Tech and time. These two points are inextricably linked, even if some firm owners don’t necessarily act like it. Advancements in Fintech save time, improve accuracy, and cut overhead costs. But the relationship between technology and time is one we see throughout history, not only in the accounting industry.
One quick example: We went from walking to riding animals over thousands of years. Then, society went from steam engines to combustion engines to jet engines within only a few generations.
Farming, construction, manufacturing. Again and again you’ll see innovation (in the form of technology) seriously speed things up while reducing friction.
The current rate at which these advancements go from experimental to game-changing is staggering. You’re reading this article, so you likely understand the advantages some of the tech solutions in accounting provide. But what about the very thing you’re using to improve your business (aka tech), used as a selling point for client acquisition?
How (and why) tech is a selling point
Sometimes we feel advantages (like the ones tech provides) are like a secret ingredient. Instead of directly telling clients you use technology, you use it to offer faster turnaround times or lower fees on certain services. But should we hold these things so tightly to the vest?
No, and there are some good reasons why you should share with your clients.
Consistent results and insights
Accounting has a consistent set of rules and standards, so it’s no surprise that consistency is key for clients of all varieties. Explain to them that your firm’s technology keeps outputs predictable, clean, and on-time.
Many tech solutions focus on turning redundant and difficult tasks to consistent, efficient processes. Using things like bookkeeping automation and reporting yields results your clients count on as well as conveying data in a form they’ll understand and use.
By turning workflows into a consistent process, your firm adds “consistent, reliable reporting” to its list of valuable features. This consistency shows up both in the completed work as well as the way you convey those results to your clients.
Both are of extremely high value.
Take, for example, Botkeeper’s Business Insights capability. It offers customizable and real-time reports you share directly with your clients. Simply change the widgets on the dashboard to show the most important metrics for a given client and that’s what they’ll see.
For you, it saves the spreadsheets, moving numbers from your bookkeeping tool to a dashboarding solution, and even manually sending the report. And for clients, they receive not only a service, but an executive summary of the numbers most important to them. That’s a powerful selling point.
More time for your clients
Selling your technology as something that saves you time seems counterintuitive, until you realize that you can translate that to two big client benefits: greater savings on tasks you can automate; and the ability to spend more time on the client’s more complex needs.
Focus on presenting how you’ll reinvest this time.
You’ll have time for:
Analyzing data to give your insights and suggestions
Helping them predict essential key performance indicators
Partnering with them to better operate their business and serve their own clients
Showing your clients that your time is spent for their benefit makes them feel like they are your priority.
Tech allows your team to focus
You’ve probably heard of filling a jar with sand, pebbles, and rocks. If you start filling your jar with the little things (sand), you run out of room for the pebbles and rocks. But if you start filling your jar with the big things first, you can let the little things fill the spaces.
Sand, in the case of this illustration, represents the redundant tasks of an accounting firm. These things are necessary, but aren’t as rewarding for a CPA to perform. If your team is plugging away at sand, they’ll likely feel unaccomplished. These feelings spill over, impacting all areas of your business—even selling to prospects.
In this scenario, tech is the selling point because it allows your team to accomplish more of what your clients want.
Something like, “We’re fully staffed with knowledgeable professionals ready to help you with strategy, business development, and security.”
If you're confident in the team and the firm’s capacity, that will transfer over into your discovery call. Be honest, are you reserved on discovery calls, not offering advisory and other services?
Remember, how you talk about the tech should vary based on that client’s specific wants, needs, and services. Be explicit in how your technology allows you to structure your workflow to prioritize bigger picture items first as opposed to having to get the menial stuff out of the way.
Good tech usually means good security
You’re working with a lot of sensitive information that can be handled by multiple people. Protecting this information and the privacy of your clients is extremely important. Any sort of vulnerability in your system doesn’t jeopardize just your firm, but also every client.
As banking has become an increasingly online service, security has improved (and for very good reason).
Fortunately, these advancements are spilling over into other pieces of technology and now “bank-grade security” is a major selling point. After all, if it’s good enough for the bank handling our money, surely it’s good enough for a clean set of books and reports.
When discussing your technology with clients, point out how you keep it up-to-date to make certain you’re taking advantage of security improvements and bug fixes that thwart potential exploits. Letting clients know you aren’t using programs designed for a Commodore 64 will help illustrate that you take their security and privacy seriously.
Investing in tech is investing in clients
By spending money on technology, not only are you investing in the efficiency of your firm, but you’re investing in selling points. It’s easy to let the benefits you experience eclipse the benefits to your clients. By taking the time to understand these benefits and how to talk about them, you'll in turn create an irresistible sales pitch that speaks to each clients’ unique needs.
If your tech stack is lacking, it’s time to start thinking about how you can improve your operations for both you and your clients.
With Botkeeper, you can make improvements across the board. Our technology will automate many of your day-to-day tasks by performing bank reconciliation, report generation, financial forecasting, and more through our powerful software. Plus, all client information is covered by bank-grade, SOC2 compliant security.
Want to learn more about technology and automation in accounting firms?