Dan Luthi, COO of Ignite Spot Accounting, shares his thoughts on the US Future Needs of SMBs report and what accountants can expect when talking to clients.
Shift in demand and mindset
There’s been a shift in the demand of SMBs. Clients are now more technologically advanced and this has seen a change in the way accountants interact with them. Five years ago, businesses were stuck in their ways – shaped by what they’ve been taught in the past; now they are far more engaged with innovation and how they can improve their flow of information.
When we enter relationships with SMBs, and start conversations, they’ll show us the apps they’re using, make comments and demonstrate a level of understanding that was previously unheard of. For us, it’s now a case of tweaking things here and there, because the foundations are already in place. Sometimes we need to connect certain apps, recommend additional ones and generally help create a more integrated approach. But it’s now far more efficient.
In terms of services, this means we need to improve things, like process flow implementation, data analysis, cash flow recommendations, more automated dashboard reporting and pinpoint data accuracy. We should also be ready to provide live strategic discussions and action plans around their business.
High expectations, more responsibility
Data is more readily available and clients are gobbling up conversations about technology, analysis and operational systems. This receptiveness makes things a lot easier. But it also means people now expect more from us. They expect you to be a partner in their business, which is why value-driven and connected relationships are the new standard. It’s up to us to deliver.
Cloud-based tools are also pivotal in making significant decisions and leading clients’ decisions. When accountants embrace these tools, we simplify our practice. It’s also a case of providing dynamic information and documents that can be edited and expanded as relationships develop.
Documents have to allow the proactive conversations you have with clients to continue and evolve. A plain black and white document is not enough anymore. If provided in an editable and auditable format, it allows for a clean workflow and transition into the firm standard workflow. When we do this, we can move from client to client and be flexible and agile.
The new client relationship
Communication is vital. It underpins the personalised interaction that we must now aim for.
An accountant’s success is ultimately bound by the relationship they have with the client. So, good functioning relationships are essential.
The association is the foundation of everything. Without trust, confidence, and a solid framework of communication traits, an accountant will not be able to share any of the skills they have learned or the fantastic information they have created. Essentially, show that you care and be driven by collaboration and cohesion.
About the Dan Luthi
Dan Luthi is the COO of Ignite Spot Accounting, an outsourced accounting firm. Dan has rich experience in accounting across a number of industries, from pharmaceuticals to hospitality and sport. Since Ignite Spot Accounting Services began, they’ve served over 500 companies as a small business accounting firm.