It seems like the world changed in the blink of an eye. Things we took for granted, like working on-site at a client’s office to conduct an audit, had to be changed. New ways of collaboration were discovered, tested, and refined. Today’s approach to accounting collaboration has changed dramatically.
If your firm still handles client relations as it did five or even three years ago, it’s time to get up to speed on new methods of accounting collaboration. Collaborating with clients and colleagues has moved to new methods, technologies, and resources, and each has its pros and cons. Together, however, they are forming a new way of working together that is meeting with approval from both accountants and their clients.
New Ways of Collecting and Sharing Information
In previous years, clients often dropped off USB memory sticks at their accountant’s office or envelopes full of documents.
Today, new ways of collecting and sharing information have made virtual collaboration easier. For example, many accounting firms are now using secure file transfer protocols to enable clients to upload data directly to their systems.
But what about large data files? Yet another change that’s occurred throughout the accounting world is the need to handle larger data files. Instead of a single general ledger file, organizations and companies may have large, complex data files requiring secure transfers.
This is the time when accounting firms should invest in new, secure technology to facilitate easier data uploads. Ensuring that your clients can collect and share information securely and quickly is essential to fostering good collaboration.
Audits Go Virtual
Another change happening in the accounting world is the shift to virtual audits. Instead of relying upon in-person audits, many accounting firms are now collaborating with their clients through virtual audits.
The success of a virtual audit depends on how easily and transparently information can be shared between accountants and clients. Ensuring that clients can share information securely is essential. Some cloud-based accounting and finance systems offer the ability to share information directly with third-party systems or users. Auditors can be added to a system or, depending on the technology, information may be obtained directly from the organization’s accounting program.
Reliance on Videoconferencing
Collaboration between accounting firms and clients has also changed in the area of meetings. Annual, quarterly, and monthly meetings have mostly shifted to videconferences. This shift makes meetings more convenient but can add complexity when juggling multiple calendars and schedules to find suitable meeting times. Technological hurdles, such as unstable internet signals, can also make videoconferences less effective than in-person meetings.
To make videoconferencing more collaborative, consider using two tools in one, such as a video conference tool with chat function integrated into the software. This enables users to ask spontaneous questions as they would during an in-person meeting without disrupting the flow of conversation.
Two other ways to make videoconferencing more collaborative is using a recording function, which keeps a record of the call that can be shared for future reference or with participants who were unable to attend in person. A transcript can be made from the recording too, either by working with a transcription service through popular tools such as Fiverr or utilizing transcription software such as Otter.ai.
No matter where you turn, the shift towards virtual work is in full swing. Some feel it is long overdue, while others believe that the spontaneity and comradery of working in person is lost. To enhance collaboration with their clients, accountants must use all the resources at their disposal.
Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.