tied to generating revenue. In some cases, reports generated by accounting firms involve actions as simple as moving a set of numbers from one place to another.
This is where a top-notch accounting practice management software can provide a serious benefit to your business. Instead of wasting scarce team hours on repetitive reporting tasks, software can complete these kinds of actions for them, freeing up their time to focus on higher-level work that can’t be completed by software automation.
Examples of some reporting tasks that can be automated:
- Calculating monthly client invoices
- Adding up employee expense accounts for overhead reports
- Collecting hourly data from employee timesheets to study team efficiency
Some of these tasks are tedious and could require hours of time on a recurring basis if not handled automatically.
Use reporting as a client checkpoint
As anyone running a business that provides accounting services is well aware, client communication isn’t always efficient. There are times when conveying what seems like a simple report or update can feel very complicated. In other situations, it can be difficult to get a hold of busy clients when you need to get their input or signatures to move forward with your work.
That’s why it’s often helpful to use reporting as a way to touch base with your clients and make sure everything is going well. For example, if you have questions or requests, you might follow up an emailed report with a quick phone call to get them resolved. Of course, it’s important to use good etiquette and avoid excessive communications. Not only does that start to bother clients, but it’s also a waste of company resources.
Keep clients in the loop with self-service
Reports are a valuable part of managing relationships, but there are times when clients may want additional information outside of what’s on their report. In certain cases, it’s possible to meet this need through the use of client portal software that helps give them closer insights into your services any time they wish, even if it’s outside of business hours. A comprehensive portal can allow clients to check on a project’s status or get an invoice number for internal reference or accounting purposes – without having to call or email a person at your firm.
Not only do portals keep clients in the loop, but they can also be extremely valuable for exchanging files when necessary. Secure file sharing is important to protect the confidentiality of sensitive client data, such as their financial information or employee names and phone numbers. Portals provide security while giving clients a more convenient option to send and receive important files.
Conclusion: Reporting should always add value
When you’re sending reports to clients the right way, it helps them understand more about how you work and why your services are helping them be more efficient. From a business perspective, the main risk of client reporting comes about when you don’t have the right processes in place. This can cause a drain on your employees’ time, and while it may not seem like a big deal to have someone spend extra time on a monthly report once in a while, these incidents can add up to a huge amount of hours dedicated to basic, repetitive tasks.
You can prevent this situation from negatively impacting your firm by relying on the right tools to streamline your reporting process. Accounting practice management software can automate the most mundane parts of reporting while giving your clients a better understanding of your services, a win-win situation that will help your firm with long-term growth.