According to studies, clients want clear, proactive, actionable advice from their accounting professionals and are willing to pay for it; are you doing everything you can to meet their needs? Your ability to communicate effectively with your clients can set you apart as a standout accounting pro.
Communication is a so-called “soft skill” that accountants work to add to their repertoire. It may not be their primary area of expertise, but it should be a high priority. Accountants spend their days crunching numbers, creating reports, financial forecasts, and more. All these efforts could be in vain if the results aren’t effectively communicated to clients. Accounting professionals can—and should—spend time developing communication skills, but these skills aren’t the only component of effective communication.
Effective communication isn’t just about speaking with clients, giving them information, and answering questions. It is about providing accurate, timely feedback and answering with clarity to eliminate confusion. Using software that enhances financial reporting allows you to communicate more clearly and effectively. Hence, clients have a deeper understanding of their data. Here’s how embracing financial reporting software makes all the difference for those professionals working to communicate more effectively with clients.
Give Clear, Concise Financial Reports
When it comes to financial reports, accounting pros must resist the urge to give clients a firehose of information. There is more data than ever to analyze, with the world’s 5.7 billion internet users consuming 79 zettabytes (or 79 billion terabytes) of data in 2021. Packing all that information into a thick financial report for a client can cause more confusion than clarity.
Accounting professionals are like gold miners swirling paydirt in a gold pan, pulling every piece of gold from a mound of dirt. Your skill, combined with the right tools, produces valuable results in a fraction of the time when it is automated.
Strategically organized reports and dashboards allow you to pinpoint the key points relevant to your clients and their business. Instead of throwing every piece of data at your clients and hoping they understand their business needs, give them an engaging presentation of their data tailored to their needs. Financial reporting software helps bring critical data to life through visual reports that are easy for clients to understand. Clear, concise reports ensure you can communicate exactly what they need to know to clients.
Higher Accuracy Means Less Confusion
Effective communication between accounting professionals and their clients means the information presented is correct and valuable. The last thing accountants want is for clients to be confused or unsure of the decisions they need to make in their business based on the financial information presented to them.
Inaccurate results leave clients feeling anxious about their financials. Even the best accounting pros can make mistakes sometimes. A slip of the finger can mean an incorrect number on a spreadsheet, and a slight miscalculation can have enormous ramifications down the road.
Human error is natural, but the software isn’t subject to fatigue, missing information, or mental mistakes. Automation ensures accurate results throughout the process, from data input to analysis and reporting. Accurate results paint a clearer picture for clients, with fewer questions and enhanced confidence.
Provide Detailed, Personalized Feedback
When clients meet with their accountants, they want to know they aren’t looking for an echo chamber. They want to know their trusted financial advisor has really heard them.
Powerful reports and metrics created with an individual business in mind allow accountants to personalize feedback to the questions and concerns relevant to the client. You can use software to create customized metrics for each client to show precisely what they need to know. Financial reports can go far beyond balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements to provide clients with any KPI they need at the time.
Be More Responsive
In this age of email, text messaging, and constant communication, it’s no wonder that clients want a response to their questions as soon as possible. There is nothing quite like sending a text message, seeing a response bubble forming, and then getting no reply. People expect to hear back right away, even with minor financial questions.
While not everything can be done at a moment's notice, embracing emerging technology enhances an accounting professional's ability to give clients the help they need when they need it because data stays connected and live. You can provide timely responses to clients, often configuring clear visual displays in moments. Accountants aren’t superheroes, but clients may begin to wonder about a secret identity when their financial advisor pulls up data in a meeting and instantly creates graphics to show an important metric. Secure, shareable links or client portals are another effective way to keep clients aware between scheduled meetings. Timely, accurate responses to client queries show that you are available and ready to help drive the business forward.
Automated financial reporting provides significant advantages for accounting professionals and their clients. Using these tools allows you to communicate more effectively, saving time and increasing efficiency for you and your clients.