As a branding agency working with accountancy practices, we are witnessing and working in very exciting times, or what should be more accurately defined as a technological and branding revolution. This shift has arisen because of Xero software and cloud technology, a potent coupling, that has the potential to change the face of accounting.
Long seen as a sedate, formal business, accountancy now has the opportunity to adopt a much more modern, social tone of voice and also harness a newer, younger market. Traditionally accountancy practices have been built on client’s remaining loyal to them for life, and for most part, client interaction has been minimal. Firms have instead focused on, accuracy and efficiency within the methodologies and processes of accounting, rather than working on adding customer value and building a brand experience. Older more loyal customers do remain, but the bad news is the newer ones no longer feel the same loyalty to an accountant, and unfortunately, have no qualms about shopping around to seek out a practice that can provide that all important brand experience at the right price.
The new generation of client is a ‘social’ individual. Social media such as Facebook and Twitter, is creating conversations and as a consequence they are actually humanising technology. This has resulted in clients’ expectations changing, in regards to the way that businesses interact with them. This new breed of client wants to be listened to and they want a trusted relationship with an accountant that can add value as creative’s ‘The Cloud’ is fundamental to our daily working practices. It’s ability to store information, helps us to deliver files to our clients and service providers (anywhere in the world), making our working systems much more streamlined and immediate.
We are not alone and this harnessing of technology can now be see everywhere, with consumers wanting information on demand. A need which is dramatically changing the consumer/provider landscape. Whether it be Smart Phone Apps, Google, Smart TV’s to personalise TV viewing or online banking, clients now expect to have access to information whenever they desire it. That is why Xero with its use of cloud technology, is bringing accounting bang up to date.
So how does all this impact on accountancy practices? As the public becomes more aware of the Xero brand and the technology it offers them, we believe there will be an increased need for accountancy practices to deliver a similar brand experience. Of course there are other online software packages, but Xero is highly focused on its marketing and as a result will become more visible.
The practices who choose not to re-visit their branding/marketing, whether or not they are Xero users, potentially risk loosing clients to those that do redefine their offering. This is because it is crucial that practices signal to the consumer that they can provide an up to date customer experience, one which is proactive, makes their client’s life easier and makes their businesses accounting more efficient.
Call it what you like, paradigm shift, revolution, transformation or metamorphosis, but when change comes along it always presents both positives and negatives. In this case, if practices are to respond to this change, the negatives involve the redefinition of company values, both internally with staff and externally with clients. Also there is the time, effort and cost involved and the learning curve. However the positives, are numerous, presenting an immense opportunity for accountancy practices to enhance their existing branding or build, design and develop a new improved brand. One which ultimately will enable them to connect more effectively with their chosen target audience and to be seen as the provider of choice.
Accountancy branding is entering a very exciting new era.