Best Practices

How to Optimize Your Accounting Onboarding Process

For accountants, client onboarding is perhaps the most important stage in building successful relationships. Learn how to optimize your onboarding process.

Once a client has signed on the dotted line, it’s time to welcome them through your onboarding process. Here’s an accounting onboarding checklist on how to optimise this process and set your relationships up for success.

Client onboarding for accountants is perhaps the most important stage in your customer journey. It sets the tone for how you and your client will work together going forward and can make or break the relationship.

A clearly defined accounting onboarding process sets expectations, creates a solid foundation for your relationship with the client and helps to prevent overservicing.

While I’d like to think you have an existing onboarding process in place, if this is not up to scratch, it could lead to issues later down the line. In fact, the better your accounting onboarding process, the higher your retention rate and NPS score.

That means it’s critical to do everything you can to improve your accounting onboarding process as soon as possible.

Why is a good accounting onboarding process important?

Establishing a consistent and clearly defined onboarding process means that every client receives a consistently high level of care from your firm, with clearly defined expectations, and gives a professional first impression to new clients.

A good client onboarding process will set your firm up for success by:

  • Creating a solid base in your client-firm relationship
  • Building trust in your client
  • Preventing scope creep by managing expectations
  • Introducing new clients to your team and the way you work

How to improve your client onboarding process

So, with that in mind, how do you create a consistent and impactful onboarding process?

Personalise the process

Onboarding accounting clients involves many tasks, and it's important to streamline the process for a good client experience. However, just because your onboarding process is streamlined and consistent, that doesn’t mean it can’t be personalised.

Once you’ve mapped out the stages of your onboarding process, including any introduction calls or documents you need clients to fill in, take the time to write a welcome email sequence that guides your new clients through each step. 

These can be added to your Pixie onboarding workflow to create a consistent onboarding process. During this stage, you can add placeholders that allow you to personalise each email with your client’s name and their business details, helping create a more intimate experience even at scale. 

With Pixie, you can build your own onboarding workflow and automated email templates that welcome your clients to your firm and remind them of upcoming meetings or outstanding onboarding tasks.

Use video software to create useful resources

At this stage in the customer journey, you want to make a great impression and show new clients that they’ve made the right decision in choosing to work with you. 

Providing clear and simple guidance on how to use your firm’s systems and technology is a good starting point. For example, if your client needs to adopt new channels used for communication, deadline management, and file sharing, you need to hold their hand while they get to grips with the software.

We recommend using video tools like Loom to create short clips explaining your systems and processes. These quick videos can even be used to provide further advice or information on the services you provide. 

The benefit that video content has over text is that it allows you to add a more welcoming and personal feel to your onboarding. It’s more consumer-friendly, too — according to a study by Wyzowl, two-thirds of participants said they’d prefer to learn about a product or service by watching a short video rather than reading a text-based post.

Keep in contact throughout the process

Staying in regular communication with your new clients throughout the onboarding process keeps your firm front of mind and builds trust. It’s important to make your clients feel well taken care of during their first few weeks working with your firm, both to help them trust your team and to keep progress moving forward.

Send them friendly reminders about next steps, such as signing contracts, setting up welcome calls, or introducing them to team members and sharing any other relevant information.

Use accounting practice management software to streamline the onboarding process

Using client onboarding software helps streamline the process by keeping all communication in one place. It also helps you quickly understand where clients are in their onboarding journey.

Pixie’s onboarding software allows you to integrate tools such as GoProposal or IgnitionApp to create proposals, send automated emails, create task lists and set up reminders all in one easy-to-manage place. You can even automate AML checks using Xama.

Sleek and professional processes go a long way to creating a great first impression, and with Pixie, this couldn’t be easier.

Ask for feedback

After a couple of months of working with a new client, make sure to check in and ask for their feedback. This is the perfect opportunity to gain valuable insights for your client management team. Ask new clients why they chose your firm over your competition as well as how they’ve enjoyed the experience of working with you so far.

At this point, the information is still fresh in their minds, your relationship is flourishing, and they will likely be happy to share their thoughts. This feedback will help you better understand your marketing channels or identify the best sources for generating new referrals.

Gather data

Using client onboarding software also helps you understand which parts of your onboarding process are working well… and which aspects might not be so user-friendly.

If the new client’s engagement drops off after a certain period of time, this could indicate that your onboarding process is too long, or higher engagement with links pointing to video resources would suggest video explainers work well for your clients.

Use this data to continuously modify and optimise your onboarding communications and create the strongest, most streamlined experience for your new clients. 

Ready to wow your new clients with a streamlined onboarding process?

In short, the key to a great client onboarding process for your accountancy firm is consistency, communication, and collaboration. 

Using a practice management software such as Pixie is fantastic for streamlining your onboarding process; you can create onboarding workflows, client task lists, and automated emails and integrate them with other tools to keep all your client information in one place.

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