Digital means cold and impersonal, right? Well, in our experience, it’s quite the opposite.
It might sound counterintuitive but we’ve found that the more business we do online, through cloud apps and over video, the more relaxed and natural the conversations we have with clients.
For a start, it means everyone on the call is in their own space, where they naturally feel most comfortable. In my case, that means I can have a dog or two running around my feet as we talk, while the client might be feeding a baby, or surrounded by shelf after shelf of Star Wars collectibles.
Compare that to the face-to-face meetings some people insist are the only way to really do business. You’ve got to drive for however long, or rely on public transport; you might need to find parking or a taxi at the other end; there’s faffing around with reception; and, once the meeting is over, you’ve got to do it all in reverse.
That’s potentially, say, two hours wasted with travelling, for what might only be a one-hour meeting.
Whereas on a video call, when the meeting’s done… it’s done.
It’s about efficiency, really – less time consuming, more focused meetings, with more engaged participants are good news for everyone.
I believe so strongly in this, in fact, that I’ve made Blue Shore a digital by default accountancy practice. We do everything online, with no face-to-face meetings at all.
Beyond video meetings and online communications, though, there are plenty of other ways going digital makes doing business more pleasant.
How cloud accounting helps
At Blue Shore, we love Xero for lots of reasons. Chief among them is that it makes talking to clients about their business’s financial position a million times easier.
I remember, in the days before cloud accounting, how much time was wasted on making sure people had the right financial documents and the right versions of each of those documents.
Between photocopies, email attachments and files on USB thumb drives, it was all too easy for things to get jumbled.
Now, we can all work on the same definitive version of your business’s financial records, in real time.
It’s easy to see what’s changed and to view financial information in whichever format works best for you, and for us, without compromising its underlying integrity.
That means when we do talk, instead of wasting time sorting out confusion over files and references, we’re all on the same page from minute one. That means, in turn, that we can get right down to what really matters.
I find clients who embrace Xero ask sharper, more specific questions, because they’re more confident in understanding the numbers.
I also find that conversations are easier when we can share screens and look at the same information as we talk.
More than numbers
Another useful digital tool is a customer relationship management (CRM) system, or practice management system (PMS).
For a long time, I found something a bit strange about the idea of keeping detailed customer records. We’ve probably all had the experience of an over-familiar salesperson asking us how our favourite football team is doing, or something along those lines.
But, actually, they can really contribute to efficiency by helping each conversation pick up where the last one left off.
Even the best of us can’t remember every detail of every conversation with every client off the top of our heads. Anything that helps us stay focused and achieve results for your business has to be a good thing.
Sign up for our all-online, digital accounting service today, or talk to us about how going digital could make your business more efficient.