Effective communication in an accountant-client relationship can be essential for each party, no matter the needs of the client. When communications break down or are handled in a way that causes inconsistency, this may cause a client to lose trust and take their business elsewhere.
If you own a small accounting firm, using CanaryTEXT can help you solve some common communication issues and possibly strengthen relationships with your customers by better meeting their needs.
Why Quality Communication Matters
When individuals hire an accountant, one reason they often do so is to garner support during a challenging time. They may have many questions about their finances and receiving timely responses may offer them peace of mind that you are doing all you can to ensure their issues are being handled professionally. There are several communication failures that may cause clients to lose confidence in your small firm’s ability to handle their needs, including:
Delayed Response Times
Outdated Communication Practices
These issues may cause clients to become frustrated or angry, which could lead to further misunderstandings and a loss of business for your firm. When people pay for financial assistance, they expect a variety of services, including clear and updated information about their accounts. Failing to communicate early and often could compromise the client-accountant relationship and damage your firm’s reputation.
Using CanaryTEXT to enhance how you communicate with your accounting clients can avoid the aforementioned issues and improve engagement practices.
Solving the Email Conundrum
While email remains a popular digital communication route, it may not be the best option when you own a small accounting firm. Clients may not feel comfortable receiving and responding to repeated email requests for documents and other items related to their needs and over time, communications may lag and delay the process. Emails may also get lost, accidentally deleted or intercepted by others who might gain access to the sensitive information contained within. When this happens, the firm is often blamed for failing to project the client and the problem may be quite difficult to fix once the damage is done.
Replacing email communications with CanaryTEXT may eliminate many of the problems you encounter with electronic mail. For example, if you are working with married couples, you can create a group text to provide each party with the necessary information and send it instantly or schedule it for a later date, such as a time where it may not be as intrusive to your clients. Because the app sends these texts directly to the groups you create, this reduces the chance of lost or intercepted messages and allows your contacts to respond just as easily, without the hassle of opening continuous email messages.
Handling Documentation Requests
Collecting and processing documentation is often an essential part of any small accounting firm. Documents can provide proof of assets and spending history for a variety of situations, including:
- Small business taxes
- Child support payments
- New real estate holdings
Proper documentation can help you prepare taxes for people whose circumstances have changed over the past year. For example, if a client has married after being divorced for a time and now has new financial responsibilities, his or her taxes will need to reflect that. If that client and his or her new spouse wish to file jointly for the upcoming year, you can send reminders about setting up a meeting to discuss what this might entail before you can prepare a tax return for them.
Using CanaryTEXT can assist you with requesting and gathering documentation for each client, no matter the details. For example, if you are preparing taxes for a couple in the example listed above, you can use the app to send reminders regarding the submission of necessary documents like proof of wages or important receipts. Use the scheduling feature to ensure your clients receive the reminders as needed without having to text each party individually.
One common complaint that many clients seem to have with their accountants is how they fail to respond to communications or the lack of updates concerning any tax questions. Failing to communicate regularly may cause your clients to look elsewhere for tax preparation, and their word of mouth could damage your firm’s reputation. Clients expect support, not excuses, so scheduling important messages and alerts can help ensure they stay in the communication loop, especially around tax season.
CanaryTEXT can help you organize and plan your group messages and gives you the option to receive responses directly on your phone without having to access the app directly. These alerts can help you respond to client questions or comments quickly so they do not have to call the office, wait on hold or leave a message if they have a pressing issue. If you have an important meeting or want to limit your evening availability hours, you can send messages back to the app instead of receiving them on your phone with the toggle feature. This can help you set boundaries while giving your clients a way to reach you if they have an emergency.
Adding new services to your small accounting firm can give your clients increased confidence about what you might be able to offer them, especially if they use them regularly. For example, if you increase the number of accountants in your firm or want to let them know about a new tax law that might affect them. letting your existing clients know may encourage them to refer you to their friends and family. This may increase your clientele in a way that other types of marketing might not accomplish.
Using CanaryTEXT can keep your clients updated about the services you offer with one simple mass text. Use the tagging feature to add or remove clients from the recipient list to make the update more relevant. You can schedule the message to send at different times for varied groups so they receive it at a time that is convenient and unintrusive. You can create unlimited groups of contacts and let your clients know you are happy to answer any questions they might have about the new services.
Organizing Client Information
As you handle multiple clients, one issue you might encounter is how to keep all their information organized so you can stay in constant contact without getting them confused. When client data becomes unorganized, you may inadvertently share information with the wrong individual. Not only would this cause embarrassment on both sides but the client whose information was compromised might drop you as his or her accountant. Taking measures to organize your client data for messaging purposes can help you protect each of your customers and avoid sending data to the wrong person.
CanaryTEXT offers several features, such as the tagging option, to separate your clients into different groups. You can also create tags within a group so you can choose to send messages to individuals instead of the entire group. For instance, if you are working on tax prep for a small business that has more than one owner and you need copies of financial forms from two people in the group, you can notify them without others viewing the request. This can enhance client privacy and avoid issues that may make you appear unprofessional.
Receiving timely payments from your clients can foster trust and a cordial relationship, even when tax season ends. Sending letters requesting payment can take days to reach the client or get lost or misplaced. Your clients may be more likely to respond to a text, as many people prefer this method of communication. This can be especially true for young adults and millennial-aged clients, who tend to text instead of calling people or using an email service.
You can inform your clients about outstanding invoices with CanaryTEXT using the custom template feature. Choose from a variety of built-in templates and then choose an invoice template before you compose your message. Pick and choose clients with the tagging feature and send your message right away or at a scheduled time. If you prefer to send invoice messages on a certain day, such as the first of each month, you can use Canary TEXT to schedule them for automated delivery.
Filing taxes, whether for an individual or small business, usually involves a variety of deadlines that need to be met. Documents such as W2s, fiscal statements and proof of payments and expenses may need filing by a certain date, so keeping your clients notified about these deadlines can keep the filing process moving along smoothly. Some states place time limitations for filing certain tax-related documents and forms, and you may want to contact potential clients about whether they have taken action regarding the sale or expansion of a business or whether they want to take advantage of a limited tax break.
CanaryTEXT can alert your clients about deadlines well in advance in a way that may be more effective than an email or phone message. Use one of the available templates to catch their attention and schedule several reminders in the days approaching the deadline so they do not forget. The sooner deadlines are met, the quicker you may be able to secure a refund or process a return faster.
Some of your clients may require multiple appointments as you review and prepare their taxes. While handing out your business card with a handwritten appointment time might seem like an effective way to schedule meetings, these cards can easily get lost or misplaced. Some clients may neglect to write the date and time down on their calendars, especially when they have jobs and kids that make their lives a whirl of other appointments. Even digital calendars are only as useful as the data entered.
Using CanaryTEXT to schedule appointment reminders for all of your clients can not only help you plan your time effectively but also give you the opportunity to give equal attention to each. Schedule appointment notifications in a way that offers your clients flexibility in case they need to cancel or reschedule. Remind them they can reply via the app or you can send their replies to your phone to ensure you see them right away.
Improve Client Response Rates
When you run a small accounting firm, you may be concerned that your response rate is not what it could be. This can be especially true of potential clients who are still deciding whether they need professional tax or accounting services. While increased engagement may help them decide, it can be important and beneficial to your business that you do so in a way that is not intrusive. Because user experience is usually an integral part of gaining repeat business and the value of positive customer reviews, choosing a delivery type that improves engagement without annoying clients can be essential.
You can encourage increased communication and positive engagement with your clients by using automated messages via CanaryTEXT. Consider sending warm greetings for holidays and other special events, announcements about new products or services and for requesting feedback and suggestions that might improve a client’s experience. This subtle form of marketing may prompt clients to answer via text because of the ease of the medium.
As an accountant, you probably collaborate with your office partners, assistants and others who work within the building. While your firm might be small, having a simple method of inner-office communication may help operations run more smoothly.
CanaryTEXT allows you to create multiple groups of coworkers who are all involved in a variety of details regarding your clients, whether they are assisting with fiscal research, checking facts about new tax laws or gathering documentation. This can improve communication across a variety of topics and make it simpler for your coworkers to reply to brief questions about any issue. You can either receive these messages on your phone or in the app, depending on how many hours per day you want to invest for a given client. Being able to choose from a variety of included templates allows your coworkers to see the message topic at a glance.
Effective communication can be vital for the success of your small accounting firm. Try CanaryTEXT today and see how simple it can be to engage your clients.