Four Ways to Reset Your Firm for 2021
By Darren Root
If there was ever a year to hit the reset button, it’s 2020. A painfully long tax season, keeping up with Paycheck Protection Program changes, tracking forgiveness, keeping clients calm and moving forward — and all during a global pandemic. It’s been a lot, to say the least.
While 2020 will go down as one of the most challenging years in history, we did make it through and helped so many clients make it through the chaos of an ongoing pandemic.
The good news is that we made it through and a whole new year is just around the corner. Year-end is here and that means it’s time to start planning for 2021 — for a better year. And because you can never plan too early, the goal here is to help you get started in hitting the reset button now.
Four ways to reset
When I say “reset,” what I really mean is starting the new year with a whole new outlook on firm operations. For some of you, the following may be things you’re already doing and just want to enhance. For others, these may be brand-new changes. Either way, there is something for everyone here, because we all know that firm improvement is never-ending.
1. Rise up to meet new client expectations
It’s a whole new world in terms of how we work with clients. The pandemic moved us away from in-person meetings to contactless modes of communication. What many have found is that most clients prefer this way of working.
So, what are you doing to meet this expectation? Are you using Zoom to conveniently meet with clients online? Is your website up to snuff? In other words, does your online platform (a better way to think of your website) provide access to the apps your clients use every day? Does it support online appointment scheduling, payments, signature capture and document collection? Think about all the things you can do to better meet client expectations in 2021.
2. Move from reactive to proactive advising
Do you still wait for clients to come to you with their needs? If so, you likely operate within a reactive business model, which is less than appealing for both you and your clients. In 2021, resolve to be the advisor that clients deserve. Actively analyze client data using a client management system to identify those in need of additional services and valuable advisory support. 2020 was a tough year for so many small businesses; it’s your job as a trusted advisor to be proactive and support them before they have to ask.
3. Connect your front and back office
If you’re still working within the traditional software suite, this is the year to break free from it. There are so many powerful cloud-based applications that work seamlessly together that it’s easy to connect every aspect of your firm — front to back. On the back-office side, connect all your hosted compliance solutions. For front-office tasks, start with a website that serves as your communications hub, connecting content, social media channels, document management, practice management, client products and so much more.
4. Build an irresistible culture
Don’t get stuck in the traditions of the past. Culture is at the heart of everything these days. Firms with a positive culture attract the best staff members and hang on to their ideal clients for the long-term. We witnessed the furious shift from on-site workdays to remote, and the votes are in: Employees love working virtually. Don’t go back in time. Continue to build a strong, connected remote workplace. Trust that this will help you build a culture that is irresistible.
Source: Accounting Today, November 10, 2020 (https://www.accountingtoday.com/list/four-ways-to-reset-your-accounting-firm-for-2021)