Transparency is a word that conjures up several values—openness, honesty, clarity and collaboration, amongst several others. Transparent accounting firms have better client relationships.
Transparency is a value that most democratic countries and cultures aspire to. It’s a building block of democracy.
Like all democratic institutions, transparency equates to a form of accountability.
Is it a role the accounting industry sees as an ethical role it fills? To offer accountability to their clients to demonstrate their credibility?
How does a transparent accounting firm differ from competitors?
- Holistic insight to clients. Allows for everyone on the team to view the overall client management process.
- Fewer delays. Every piece of documentation, data, and information is at their disposal, reducing delays in finding what they need for a client’s successful project outcome.
- Reduces stress. Not being able to locate the correct files can delay work and cause stress to the individual in having to find the right information.
- More productivity – fewer delays, excellent efficiency too.
- Higher profits. More productivity and efficiency equate to more profitability or work-life balance, depending on what is essential.
- Removes outdated methods of working. With greater transparency accounting practices can view which task form bottlenecks and suggest better or newer alternatives to getting the work done.
- A healthier team. Less sickness, delivering excellent customer service, and handling pandemics with a stronger immune system due to lower stress levels, are more likely to be less affected.
Having a solution to complete work without micromanaging is a delicate balance for practice managers searching for transparency yet profitability.
Knowing that all your tasks, timing and priority list are viewable to all, can lead to accusations that you’re being ‘spied’ on.
More so that the advantage of a system is that if one client has a problem or one team member has a problem; it is easy to collaborate to remedy the issue.
Due to the current pandemic, a system such as this has shown us that offices can be mobile and still not impact the business. A team would even view all the tasks if they needed.
Transparency leads to credibility with your clients because this ethos that you espouse is directly going to provide them comfort. The same care will go into their work.
According to a study, transparency was the highest contributing factor to employee happiness.
With higher happiness levels, practices will push down any stress levels from work to negligible amounts and lead to increased productivity during their work hours.
Increased productivity should always be seen as a significant source of investment. And yet time again, many of us fail to recognise the critical nature of such tools to help them compete for the tasks on client projects.
How will your transparency affect your client relationships?
Forbes cites several benefits that will inevitably lead to more trust in the organisation and a longer-lasting relationship.
One also has to look at the world as it is currently and see that there are two dominant themes in their effect and a priority in our ongoing journey on this spinning rock hurtling through space.
They are propaganda and climate change. Both require attention. We can tackle how we operate our businesses and interact with customers and our clear communications.
The second will need accountants to consult with their clients in measuring their impact and its effect on their balance sheet in the future.
Transparency is the aspirin for these processes.
Workflow efficiencies allow for so much more transparency and openness and how much time we spend on tasks that might not need those resources.
Time management is critical in this regard, helping us to monitor how tasks consume workflow resources.
Having a clear and transparent method of completing tasks roots out outdated practices. Transparency, rather than being sneered at, will foster greater collaboration between teams so that new ideas of accounting are shared.
Transparency aids in removing inaccuracies, so that both clients and accounting firms avoid making bad decisions. In its place, a smarter, long-term strategy for improving business sustainability is embraced.
Final thoughts about a transparent accounting firm’s benefits
Like in any relationship we are in, the more that’s on the table, the better it is for all.
So, accountants offer this to all of their clients—a way to build credibility by being corporate citizens and having their financial affairs in order.
This, of course, means that the accounting firm operates on the same premise. Offering accountants who work there a solution to have all of their work open and transparent for all to see.
Excellent for the client, good for the accounting firm and suitable for the accountant.
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Illustration by Natasha Remarchuk from Icons8