How to Audit Your Accounting Practice’s Client Communication to Be More Efficient and Effective

Carl Coe

With any business, excellent client communication is a critical component of success. That’s especially true with accounting firms when miscommunications or slow response times could cost you clients or damage your firm’s reputation.  

Taking stock of your client communication processes is vital to ensuring you deliver the best possible client service and set your firm up for success, but it can be tricky to know where to start. 

With that in mind, we’ve created this guide to auditing your client communication so you don’t get stuck in the weeds while you’re trying to figure out how to take your client experience to the next level. 

Four steps to audit client communication 

Each accounting practice has unique needs and goals. These four steps are a great way to get started with a process that’s tailored to your team and the services you offer. 

Dive into a comprehensive analysis 

Analyzing client interactions requires a review of every touchpoint from initial contact to project delivery. To get started with this process, you’ll need to collect and categorize client communication data to identify patterns and preferences. 

This analysis helps you understand trends in your client-firm interactions. A few ways to get the ball rolling are: 

  • Create a centralized repository for communication records 
  • Develop a standardized system for tagging and categorizing actions 
  • Assign relevant team members to monitor and analyze current communication trends 
  • Assess your tech stack and the tools you rely on for client communication, including practice management software 

 

A Handy Checklist for Auditing Your Accounting Firm

Auditing your accounting firm is crucial to maintaining efficiency, accuracy, and client satisfaction. Evaluate all areas of your firm’s performance and stay on the right track with our checklist.

Navigate the client experience from start to finish 

Now that you have data from your client analysis, you can evaluate all of the communication touchpoints in the client experience. Ask questions like:  

  • Is it easy to get in touch with our firm? 
  • Are clients frustrated with needing to sign and scan documents to get the job done? 
  • Is it easy for clients to access critical information in a timely manner? 
  • What are the indicators for client and lead attrition? 

Create strategies for improvement 

Now that you have data to work with and answers to questions about how smooth the client experience is, you need a game plan if you want to make progress. 

Sit down with your team and map out a strategy for enhancing client communication. Some potential action items for putting your strategy together are: 

  • Establishing standard timelines and practices for communications 
  • Developing standardized templates for key communication phases 
  • Training your team on delivering consistent, prompt, and empathetic client interactions 
  • Organizing regular brainstorming sessions to address common communication issues 
  • Implementing a system for tracking the progress of your improvement strategy 

Make sure that everyone is on the same page and stay consistent with regularly monitoring progress or areas that still require adjustments. 

Take advantage of the latest technology 

Modern accounting practices need modern solutions, and leveraging the right technology is a necessity.  

Evaluate the software you rely on and consider whether new solutions might help out with client communication, as well as eliminate problems in other parts of your accounting practice.  

Consider software solutions that enhance communication 

Effective client communication is more than just an exchange of information—it’s a way to keep your clients engaged, build trust, and encourage repeat business. But to achieve those targets, you need tools to support your practice.  

Key tools for improving accounting firm communications include solutions for client collaboration, document management, workflow management, and cloud-based access. 

Client collaboration tools 

Using a secure client portal for messaging and documents is a win-win for both you and your clients: clients get real-time updates that they can access from a convenient dashboard so they never have to wonder how things are progressing, and you spend less time fielding phone calls and emails (and more time on high-value billable work).  

Additional client collaboration tools include file-sharing and eSignatures 

Let’s be honest—chasing down clients for signatures and dealing with scanning and sending documents is a hassle and a time drain for both you and your clients. These tools let you securely share documents and request signatures with the click of a mouse without extra communication requirements. 

Document management 

Accounting firms have many documents to send back and forth with clients to complete their files and large amounts of sensitive information to keep safe.  

Consider the importance of proper document management. Without a centralized location for critical client data and documents, you run the risk of losing important files or wasting time looking for them when they’re lost in the shuffle. 

The right cloud-based document management system will allow you to access your files from anywhere and ensure that your data is secure behind bank-level encryption, making it nearly impossible for cyber criminals to get to your documents.    

Workflow management 

You need to communicate with clients well, but what about within your team? It’s important that everybody knows the status of each file and the interactions with clients over time so that you can appear to be a well-oiled machine and not duplicate work.  

This is an issue of workflow management. There’s a lot to be said for choosing software that offers workflow tools. By automating certain administrative tasks, quickly assigning projects and tracking progress in real-time, and keeping a bird’s eye view of your progress with dashboards, you can save time, proactively handle issues that can affect client service, and offer updates that keep everyone up to speed. 

Cloud-based access 

If you’ve left a file on your desk (or computer desktop) and you get a call from a client in the evening, you may not be able to answer their questions right away. This type of bottleneck is easily remedied.   

Look for accounting practice management software that provides you with cloud-based access so that your team and your clients can access essential documents from anywhere in the world as long as they have an internet connection. 

In our fast-paced world, speed is the key to generating positive outcomes and keeping clients happy.  

Take your client communication to a whole new level with Mango 

Your clients are the bread and butter of your accounting practice. It’s important to maintain trusting client relationships by letting them know that their success is your success. That’s why communication is the key.  

Whether you’re just looking for software to improve the client experience with tools like a portal and secure file-sharing, or you need an all-in-one solution for running your accounting firm’s operations, Mango Practice Management has you covered. 

We’ve got the tools you need to take your firm to a whole new level. Ready to see what Mango can do for your accounting practice? Schedule a demo with us today. 

Unlock your accounting firm’s potential.

Save time, streamline workflows and get paid faster with Mango’s all-in-one Time and Billing Practice Management software.

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