Recession-proofing your firm

How can practices leverage technology to future-proof client relationships?

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In partnership with Ignition, Accountancy Age conducted the Recession Proofing Your Firm Survey 2022 in quarter 4 of 2022, to understand how practices are future-proofing their clients and practices by leveraging technology to streamline the client engagement process.

It also identified where accountancy practices are re-examining their account management strategies amid a myriad macroeconomic challenges.

As businesses and organisations look ahead and examine where they could cut costs in a downturn, many accountancy and bookkeeping firms are likely to reassess their outgoings.

Businesses may look at their existing relationships with external accountancy firms and ask questions about the value they’re receiving in exchange for their money.

While this may fill some firms with a sense of foreboding, tough economic times present an opportunity for those firms. They can review how they engage with their clients and maximise the benefits to them through a stronger focus on providing services such as cashflow management and cost analysis and delivering a seamless client experience.

During a downturn, good client engagement could not be more important. As our survey shows, practices are firmly focused on client engagement, with nearly all accountants (97%) saying it’s a key driver of growth, and 86% believing stronger client engagement processes would enable growth.

Six out of 10 believe there’s room for improvement in how their practice manages this process. Understanding a client’s financial situation will allow practices to provide them with relevant advice and support to help them navigate the challenges of a downturn, such as reducing costs, and identifying new revenue streams.

Additionally, maintaining open lines of communication and a strong relationship with clients can help accountants retain clients and attract new ones, even during difficult economic times. But maintaining clear lines of communication can be resource-intensive. The report shows that 63% of respondents recognise that automating client engagement processes would allow them to grow and on-board more clients. This is an area where accounting client engagement and payment technology like Ignition can be a key driver of growth for firms. By enabling them to engage clients in minutes with automated engagement letters, they can easily cut admin time, reduce errors and stay compliant.

Read more about the research.