This is one of a series of articles published by Business Fitness on the steps to reducing the cost of a compliance job. For more articles on this topic, head to the compliance category.
Reducing the costs involved in delivering jobs is mostly focused on the physical aspect – reducing costs by delivering financials and tax returns via electronic rather than paper-based means. However, rather than just looking at the job delivery from a purely cost-reduction perspective, it is beneficial to consider it also from a value-adding perspective.
Gone are the days where a client would value a large bound set of accounts and tax returns. Nowadays, business owners want more from their accountant than just a pile of paper: they want to understand how they are placed in terms of their tax obligations, what their true financial position is and where the possibilities are for growth or expansion in their business.
The job delivery stage presents an incredibly valuable opportunity for the accounting practice to deliver value to the client by providing them with this kind of understanding and insight. Partners and senior managers should therefore meet with clients at the completion of jobs with the purpose of:
1. Delivering high-level insight into the client’s tax obligations, financial position and business growth opportunities (that is, helping the client to interpret their figures);
2. Discussing how the practice might be able to deliver additional value to the client beyond the compliance work (through the provision of advisory services);
3. Suggesting different technology available that might aid the client in reducing its compliance costs (such as single ledger tools and remote access technology) and make the compliance process more streamlined (such as options for exchanging client data via file sharing sites or client portals);
4. The possibility of the client making use of any bookkeeping services offered by the practice for future compliance jobs to help ease the client’s burden and costs in this regard; and
5. The fees charged by the practice and feedback on whether service levels have been met.
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