The ability to share information with clients and partners is vital to the success of any business, especially accounting firms. A client collaboration software solution can help you with that. The collaboration software market was worth $19 billion in 2021 and is one of the fastest-growing sectors among various enterprises.
A good client collaboration software should be able to provide a platform for secure file sharing, easy communication, and task tracking. Here are some features you should look for when choosing your next CRM or ERP solution:
Real-Time Data Sharing
Real-time data sharing is critical for accounting. A cloud-based solution allowing you to share your data with your team members will be ideal. This is especially true if you’re looking for a way to improve the accounting experience in your organization.
A desktop application can also be used as a collaborative tool. Still, it’s not as flexible or efficient as the cloud-based solutions. That’s because cloud-based solutions are easy to implement and manage. Additionally, the initial cost of implementing such solutions is much less than on-premise ones.
Real-time data sharing is vital to ensure no information slips through the gaps, leading to errors in accounting. Hence, more and more professionals are trying to use all available data types. Hence, more than 70% of data and analytics decision-makers from various industries are trying to use all kinds of data effectively.
This can offer a wide range of benefits when it comes to customer experience. Besides sharing data with your peers, you should be able to share it transparently with your customers.
Real-time data sharing allows clients immediate access to their financial data, transactions, and reports. This transparency builds trust and confidence in the accounting process, as clients can verify the accuracy of the information at any time.
Moreover, clients can make informed decisions quickly with real-time data. They don’t have to wait for periodic updates or reports to assess their financial situation, which can be critical for strategic decisions.
Secure File Sharing
Secure file sharing is one of the most essential features of accounting client collaboration software. According to Mango Practice Management, securing your client’s data is a huge responsibility. If the data leaks or is stolen in a cyberattack, it can have devastating consequences for your business.
Hence, accounting client collaboration software should always have a secure file-sharing feature. The good news is there are several ways you can keep your files safe:
- Encrypted file sharing: You can use this feature to share sensitive information with only certain people or departments within your company. The encryption keeps confidential information from being accessed by others without permission.
- Cloud storage: If you don’t have enough space on-premise, cloud storage could be right up your alley! Cloud-based systems offer limitless capacity so long as there’s internet access available. It also makes backing up easy because all files are stored in one place instead of scattered across multiple computers like usual.
The thought that their sensitive financial data is safe alone can often improve customer experience. Furthermore, the convenience of secure file sharing streamlines the communication process between you and your clients.
Gone are the days of physically exchanging documents or sending them through unsecured email channels, which can be cumbersome and risky. With a secure file-sharing system, clients can easily upload and share documents, saving time and effort.
Collaborative Document Editing
Collaborative document editing is a powerful feature that allows users to share and edit documents in real-time. This means multiple users can make edits simultaneously without waiting for one user’s changes to be saved.
Collaborative document editing allows people working on the same file to see each other’s changes as they happen. This enables everyone to know what has been completed and what remains unfinished. You’ll also be able to comment on specific text areas, which helps keep things organized even when multiple people make edits.
The communication tools feature in accounting client collaboration software is pivotal in enhancing the customer experience in several ways. Firstly, it fosters real-time and efficient communication between you and your clients, facilitating quick responses to their queries and concerns. This immediacy can significantly improve customer satisfaction as clients feel heard and valued.
Moreover, these communication tools often offer secure channels for sharing sensitive financial information, which is paramount in the accounting industry. Accounting client collaboration software also typically includes features like chat, messaging, and notification systems.
These features allow for seamless and consistent communication, ensuring that important deadlines, updates, and tasks are not overlooked. This level of organization and clarity can reduce misunderstandings, which can otherwise strain the client-accountant relationship.
Furthermore, the ability to have discussions within the context of specific financial documents or transactions enhances the efficiency of the collaboration. You can provide detailed explanations and guidance directly within the software, reducing the need for lengthy email threads or phone calls. Clients can access this information conveniently, making the process more user-friendly.
In addition, some accounting client collaboration solutions support video conferencing and screen-sharing capabilities. This enables face-to-face interactions, even in remote collaborations, which can be particularly reassuring for clients. They can discuss complex financial matters, ask questions, and receive personalized advice, strengthening the sense of partnership with their accounting professionals.
Client portals are designed to offer self-help capabilities to customers. This means they can access their financial information or connect with you as and when they want. Clients can access their financial documents, reports, and data from anywhere, anytime, using a web browser or mobile app. This eliminates the need for physical meetings or exchanging emails, making it more convenient for clients to stay updated on financial matters.
Additionally, collaboration is improved as clients can upload necessary documents and files to the portal, which accountants can access instantly. This eliminates the hassle of mailing physical documents or using unsecured file-sharing methods, speeding up the accounting process.
Electronic signatures are legally binding and can be used to sign documents and agreements. They’re also more secure than pen-and-paper signatures because they’re not easily forged or copied. There are many other benefits of using eSignatures. Hence, almost 69% of survey respondents will select eSignature over in-person signing today.
Here’s how electronic signatures can improve customer experience:
- Convenience: Electronic signatures eliminate the need for clients to physically print, sign, scan, and send documents back to their accountants. Instead, clients can sign documents digitally from any device with an internet connection, making it much more convenient and faster.
- Time savings: With electronic signatures, there’s no waiting for physical documents to be delivered or returned. This expedites the document approval, ensuring that transactions, tax filings, and other financial tasks are completed more quickly.
- Reduced errors: Electronic signatures mitigate the risk of errors associated with manual data entry. Clients can review documents digitally before signing, which helps catch any mistakes or discrepancies. This reduces the need for back-and-forth communication to correct errors, saving time and frustration.
- Enhanced security: Electronic signatures often have robust security measures, including encryption and authentication. This helps protect sensitive financial data from unauthorized access, ensuring client information remains confidential and secure.
- Audit trails: Electronic signature solutions typically provide detailed audit trails, which record every step of the signing process. This transparency adds an extra layer of security and accountability, which can be reassuring for clients and auditors.
- Accessibility: Clients can sign documents remotely, allowing them to collaborate with their accountants anywhere. This flexibility is precious for businesses with multiple locations or clients who frequently travel.
- Integration: Many electronic signature solutions can integrate seamlessly with accounting software and other tools commonly used in the industry. This integration streamlines workflows, reduces manual data entry, and ensures all documents are stored in one centralized location for easy access.
- Compliance: Electronic signatures can help businesses meet regulatory compliance requirements more efficiently. Many e-signature solutions offer features like document archiving, timestamping, and advanced authentication methods compliant with various industry standards and regulations.
- Client satisfaction: The convenience and efficiency of electronic signatures can enhance the client experience. Clients are more likely to view their accountants positively when their interactions are smooth, quick, and hassle-free.
Mobile access is an essential feature of an accounting client collaboration tool. It allows you to stay connected to your team while on the go and makes it easier to work from home. Mobile apps can be used in many different ways, depending on the nature of your business. In fact, the real-time mobile messaging tools saw an increased usage by 80% in the pandemic and beyond, according to a 2021 survey.
For example, suppose your company has employees who travel frequently. In that case, having access to all accounts through an app will allow them to keep up with all accounts. This is especially helpful if there are urgent matters that need attention right away. This will also improve customer’s experience as they will be able to get the services quickly.
Providing an exceptional customer experience is a prerequisite for business success in the digital age. Client collaboration accounting software has emerged as a powerful tool that streamlines accounting processes and revolutionizes how clients and accounting professionals collaborate. By offering real-time data access, eSignatures, secure file sharing, etc., such solutions empower you to deliver a superior customer experience.