While almost every accountancy or advisory firm will have a clear strategy for client engagement, the vast majority of professionals working in these industries still experience daily frustrations.

That’s the key finding from Huddle’s latest research into how teams like yours are using technology to work and collaborate with clients.

You can download a free copy of the report “Client Engagement 2020: How teams are using technology to work with clients” here, and over the coming weeks we’ll also be sharing some of the insights through a series of blog posts.

In this first post, we look at the common frustrations experienced by teams when running a client engagement.

 

What frustrates teams the most during a client engagement?

Having to use multiple apps and workflows

Many firms remain reliant on a patchwork of applications to manage client engagements. This results in employees becoming fatigued by the sheer number of options available to them when working with clients; causing fragmentation in common workflows, slowing productivity and introducing risk.

With no unified client engagement tool available to them, employees are forced to combine multiple apps and workflows. As such, the most common complaint (32%) is the necessity to jump between multiple applications to keep track of files and updates from clients. Not only is this a productivity drain, but with workers jumping between messaging, file sharing, task and productivity apps, the audit trail of activity is quickly broken – making engagements more prone to error. This challenge was particularly pronounced among younger workers (under 24 years of age) with 44% showing frustration at the frequency with which they must move between apps to complete basic workflows. 

 

Keeping engagements on track

Maintaining productivity and working with clients efficiently was a common theme expressed by respondents.

  • 29% feel challenged by frequent missed deadlines caused by clients not responding to actions on time.
  • 31% struggle to keep track of tasks and client deliverables. 
  • 31% struggle to keep track of document versions when working with multiple stakeholders. This is often the result of using email to share files, or collect feedback and revisions. 
  • 30% felt that their organization’s IT policies are too restrictive to let them collaborate effectively with clients outside of the firewall. 19% stated that it takes too long to collect files from clients at the start of an engagement (i.e collating PBC files in advance of an audit).
  • 20% feel they spend too long simply finding the files they need

 

What impact does this have on productivity and quality?

36% of those surveyed felt that their organizations were too slow in adopting new technologies to help them meet the client experience and digital transformation challenges facing them. Even at a basic level, productivity is being damaged and 40% admitted that quality is often compromised under increasing time pressures.  An unacceptable amount of time is still being spent on file administration, and issues that could be overcome with an improved client collaboration solution are still prevalent. For example, version control of files, duplication of client deliverables and managing client file collection were all cited as common day to day frustrations.

 

What can Huddle do to help?

It is vital that any published client experience of digital transformation vision is supported by investment in the right technologies. Particularly when working with clients, employees can become fatigued by the sheer number of options available to them. This can cause fragmentation in common workflows, slowing productivity and introducing risk.

Huddle is the recognized leader in document collaboration and client engagement portals for the accounting and advisory industry. More than half of the world’s Top Ten global firms use Huddle to mobilize teams around their most important client engagements. From audit and tax work to advisory projects, Huddle’s cloud-based workspaces make it easy for internal teams and clients to come together, share

 

Download your own free copy of Client Engagement 2020: How Teams Are Using Technology to Work with Clients

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