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Accountants are the most trusted external advisers to business. This offers practitioners a competitive advantage in their fight to attract and retain clients – but maintaining this status is becoming more challenging.
Digital sharing of data means accountants can no longer rely on local business or client loyalty to fuel their client pipeline. In today’s 24/7 mobile world, the accountant’s position as the first point of contact to discuss financial issues, is being challenged. Numerous alternative sources of information are just a few taps away on a smartphone or tablet – and many people trust Google and the other search engines that aggregate this information more than they trust the originators of the information.
Relentless pressure to do more with fewer resources also nudges clients and prospects down the quickest and easiest route to information on accounts, finance and tax. By delivering this through a custom, branded App, you can neutralise threats such as ‘the Google effect’ and cement your firm’s position as its clients’ trusted and most authoritative anchor point in the mobile world. Embracing digital mobile will ensure you and your clients are connected when and where it matters.
Mobile Apps account for the lion’s share of time spent online; every demographic has embraced them. With an App immediately visible to clients on the home page of their smartphones and tablets, you can demonstrate that your firm understands and is responding to changing expectations around the accessibility and availability of services and support. In 2016, Edelman Trust Barometer found that in an average month people spent 73.8 hours in smartphone and tablet Apps. Usage time peaks at 93.5 hours for device owners aged between 18 and 24. However, the research found increases in online App use across all age groups: each month, 35 to 44 year-olds spend 78.8 hours in Apps and the over 45’s spend 62.7 hours.
It’s not hard to understand why. Mobile Apps are easily accessible and can be launched faster than the mobile web. They can also keep users more engaged and build brand loyalty, because they can support a more immersive experience than the mobile web, by providing users with greater functionality, integration, simplicity and utility.
Our ‘App-stacks’ are getting bigger and bigger. Many clients and accountants use as many as 40 different Apps to manage their finances. This means that what should be simple is actually getting messy. Firms like yours are also losing control of the digital relationship, as instead of interacting with your brand, clients interact with the App brands of accounting software, information sources and portals on their devices. Having your own App means that you can bring all these different Apps and mobile functionality into one single App, in your brand, so as it’s finance and business related, the relationship is with you.
We can customise your App to provide direct links to cloud accounting systems such as KashFlow, QuickBooks, My, and Xero. We can also connect to other third party sites, such as IRIS, CCH, Spotlight Reporting, Fathom, Twinfield and Dropbox and can link to tools such as Receipt Bank and even the ATO for lodgement.
Your App integrates all systems on one platform, reducing complexity and confusion for clients. Rather than wading through numerous ‘best of breed’ Apps on their mobile devices, your clients can save time by accessing their accounts, finance and tax information and systems through a single custom App: yours.
Having your own App is like placing an incredibly valuable digital Swiss army knife in their pockets. Your App can provide them with a suite of tools, calculators and information which will make their day-to-day financial life so much easier. Imagine how happy your clients will be and how attractive this would be to potential clients.
You could be providing your clients with an easy-to-use Receipt Manager to capture and share expenses with you. No more lost receipts! Your clients will also be able to record and export income, even when out and about. The in-built GPS in mobile devices mean that we have been able to build an incredibly useful Logbook tool, allowing clients to capture and export their mileage records at the tap of a button.
In addition to these powerful business tools, your App could also offer a currency calculator, tax tables, finance information and a suite of 12 other calculators all designed to be super useful to your clients.
With an App so packed full of useful tools and information, you could end up top of the pile – 7 in 10 smartphone users put their most-used App on their home screen. Imagine that; your firm on the home screen of your clients and potential clients smartphones.
Many of today’s business owners are millennials or members of Generation X, who have grown up with an innate knowledge of technology – and what it makes possible. They understand the technologies that drive today’s world and they expect their advisers to demonstrate that they also see technology as a vital enabler, not a burdensome threat.
Firms also need to attract and retain millennial employees. A company’s reputation for fostering innovation is an important factor driving millennials’ employment decisions. The latest generation of accountants expect to harness the power and benefit of technology to make their lives better and jobs easier, by saving time and enabling greater insight into clients’ businesses.
Millennials have no interest in a firm that still does the same tasks, the same way as it did 5 or 10 years ago. An App can position your firm as a forward-thinking and innovative user of technology. Some firms are actively recruiting with their App, by using its push notifications and by encouraging staff to share the App on social media platforms.