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Is Tracking Accounting Client Communication Worth The Effort?

on 2 February 2024

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Posted by Craig Hyslop
is tracking accounting client communication worth the effort blog header

If you’ve ever said…

“I know we talked about that at one point—was it in an email somewhere?”

“Give me some time to locate that document. I’ll get back to you soon!”

“Why did we decide to do this? Does anyone remember?”

… or anything even remotely like these utterances, you’re struggling with communication tracking—whether you realize it or not!

Communicating with clients is a must in any service-based business. But many professionals consider accounting client communication unique, which makes tracking it all the more important.

What’s so special about accounting client communication?

Accounting client communication includes any interactions between an accountant (or firm) and its clients—think emails, text messages, phone calls, meetings, and even comments on a financial document.

Effective communication in this industry is essential because accountants need to relay financial insights and analysis to clients in a way that is easily understood and relevant to their specific needs so clients can make informed decisions about their businesses and personal lives.

Accounting client communication also involves managing client expectations, addressing any concerns or questions that clients may have, and providing regular updates on the progress of financial projects or tasks.

But good communication isn’t just about the messaging—that plays out in just a moment in time. Tracking those messages is equally crucial because it maintains their content beyond that moment, preserving the message content for as long as it is needed.

The whole package—communicating and tracking—plays an essential role in maintaining good client relationships, preventing conflicts, and ensuring that clients receive accurate and timely information about their financial matters.

Track all your accounting client communication in one battle-tested collaboration solution. Book your free demo of Glasscubes today.

8 Ways A Better Communication Tracking System Improves Your Accountancy

1. You’ll never have to ask for clarification on a document or client issue again.

Tracking client communication allows your firm to maintain detailed and accurate records of all interactions with your clients. These records include dates, topics discussed, decisions made, and any commitments or agreements reached.

Accurate documentation provides historical references that can be used to address any questions or concerns that may arise later, helping to avoid misunderstandings or potential disputes.

2. You’ll never have to worry about noncompliance.

Accounting firms are often required to maintain proper records for audit purposes and compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. By tracking client communication, your firm can always provide the necessary evidence of communication and document any important decisions or actions taken.

Showing evidence of tracking helps demonstrate compliance with industry standards and regulations; it’s also useful for addressing any inquiries or audits from regulatory authorities.

3. Your work will always be transparent.

Keeping track of client communication helps establish accountability and maintain transparency. It allows your firm to demonstrate your responsiveness and professionalism by promptly addressing client inquiries, concerns, or requests.

By having documented communication records, you can show that you have fulfilled your obligations and responsibilities, thereby building trust and credibility with your clients.

4. Your client relationships will improve.

Communication tracking helps teams stay organized and follow up on any pending tasks or commitments. This makes it easier to deliver on promises made to clients and provide timely updates regarding their engagements.

Effective follow-up and relationship management contribute to a positive client experience and aid in building long-term relationships by showing clients that their needs are a priority.

Think your current tracking system is adequate? Book a free demo of Glasscubes today to see how much better it could be!

5. Your services will improve.

Through reviewing past communication records, you can evaluate your firm’s performance in terms of client communication. You can analyze data such as response times, clarity of communication, and frequency of updates. This analysis can help identify areas for improvement such as streamlining processes, enhancing communication practices, and delivering better client service.

6. Your firm will have an added layer of protection in legal disputes.

Tracking accounting client communication is an essential part of risk management for accounting firms. By documenting conversations and agreements with clients, you protect your firm from potential liability and disputes.

In case of any misunderstandings or conflicts, the documented communication can serve as evidence to resolve issues and protect the interests of all parties involved. Proper documentation reduces the risk of misunderstandings, mitigates potential legal disputes, and helps preserve the integrity of client relationships.

7. Your people will be more willing to collaborate.

Effective communication tracking promotes collaboration and teamwork. By having access to communication records, different team members can stay informed about client interactions and provide support or assistance when necessary.

This facilitates a coordinated and efficient approach toward delivering services to clients. Transparent communication records aid in seamless knowledge sharing, enhancing collaboration, and ensuring that all team members are aligned in their understanding of client needs and expectations.

8. Your client satisfaction ratings will skyrocket.

When you track accounting client communication, you can better understand your clients' needs and preferences. You can identify patterns, trends, and issues that are specific to individual clients.

These insights help in tailoring services and communication approaches to meet clients' expectations, resulting in higher levels of client satisfaction and loyalty. Clients feel valued when their communication is personalized and responsive, and this positively impacts the overall client experience and retention.

Ready to start tracking your accounting client communication? 5 Ways To Do It

Here are five key ways to track communications in your firm. We’ve arranged them from most to least effective. (FYI, the last one is a big step down from the first four, but we’ve included it because we know how difficult it is to phase out completely!)

1. Client Portals

Client portals are secure online platforms where accounting firms can communicate, collaborate, and share documents with their clients. These portals combine features of project management tools and online communication platforms—plus a few unique features of their own.

They provide a centralized and organized space for you to track accounting client communication, securely exchange sensitive financial information, and create customizable workspaces, among other collaborative capabilities.

Pros:

  • Provides a secure environment for collaboration
  • Allows for easy document sharing between the firm and its clients
  • Provides a self-service option for clients, reducing the need for back-and-forth communication
  • Offers a transparent and organized view of client communication and documents
  • Can be customized and branded to align with the firm's image

Cons:

  • Costs associated with setting up and maintaining the portal
  • Clients may need training or support to navigate and use the portal effectively

2. Client Relationship Management (CRM) Software

A CRM system can help accounting firms monitor and track client interactions and communication. These systems keep track of conversations, emails, meetings, and phone calls. They also provide a repository for storing documents, notes, and other files related to the client.

Pros:

  • Centralized platform for tracking all client communication and interactions
  • Offers advanced features like client categorization, follow-up reminders, and analytics
  • Allows multiple team members to access and update client information
  • Integrates with other tools, such as accounting software, for streamlined workflows

Cons:

  • Requires implementation and learning curve for the CRM software
  • Costs associated with the purchase and maintenance of CRM software
  • Potential for data entry errors if not regularly updated and maintained
  • Time-consuming to keep updated

3. Project Management Tools

Project management tools also provide a platform to track client communication. These tools allow your firm to create tasks, assign them to team members, and track the progress of each project. It also makes a record of all the communication that takes place between team members and clients.

Pros:

  • Provides a structured and organized way to track client communication within projects
  • Enables task assignment, progress monitoring, and team collaboration
  • Can be integrated with other tools and platforms for comprehensive project management
  • Offers features like notifications and reminders to ensure timely responses

Cons:

  • Primarily focused on tracking tasks and projects rather than individual clients
  • Additional features and complexity may not be necessary for basic communication tracking
  • May require training and familiarization for team members not already using project management tools
  • Lack of some advanced communication features like email integration or call recording

Client Portals for Accountancy Firms

4. Online Communication Platforms

Chat and video conferencing platforms can be used for real-time communication with clients, and all conversations can be recorded and documented. However, it is essential to maintain confidentiality and that these methods match clients’ preferences for communication.

Pros:

  • Real-time communication and collaboration with clients
  • Ability to record and store conversations for future reference
  • Offers features like screen sharing and video conferencing for enhanced communication
  • Can be accessed from various devices and locations

Cons:

  • Requires both parties to use the same preferred platform for communication
  • Relies on stable internet connections for seamless communication
  • Potential for security and privacy concerns when using third-party platforms
  • May not provide advanced features for documentation or searchability

5. Email

Lastly, you can track accounting client communication by organizing emails systematically (client name, project name, etc.). You can maintain email threads and folders for each client to monitor communication history. Also, files and attachments related to the project/client can be saved appropriately in the client email folder.

Pros:

  • Familiar and widely used method for communication tracking
  • Easy to implement and requires no additional software
  • Emails can be easily searched and retrieved based on client or project
  • Can attach relevant files and documents to the conversation

Cons:

  • Relies on manual organizing and categorizing of emails, which can be time-consuming
  • Potential for human error in misplacing or mislabeling emails
  • Extremely limited capabilities for collaboration and sharing within a team
  • Does not provide advanced analytics or reporting features

Track accounting client communication in a solution clients are happy to use.

Even the best client-centered solutions fail to deliver if clients don’t use them. This is typically due to the solution being overly complex and difficult to learn.

Thankfully client portal Glasscubes is neither—tons of users mention its user-friendliness. “It is VERY easy [to use] and yet has deep and wonderful features,” says Sarah M. in a five-star Trustpilot review.

You can use Glasscubes to not only track accounting client communication, but also assign tasks, share sensitive financial files, create approval workflows, and more—all in one highly secure environment.

Track accounting client communication in a solution clients are happy to use

Here are the key features accountants love about our client portal:

  • File sharing and document management
  • File request
  • Real-time collaboration
  • Task management
  • Version control
  • Audit trails and access control
  • Workspace management

Accounting client communication: File sharing and document management File Sharing And Document Management

Easily share and organize financial documents, tax returns, and reports securely in one centralized location.

This eliminates the need for manual tracking and searching through numerous email attachments, ensuring that everyone has access to the latest versions of documents.

Accounting client communication: File request File Request

Avoid the annoyance of emailing clients to collect multiple files (an especially useful feature during tax season or audits!). Whether you need 10 documents or 100, you can collect them all via a single link that navigates to a unique, secure portal where clients can upload the documents you need. Files are checked off as they’re uploaded, so you and clients can easily see progress.

Accounting client communication: Real-time collaboration Real-Time Collaboration

Communicate and collaborate internally and externally in real time.

This feature eliminates delays and miscommunications associated with email threads.

Accounting client communication: Task management Task Management

Create and assign tasks to clients.

Task reminders and notifications make it easy to convey clear expectations and deadlines, which improves accountability and timely completion of deliverables.

Glasscube accounting client communication task management feature

Accounting client communication: Version control Version Control

Never again lose track of document versions!

Rest assured that everyone is working on the latest iteration of every document. This mitigates the risks of using outdated or incorrect information.

Accounting client communication: Audit trails and access control Audit Trails And Access Control

Automatically record and track all your accounting activities.

Glasscubes provides an audit trail for accountability and compliance purposes. Accountants can control access permissions to determine who can view, edit, or download specific documents.

Accounting client communication: Workspace management Workspace Management

Organize your work with workspaces.

In Glasscubes you can create a workspace for each client and give access to only that client’s team and relevant members of your staff.

Glasscube accounting client communication workspace management feature

Start tracking your accounting client communication efficiently and securely in our robust client portal. Book a free demo of Glasscubes today.

Glasscube accounting client communication review “Saving us hours of resource”

“Prior to using Glasscubes, our whole team was involved in contacting our clients multiple times a year to request their records. This was very time-consuming and was not as successful as we would have liked.

We started using Glasscubes this tax year and to date it has saved us around 288 hours of resource, allowing our staff to proceed with actual work. ”

—Sophie M, a manager in the accounting industry, via Capterra


craigprofile

About this author: Craig Hyslop

Craig leads the Glasscubes Customer Success Department, and with over 30 years experience in the field, helping companies achieve maximum success with collaborative technology.

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