Running a successful accounting or bookkeeping business is more than just working with numbers. And while administrative tasks are critical for keeping your business running smoothly, they can take time and focus away from serving clients. If you’ve ever found yourself saying, “I need more hours in my day,” it may be time to look at using technology to streamline tasks that take up a lot of valuable time.
This starts with identifying inefficiencies that are ripe for automation. According to Guy Pearson, CEO of Ignition, “Two of the biggest time sucks at any firm are client engagement and payments processing.”
Making client engagement more efficient
Guy shares, “At a firm I used to work for, the entire team—from the partners to the admins—would spend five days working on engagement letters. Other firms employ dedicated personnel to handle engagement letters and proposals, adding to overhead. Worse, with manual processes, you may end up doing work for a client who hasn’t agreed to hire you, may not agree to your fees, and could have moved to another firm while you were chasing down paperwork.”
If you’re working with disconnected systems, spreadsheets, mail merges, and manual proposal processing that takes days to complete and months to close out, there’s a better way.
When you integrate and automate your proposal system, you can send easy-to-sign online proposals that outline your services, pricing, billing, and engagement terms in just minutes. Plus, you can automate reminders and track when each proposal has been viewed.
Ignition provides ready-made, customizable proposal templates that include recommended services, pricing, and billing terms for fewer errors and less admin. And once your proposal is accepted, you can simply connect Ignition with your business-critical apps to further automate workflows. According to Guy, “We’ve found that our clients can create and send a proposal in as little as 14 seconds. And they save an average of three hours per week on creating proposals and issuing engagement letters.”
Making payments more efficient
“Almost every accountant or bookkeeper I talk to says they spend valuable time chasing clients for payments,” Guy reports. A recent survey put the figure at 94%. Clients pay late for a variety of reasons, but the problem may not always be them, it may be your process. Many accountants and bookkeepers still send out paper invoices through the mail with either no instructions or onerous payment processes that feel more like jumping through hoops in a three-ring circus than paying for professional services. Reducing the time spent on payments starts with reducing friction for your client. But it also requires rethinking how you get paid for your services.
Guy firmly believes, “The right time to ask for payment is when the contract is signed. If you walk into a café and order a coffee, you expect to pay for it before you get it. You can even use an app to order ahead and pay before you get there. With an integrated and automated payment system, it can be just that easy for you to get paid, too.”
Ignition is set up to collect payment details when a client signs your engagement letter, automating collection from day one. “It’s literally never been easier to get paid,” Guy says. “Clients love it too because it makes their lives easier. They can see what they’ve agreed to, how much it will cost, and take care of the transaction with a few clicks. We’ve found that our customers get a higher acceptance rate for proposals that include instant pay. They also get paid for all the work they do, avoid awkward money conversations, and increase cash flow—all while saving an average of nine hours per week on billing, collecting, and reconciling payments.” You can save even more time by connecting Ignition with your back-office apps to automate invoice creation and reconciliation.
It’s time to add more hours to your day
Guy concludes, “We can’t actually give you a 26-hour day. But increasing efficiency for engagement and payment processes can save you an average of 15 hours per week. So, you can spend more time delighting clients, more time on hobbies, or actually take a holiday once in a while. We’d love to see you down in Sydney!”
Better together: Thomson Reuters and Ignition
Thomson Reuters partners with Ignition to streamline how tax and accounting firms win new business, engage clients, and get paid. From impressive online proposals to automated engagement letters and payments, Ignition frees you up to focus on helping your clients and leading your firm.
Learn more about Ignition. Exclusive pricing for new Ignition customers is available through Thomson Reuters.