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All practices are different and AM was built to adapt to this. On one of our recent webinars we invited AM super-users Aaron (Boffix) and Rachel (Strivex) to discuss their experiences of practice management.
Rachel: “One of the biggest challenges when it comes to scaling and taking on more clients, is having way more deadlines than you have the personal capacity to meet. There’s that fear and dread that something will be missed. For us, using practice management software has completely alleviated that fear and dread.”
“You know when you wake up at two o'clock in the morning… ‘Wait. Have I done that?’ We don't do that anymore.”
Aaron: It doesn't matter which staff member it is, anyone can onboard new clients. They put in some very basic information: the name and email address and tick what services they want. Then AccountancyManager does the rest.”
“The whole idea is we’re not onboarding a client, we're letting the software onboard the client for us. That's where you can start getting that scalability and where you can start getting a lot of time saving and efficiency.”
Rachel: “For us, that personal relationship is very important. I can't express enough how important AccountancyManager is in delivering a high level of support. In AM there's this Timeline feature where you can track every single point of contact with the client.”
“With the automatic email integration, any email that’s sent to – or from – a specific client, will be pulled through into AM, under that client’s Timeline.”
“Being hybrid, there’s stuff you miss from being in the office. Somebody might say, "Oh, so-and-so's wife's pregnant." Then the person that's answering the phone next time would say, "Oh my gosh, how's your wife getting on? When's the baby due?"
“Whereas, if you have those automatic integrations that capture every telephone call, Zoom call, WhatsApp sometimes, voice note, gif… through AccountancyManager. You can maintain that level of service through every single touch point you have with a client.”
Aaron: “With the Client Portal, instead of relying on emails and having all the back and forth, we have this one dedicated area for our client.”
“They go to our website, click a little link at the top and they go to their Client Portal. They have no idea who AccountancyManager is, and they don't need to, because they're going into a portal that’s branded as ours.”
“Here they can access and sign off accounts – but also we’re a ‘registered office’ for a lot of people. There's no point in us sending that post back to them. We open it up, scan it (as long as we've got permission) and we put it into their Client Portal.”
Rachel: “We’re completely hybrid now – but on Tuesdays we get everybody in the team together to eat cake, do charity work, celebrate achievements, exams, birthdays… That’s hugely valuable. Outside that, it’s completely flexible.”
“Going into the pandemic with a completely cloud-based task management system meant that we could still scale, while some practices were firefighting, working out how to get paper records to staff at home.”
“We had all tasks at hand and could support the clients that needed it, rather than putting that time into ‘how do we do hybrid working?’.”
Aaron: “At first we were hesitant about automation, we were a bit like, "this is going to end in tears if we're not careful." But as long as you put the right systems in place and start to lean on them, that's where the magic happens.”
“That's where you save so much time and you're not worrying too much about the deadlines and getting what you need in time, because you know that you've got systems in place to chase up the clients and get that information there.”
Rachel: “You can automate things in a very, very personal way. Some people might have to cover their ears for this… but we actually have a set of emojis that we use across the firm. If we're talking about tax, we use the dollar sign emoji. So, the client feels that consistency, friendliness and the brand that they buy into.”
“Automation doesn't mean ‘cold’ or that clients think it's a bot emailing them. It can still come from you and appear as it’s you. It just saves you hours – emailing every single client individually or using mail mergers.”
Rachel: “Treating staff well and being ‘the employer I wish I’d had’ has been a big part of us growing and scaling.”
“We have an employee assistance program, which gives staff access to counselling, therapy, financial and legal guidance. We do personal financial wellbeing checks too where financial advisors come in and chat to them, to make sure that they’re financially well.”
“We also do lots of charity work, the guys get two days paid a year to do charity work.
“If staff are stressed or having a difficult time outside work, they won’t be able to deliver that service. Nothing is more important than treating staff right.
Final words from Rachel and Aaron…
Rachel: “I think people view practice management software as the day-to-day running off the practice, but it can give you so much oversight in terms of what your plans are for the business, how to grow, how to scale, how to manage that value of fees… understanding what is profitable work versus not profitable work.”
“AccountancyManager has enabled us to scale so rapidly. If you are looking to grow a practice, my top tip would be to get practice management software very early on.”
“Also, make friends in the industry! Those are the relationships that I rely on the most. Accountancy isn't competitive, there's enough work to go around and collaboration can do huge things for your sanity and for your business.”
I’d like to put in a disclaimer that Aaron and I are not sponsored by AccountancyManager. We literally just love the software.”
Aaron: “I tried to build my own AccountancyManager solution back in the day. We learned very early on that – yes, we could probably build something that was adequate, but really, we needed to embrace what you guys were doing. You're experts in the field, you're dedicated to making our lives easier in terms of growing our practice and scaling it and we needed to embrace that.”