Whereas there may be little question that the occupation is presently present process a technological revolution, there stays a query as to who precisely all this progress is for. Whereas the ostensible reply is “Our shoppers,” thought leaders within the discipline have expressed concern that, in some leaders’ hearts, the reply is “Our agency.” These leaders might not even understand this themselves, however the proof is proven by the standard consumer expertise as we speak.
Donny Shimamoto, founder and director of IntrapriseTechKnowlogies LLC, mentioned that many companies have inside know-how and automation underneath management, gaining new efficiencies and capabilities that facilitate extra productive processes. That is good, because it permits for higher-quality work, however on the similar time, he mentioned there has not been as a lot consideration paid to the consumer expertise, a lot to the occupation’s detriment.
“What most haven’t performed but is re-approach this from the consumer’s perspective, or what is commonly known as ‘Buyer Expertise Design.’ We’ve automated to make ourselves extra environment friendly, however haven’t thought of what makes for a differentiated expertise that can appeal to and retain clients,” he mentioned.
Roman Kepczyk, director of agency know-how technique at Proper Networks, raised an identical level, saying that most of the advances companies embraced, similar to consumer portals, can typically wind up being extra for the agency than the consumer if leaders don’t have the appropriate mindset getting into. These circumstances are typically related with administration that wishes to make use of new know-how to enhance previous processes versus leveraging it to vary how the agency works. Kepczyk, a Six Sigma Black Belt, mentioned he at all times asks the query, “If we modify this course of, how does it impression the consumer?” He mentioned this query isn’t requested usually sufficient.
“That’s why I feel there have been so many failures in early portals and options, as a result of it made it simpler for the agency, however the consumer wanted to know a bunch of stuff and if their password didn’t work they needed to do a bunch extra stuff, and it simply turned so horrible. So I feel accountants ought to take into consideration how can we make these things simpler for our shoppers, and what instruments can be found and what can we do with them?” he mentioned.
Geni Whitehouse, the “Countess of Communication” who leads the Impactful Advisor, mentioned these failures, past inside effectivity wants, also can come from an extra of warning on the agency facet. Specifically, the agency will orient processes to guard itself from doable authorized and regulatory dangers, which doesn’t at all times make for an optimum consumer expertise. Like Kepczyk, Whitehouse mentioned extra professionals must ask the particular query: “What makes it simpler for the consumer?”
“They’re centered on checking the packing containers so the instruments are about documentation and masking our fannies and assembly regulatory necessities. … We’re nonetheless automating from an effectivity perspective, to make issues higher for us versus the consumer,” she mentioned.
This mindset, she mentioned, really works in opposition to a agency’s pursuits: If a observe is targeted primarily on compliance, that’s how shoppers will begin to view them too, which pushes professionals away from the strategic advisory work that accounting has been shifting in direction of.
“To make life higher for the consumer, to raise the worth and make it simpler for us to get [engagements], we have to serve them and free ourselves to do the issues shoppers really want from us: entry to insights, higher decision-making, sooner solutions. It’s this shift we’re making from this compliance focus to a reliance focus. We would like our shoppers to depend on us, not simply have a look at us like compliance of us we’ve to cope with as a result of somebody made us,” she mentioned.
This goes past interacting with portals or different know-how. Randy Johnston, government vp of K2 Enterprises, famous this will additionally lengthen to the sorts of options a agency gives, which will not be optimum for the consumer’s wants.
“Sadly, there’s a tragic quantity of compromised independence out there proper now. There’s a complete lot of individuals performing within the pursuits of the agency versus the consumer. They’re taking commissions and revenues on the again facet with out disclosing, for instance. Or, as a substitute of making an attempt to suit the options to the consumer, they attempt to promote the answer that they’ve. I perceive focus, I perceive changing into an knowledgeable within the slim belongings you provide, however that slim factor you provide might not match the consumer’s want,” he mentioned.
Past making issues simpler for shoppers, Shimamoto famous that the character of the shopper expertise can converse strongly for a agency’s model identification as nicely. That is essential to differentiate companies from one another to keep away from the commoditization of accounting companies total.
“Is our buyer expertise a commodity expertise like shopping for from Walmart or Ross’, or are we the upscale or luxurious clothes boutique, or are we Amazon? Know-how can be utilized to create completely different experiences and the query is what expertise finest matches the model picture the agency desires to have?” he mentioned.
This story is a part of an Accounting At present collection known as “The Frontier,” the place we discover the chopping fringe of accounting know-how by conversations with thought leaders throughout the nation, who will share with us their observations, hopes, considerations and even just a few predictions right here and there. We’ll see you on the Frontier.
See the remainder of the series here.