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How Accountants Can Benefit from CRM Systems

October 1, 2021

In the accounting industry, many firms still rely on spreadsheets to collate important information about clients. But in the age of digital transformation, spreadsheets are limited in functionality, time-intensive and error-prone. 

 

In a nutshell — they’re inefficient for customer relationship management (CRM).

 

A CRM system is an automated, easy-to-use alternative to traditional spreadsheets that is key for professionals hoping to build a customer-centric, productive accounting firm. Continue reading to learn more about accounting CRM systems.

What Is a CRM System?

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is software that helps businesses deepen their relationships with clients and colleagues through data. 

 

CRMs are built around granular, actionable insights that firms can harness to attract and retain clients. The technology houses and organises data such as contact details, personal preferences on communications, feedback, sources of leads and levels of engagements, which firms can use to forge stronger relationships with clients through targeted services. 

 

Other common features of CRM systems include:

  • Contact management
  • Interaction tracking
  • Email integration
  • Document management
  • Workflow automation
  • Pipeline management

The Benefits of an Accounting CRM System

A CRM system’s core purpose is to store a wide range of data about your clients. But what you do with this data is up to you. In other words, the possibilities are endless — and so are the benefits. Here are six key advantages of implementing a CRM system in your accounting firm:

1. Smoother Client Communication

Clients nowadays demand convenience; they want to feel valued and prioritised. Of course, in a busy firm with numerous other clients, this can be a difficult task. 

 

A CRM tool can ensure you keep on top of client communication by providing you with email templates that you can personalise. You can then schedule these to be sent to keep communication flowing and productivity levels high. Not only does this make your life easier, but it also provides clients with peace of mind that their requests are being handled professionally. Happy employees, happy clients — it’s a win-win.

2. Streamlined Client Onboarding

Clients should go through an onboarding process to ensure they are aware of the tasks and deadlines they are responsible for while you’re providing them with accounting services. 

 

A CRM platform allows you to set up a client onboarding strategy for a more streamlined experience. Features such as document storage, email templates and scheduled reminders ensure new clients receive the right information and the right time.

3. Higher Sales through Cross-selling

According to McKinsey, cross-selling can increase sales by 20% and profits by 30%. CRMs streamline the cross-selling process with minimal effort from CPAs. 

 

The tool enables you to identify segments where you can cross-sell other services to existing clients. For example, accounting firms can use the CRM system to record which clients bought which service. Then, using this database, accountants can identify clients who have not yet been sold to and create a campaign that focuses on a value proposition tailored to these particular clients.

 

By enabling you to target the right clients at just the right time, CRMs can help you strengthen relationships with existing clients by making you their trusted partner — which translates into higher sales for your firm.

4. Client Retention

Client retention rates are a strong indicator of your firm’s success. In fact, even a slight increase in retention rates can lead to a significant increase in profits. A CRM tool helps firms understand how clients feel about the services they offer. With deeper insights into clients’ pain points, CPAs can be proactive and get ahead of the inconvenience to reduce churn. 

 

Not only that, but CRM systems automate ticketing and customer support to ensure that clients always feel prioritised and valued. Without a CRM tool, firms risk losing clients for fixable reasons, meaning they need to invest more time and effort into constantly gaining new clients. 

5. Better Customer Service

CRM systems build profiles of your clients and manage all their details to give you instant access to important information on their behaviour. Not only is this more convenient for accountants, but clients also benefit from more attentive customer service.

 

With a holistic view of each client and information collected about them from their initial contact with the firm, CPAs can stay in touch with clients to continually assess their level of satisfaction and make changes based on their needs. Accountants can also consolidate relationships by always addressing clients by their names and keeping note of their interests, family news, and other details — all of which are stored on the CRM — that work to build brand loyalty. 

6. More Transparency and Stronger Collaboration

Transparency suffers in a firm when data is spread across multiple locations — emails, messages, shared documents, etc. Important information gets lost in the void, meaning time is wasted on back-and-forth emails with colleagues and clients, and frustration grows.

 

CRM tools solve basic data management requirements, and employees can use the software for ongoing collaboration. The platform acts as a single source of truth that provides employees with full visibility into business processes. As a result, data silos and miscommunication decrease while productivity and collaboration increase.

 

In a remote setting, this is particularly important to ensure that everyone in the firm is on the same page.

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