With all the latest cloud software and fancy Xero add-ons, it can be easy to overlook the other areas of your practice that would benefit from the implementation of some new technology.
One of these areas is communication.
Improving and streamlining communication is key for accountancy practices that want to increase their overall productivity and efficiency.
So how can you use technology to do it?
Here are 3 types of tech I think all accountancy practices should implement in order to improve and streamline their communication:
1. Internal messaging software
One of the biggest problems I find when working with accountancy practices is that the communication between the team is poor.
That’s not to say they don’t talk, I’m sure they love to chat about what they did at the weekend and who was on the TV last night, but I’m referring specifically to strategic communication about the business and its goals.
And when this is the case, people often work in silos resulting in inefficiency and low productivity.
Email is ok, but often it can be tricky going back through threads finding out who said what. And unless somebody has been CC’d, then they won’t know this thread exists.
I would recommend checking out Slack. It’s much more than just a messaging platform, it’s a full suite of team collaboration and communication tools that you can use.
I particularly like the fact that you can create ‘channels’ for different parts of your practice e.g. a Payroll channel or a Xero Implementation Channel. It also has a great API and integrates with a number of other applications.
2. Video conferencing software
Due to the rise of cloud accounting software and other technology, once local firms can now easily work with clients nationally and internationally.
This means that face to face meetings, although preferable, aren’t always possible.
Using video conferencing software allows you to have the next best thing, and you’d be surprised at the number of clients who might be able to travel in, but would prefer to do a video call instead.
One of my clients, Graham, who was originally slightly dismissive about this recently signed a new client who was based 200+ miles away by just using video conferencing software to speak to him.
You can also use this software internally to speak to team members who might be working out of the office. Being able to see each other and share screens at the click of a button is often much more valuable than a phone call.
3. Weekly check-in software
A big part of improving and streamlining communication is being able to know exactly what people are up to, how people feel and what they are thinking on a weekly basis.
Having software in place to do weekly check-ins with your team allows them to let you know all of this and more.
The one I recommend that I use in my own business is 15Five. Once a week on a Friday your team submit a quick and easy online report saying:
- How they feel on a scale of 0-5 (It then also asks them what they need to move it up by 1)
- Which goals they achieved (based on the goals they submitted the previous week)
- What their goals/top priorities are for next week
- What went well for them this week
- What is their biggest challenge and how can it be fixed
- Anything else they want to share
It takes less than 10 minutes to complete and the insights you get from this on a weekly basis are incredibly powerful.
What other software do you use?
The ones mentioned above are just 3 examples of how you can use technology to improve and streamline communication in your practice.
What other software do you use to improve and streamline communication in your practice? Let me know in the comments below…