Technology Tips for External Success

If you’re just joining us, you might want to go back and read the first three articles in this series on best practices for remote work. If you’re in a position of leadership, Sarah Dobek shares tips from her perspective as president of a remote workforce. If you would love a few pointers on how to make a successful transition from office building to home-office, read Katie Renelt’s post about workplace transition. And finally, if you are surrounded by kids and need to know someone else feels your pain, check out Heidi Holmberg’s article on working with distractions. Our last entries in the series are arguably the most critical to preserving business continuity. Marissa Lew and Kari Bakus share experience-tested advice on how to leverage technology for internal and external success. Below, Kari Bakus shows how this experience can quickly become a testament to your firm’s agility.



Technology Tips for External Success

For many of us, learning how technology works feels like a task that pulls us away from the core elements of our business – so we delay getting to know our systems, or even worse, we ignore technology altogether.  But for those of us who work in virtual environments, technology is an integral part of our business.  To that end, we carefully choose our document formats, software and hardware tools, and delivery platforms to make sure we are getting the best results from our efforts.  We measure those results through the accuracy of our work, the timeliness of communication, and the “ease” of our meetings – making sure the communication with our clients is as seamless as any in-person meeting could be.  Here are some tips for running basic marketing and business development tasks in your accounting firm in a remote environment.

 

  • You don’t need to be in-person to be personal. Using a robust virtual communication tool like Zoom or WebEx allows you to host client meetings and events, as well as pipeline and marketing meetings efficiently and effectively. We have hosted online training for years and can personally attest to the advantages of a virtual environment.
  • Virtual meetings not only help you stay connected, but they also help you stay accountable. Many online meeting platforms allow the host to record the session. This feature can help you manage your deliverables and build trust with your clients.
  • As you test new tools or shake the dust off rarely used ones, be sure to communicate how to use them. The right guidance will significantly impact their adoption, both internally and externally.
  • Using cloud-based document storage AND sharing program, such as SharePoint or Google Docs, allow instant collaboration between teammates.
  • Keeping files such as business development pipelines, collateral, presentations, and templates in a shared space ensures proper version control and helps with document security.
  • These tools also nurture a highly responsive environment for both clients and coworkers.
  • And finally, document sharing reduces the number of large emails taking up space in your inbox. If your clients are not using your online portal, now is the best time to convince them to make the switch.
  • Consider creating a landing page for relevant accounting updates. This effort will allow you to mitigate client panic, communicate business continuity efforts, and provide assurance in your services.

Many companies are testing new tools, but the fact is that these processes should already be a part of daily life. As an advisor, this experience should steel your resolve to start conversations with clients on how technology can improve their business to achieve external success. As you stress test technology in your firm, take time to document your approach, outline processes, and record best practices. When we come out of this season, you will have an excellent case study for process improvement.

In the meantime, if you need assistance putting communications in place, check out our FFCRA+ Toolkit. This turnkey solution might be just the thing you need to free up time for business development. If this remote-work journey is uncovering gaps in service that you would like to address, reach out to us today. We can help you put a communications plan in place or advise you on effective marketing in an uncertain landscape.

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