For a professional services firm, knowledge sharing is the very essence of strategic advantage! If human capital is the main resource, than knowledge sharing – along with its identification and capture – is the key…
Every professional services firm manages client processes through repetitive interactions with clients. These include
- Back-office or support functions, where the execution of client instructions occurs through a consistent process (such as para-planning functions for a financial planner).
- Front-office or service functions, where the client experience is standardised through the use of processes (such as valuable tax planning meetings for accountants).
In either case, there are repetitive actions by both staff and clients. And where there is repetition, there is room for value.
For example, consider client meetings. Most professional services industries have common types of client meetings: accountants and tax planning meetings, financial planners and annual client review meetings, personal insurance advisers and client fact-finding meetings, or engineers and project kick-off (or review) meetings. While each individual client meeting may vary in focus or content, each meeting follows a common set of steps and milestones.
Therefore, A knowledge sharing platform becomes a very powerful tool to maximise the value of these repetitive, standardised client interactions. It can improve efficiencies for the professional and their client, as well as offer more strategic outcomes for the client. Let’s consider a knowledge sharing platform in the context of an accountant and their valuable client tax planning meetings.
Better prepare clients and accountants for valuable tax planning
A knowledge sharing platform can capture and share knowledge in both directions.
Accountants can prepare clients. In addition to the educational aspects of the meeting, a knowledge sharing platform can also be used to prepare clients for the meeting. It can outline meeting agendas, explain the meeting process, or provide clients with briefing notes or initial tax positions. It can also provide clients with some ideas or questions to consider in advance of the meeting…so the client is able to respond with high-quality answers in the meeting, rather than on-the-spot reactions.
Clients can prepare accountants. A knowledge sharing platform can also capture knowledge from clients. While dedicated accounting software platforms capture a client’s financial information, a knowledge sharing platform can work in a more strategic space. It can ask clients questions about their upcoming financial goals or spending plans. It can also prompt clients not just to prepare the latest financial data, but also provide templates or examples of HOW that data should be collected. As discussed in other articles, it can also brief clients on the educational aspects of tax planning, to help optimize tax planning meetings.
Focus tax planning meetings on the most valuable components
As a result of having better prepared accountants and clients, tax planning meetings instantly become more strategic. The meeting can quickly move to confirming data – rather than collecting data – and engage in more valuable discussions. Clients are able to provide better answers, which reveal more meaningful goals and objectives. Accountants can prepare more focused questions, and a considered variety of tax planning scenarios.
In the end, the meeting is either shorter (due to the knowledge shared on the platform, rather than in the meeting) or more considered (due to all the preparation work), or both. In all cases, the meeting represents a better return on investment for all parties.
Accelerate tax planning delivery times for clients
Due to the fact that accountants and clients are better prepared, and the meeting itself is therefore more strategic, the end result should be a shorter delivery time for clients. More work can be completed by both client and accountant before the meeting, and more considered – and therefore final – decisions can be made in the meeting itself.
This means there will be less time required for the accountant to prepare recommendations for the client. Indeed, with a good in-meeting process, it may even be possible to end the tax planning meeting with all the agreed actions, ready to be immediately sent to the client after the meeting has concluded.
Promote a considered and reliable tax planning process
Finally, a knowledge sharing platform also convinces clients that the tax planning process of that accountant is thoughtful, considered, and reliable. Reliability is, of course, a HUGE element of trust. By using a knowledge sharing platform, it demonstrates to clients that there is indeed a process at work – that the results delivered by this accountant are not through luck.
This feeling of reliability helps clients to…
- Assign value to the tax planning process. It shows the process is more than just a single meeting.
- Continue to use tax planning processes in future years. It shows the process is dependable and re-usable.
- Promote tax planning referrals for the accountant. It shows that referral to the accountant should receive consistent results.
These are hugely valuable outcomes for the client.
Tribal Habits can drive valuable tax planning processes
Tribal Habits is the ultimate professional services knowledge sharing platform. For accountants, Tribal Habits can…
- Host a 10-15 minute interactive preparation experience for clients to complete ahead of their tax planning meeting.
- Automate reminders to clients and completion feedback to accountants.
- Collect a wide range of data and feedback from clients.
- Quickly update topics with the latest tax and regulatory information.
For just a few dollars per client meeting, you could demonstrate huge value to your clients, hold more valuable meetings and improve the efficiency or fees of your meetings. Plus, you’ll be able to use the platform for all your internal staff training and best practice sharing.
Tribal Habits offers a single knowledge sharing platform for staff and clients, filled with ready-made content and simple tools to create, capture, and share the expertise in your business. At just a few dollars per month, why wouldn’t you start your free trial right now?