While many consider automation in accounting with scepticism or a degree of fear, it really should be seen as an opportunity. You can take work that was being done by expensively-trained employees and deliver it to clients at a fraction of the cost to your firm than was once possible.
Then you can deploy your qualified staff, with all their knowledge, wisdom and ambition, to higher-value work such as company and personal tax advice, financial planning, management accounting and audit – enhancing the profitability of your firm.
To do so, you’ll need to think about how this can be achieved operationally, as well as how to market your new services and adjust your staff recruitment and retention strategy.
Your operational strategy
Of course, once you have decided to offer new services, you need to work out how you will run them. Ensuring you have a great practice management software solution in place is key.
Good practice management software will help you every step of the way when establishing new operations, from keeping records to project management:
Record-keeping – In order to be able to deliver more complex services you need to have reliable and powerful record-keeping functionality. Does your practice management software store information securely, allow you to access documents at the click of a button and easily share information?
Integrations – As you start to offer new services, you will probably need specific pieces of software to deliver them efficiently. Practice management software can integrate with other apps to create an all-in-one solution for your operations.
Communication – Be it client comms or collaboration between colleagues, practice management software provides a platform through which all key people can talk. This is essential for sharing confidential documents and helping projects progress smoothly.
Project management – Practice management software lets you assign tasks and monitor progress so that you can ensure all client services are performed to high standards. This creates visibility across your firm so that everyone knows what they should be doing and by when.
Your marketing strategy
You’ll need to promote your new services to your existing client base and new markets. Increasingly, companies are taking a digital-first approach to this. Here are some questions to consider as you develop a strategy:
- Does your website allow you to easily change service pages?
- Does it integrate with your practice management systems to collect information and give clients a smooth experience?
- Is it well-designed to convey expertise and good quality service?
- Can you use other digital channels like email marketing and social media?
If you are offering new, higher-value services, it’s important you look the part. If you can’t answer “yes” to the above questions, you should consider investing more in your marketing at the same time as you develop your new services.
Your HR strategy
Transforming into a firm which offers higher-value services may not only improve your profitability, but also your company culture. This should be reflected in your HR strategy.
As we have said, automation is not about replacing human jobs, but freeing up employees to do higher-value work. This may require further training, but it will also create more interesting roles and better engage staff.
All this should help with both recruitment and retention, so make sure your HR policies keep up with the changes in your business.
Capium’s integrated suite of software is designed to support accountants in their shift to automation and higher-value work. Try it for yourself with a 7-day free trial.