We live in the online world that demands actions in the real-time. Clients make and receive payments over electronic medium round the clock all over the world. The accounting firm has to consider the regional taxes, currency exchanges, and several other factors to maintain error-free operations. It requires a consistent collaboration with the client as well as between the company staff.
Collaboration among the different parties associated with accounting firms offers several and slightly different challenges that with other business models. It requires sharing of updated data at the soonest while maintaining the confidentiality from unwanted parties. With the ever-rising competition and client demands, what does an accounting firm need to do to foster a better collaboration system among the staff and clients?
As the connectivity technologies have transformed immensely in the recent years, it’s been able to cast an impact on the accounting firms. Relying on those tech solutions, here are steps that you can take to improve collaboration at your accounting firm:
Structurize & Plan Accordingly
Reading the situation is the foremost step to finding a solution to any problem. To understand your collaboration need, you need to find the right structure in which different departments or employees need to be connected. This structuring must follow the protocols and duties that are expected of them, such as – if they are to directly interact with the client or not, what extent of data can be shared or restricted with them, if there is need of work-from-home, and so on.
Along with that, your budget is what matters. Once you have got the fine structure ready, you can deploy the different collaboration technologies accordingly.
Choosing the Technologies
There are a number of Unified Communication solutions that are available in the market to enable the exchange of voice, video, documents, etc. within one platform. But a video conferencing solution is not all that an accounting firm can work upon. It demands more of accounting (like QuickBooks, Sage, etc.) and tax software (ATX, Lacerte, Drake, etc.) deployment.
Traditionally, files prepared over these software are exchanged over email. Specifically for distantly located clients, it used to be the only solution. But now, cloud computing has introduced a way more productive solution. You can host the software on cloud and create different users to allow the access to it. So, your client sitting in a different time-zone can work with accountants and bookkeepers on the same platform and make changes in the real-time.
When you have a number of users working together, to keep the firm operations on the right track, it is essential to monitor their activity. As an admin, you must take the responsibility to take care of that. If you have adapted to the cloud solution, the monitoring permissions and facilities are bound to arrive built-in. Cloud-based hosting solutions also give you the ability to not only track the operations of a particular user but also to revoke the changes, if needed, without any loss of data.
But if you opt to remain on the traditional methods and technologies, there are several employee tracking software available that you can pick from.
Keep Flexibility & Progressive Outlook in Mind
Collaboration demands have changed from what they were some years back. It will continue to change in the future as well. Even your firm’s operational methods change with time as some employees and clients will leave and new ones will join. Adopting to latest technologies can be a mess if not done in the right manner, and eventually, you might end up spending too much of time and money. So, make sure that you keep in mind the future prospects while setting up your collaboration solution. Ensure that they are flexible to fit with the change in users, devices, and platform.