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Deliver a personalised service to stand out from the crowd

Personalisation and tailoring products and services to the customer is a key aspect of customer experience. Coca Cola has a great example of this – a few years ago they launched the ‘Share a Coke’ campaign, swopping the Coke logo with the UK’s most popular names. . This helped create a social media hit for the brand with some impressive results for the company.

 

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This campaign not only created personalisation for customers but also differentiated the product from its competitors. Offering personalisation for clients is not an alien concept for accountants. Most practitioners have used it to help demonstrate value, exceed client expectations and ultimately increases client loyalty. 

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Management reports enabling regular client interaction

Through the use of online bookkeeping solutions, clients are keeping better and more accessible records. 

Providing regular management reports is a way of demonstrating added value as part of the regular service to your clients. This can help them answer some important questions about their business and aide their decision-making process including;

  • Helping to understand how the business is performing, including sales and cost analysis

  • Forecasting the future and highlighting any problems that might occur based on current trends

IRIS Insight Management Reports

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Management reports can be produced via IRIS Insight.  Our latest update includes some additional capabilities to make it easier to offer consistent and personalised management reports for clients. It includes the ability to;

  • Add commentary to the management reports to draw out the key highlights from the performance of the business

  • Create more personalised management reports by adding logos, colour themes and layout options

  • Create  default templates to save time configuring the colour and layout of the management reports produced

 

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Still using an A - Z?

Navigating around an unfamiliar city was always a challenge. Most motorists would take a copy of an A-Z. In fact before leaving home most people went through the same routine - keys, wallet and street map. 

The A-Z was a great way to plan your journey, but they were not perfect. Inevitably as soon as the map was printed they were out of date. New roads from recent housing developments, pedestrianised town centres and congestion zones all challenge the motorist.   

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However times have changed first sat-navs and then smartphones became the preferred navigation method. Not only can you determine your route but now with dynamic updates it’s possible to change routes as prevailing conditions demand. Congestion can be avoided, as can toll roads; drivers can even select a quick routes or take a more scenic journey.

Many drivers suggest using sat-navs gives them a feeling of control and reduce the stress of driving.

When setting your business goals and monitoring performance most businesses still use their final accounts from the prior year. 

Final accounts are typically prepared 6-9 months after the end of the fiscal year – basing your company’s future on 9 month old data is questionable – waiting until the next set of final accounts to determine if your plans have been successful is quite another. Most businesses would benefit from reviewing their progress on a monthly basis.

IRIS Insight takes the guess work out of business performance.  

Identify problem early

Create profit & loss, balance sheet and cashflow forecasts quickly. Clearly presented data highlights performance and upcoming cash flow issues before they become critical. 

IRIS Insight enables leaders to track actual financial performance against their plan. Review progress, make updates and collaborate with advisors to help achieve business goals.

Problems in cashflow could have various sources – higher costs, poor sales performance or increased debtor days. If your business is missing their cashflow targets, leaders can quickly evaluate the potential causes and take appropriate action.  

The powerful 'what if' function can identify cashflow risks and model possible business changes. The impact of potential decisions is available in seconds, make informed choices and ensure you always stay on top of your cashflow.

Still a role to play

The A-Z still has its place and defenders of paper maps note that they are immune to the 3G black holes that afflict some cities. However the success of the new business planning tools leaves little room for older planning methods. 

IRIS Insight allows businesses to identifying issues early, evaluate options, and take appropriate action to ensure goals are achieved.

IRIS Insight - Making the Case

IRIS Insight - Making the Case

A recent research project announced it had grown an expensive Mediterranean truffle in the UK for the first time. The Perigord black truffle , which can cost up to £1,700 per kilogram, was recently grown in Wales. The results of the research project holds exciting possibilities for the future as this particular species was never actually expected to grow in the UK. Through continuous monitoring over many years, the researchers were able to gradually see the opportunity that was presenting itself and to recognise its potential. 

It’s another example of change prompting us to revaluate our preconceived thoughts and challenging us to see the opportunity that change brings.  The question is can you recognise the opportunity when it presents itself?  I’m sure we have all read how compliance work is decreasing and that there’s an urgent need to move to business advisory services.

But is it really that simple?

Whilst it’s true the expectation of our clients is changing, it would also be true that many clients underestimate the services their accountants could offer them. Clients understand the requirement to submit Tax Returns and Final Accounts; compliance work primarily driven by the government. However many clients would not think of asking their accountants for management reports, cashflow forecasts or ‘what-if’ modelling. When presented with this information most clients would recognise how it can help them to improve their business. 
The first challenge of building a Value Added Service offering is understanding what services you wish to provide and to which clients.     

Why do you want to provide advisory services?

You wouldn’t give financial advice to a client without a basic understanding of their objectives, and this principle stands when considering advisory services in your own business. Questions to consider include:

•    You want to increase your income but the return from compliance work is declining
•    Your clients’ needs are changing
•    You want to embrace the opportunities arising from technological change
•    You want to have better engaged staff

Once you are clear on your offering you need the correct tools to make the job easy. IRIS Insight financial forecasting is the future of complementary accounting software.
Based in the cloud, IRIS Insight is the ‘go-to’ tool for every professional adviser who wants to get more from their data, make smarter business decisions, and have the ability to forecast more accurately. Business advisers can also easily monitor actual performance and KPI information. IRIS Insight integrates seamlessly with KashFlow and Xero to provide an overall package your clients won’t fail to be impressed by.

Some changes are easier to adopt. Adding a Value Added Services offering holds exciting prospects for practices and it’s a change that an increasing number of practices are adopting. With a clear client demand, easy to use tools and attractive returns it’s an opportunity for change that should not be missed. 

So the next time you drizzle truffle oil over your pasta take a moment to consider its origins, it could well have come from North Wales. 

IRIS Insight for Accountants: Better Connected

IRIS Insight for Accountants: Better Connected

Streamlined data-flow ambition

Our mission at IRIS is to help Accountants be more efficient and productive when using our solutions. This liberates their time to focus on adding value to their clients with new services such as business and financial advice. 

To do this we’ve focussed on a specific ambition – how can we reduce the amount of data that needs to be entered manually to achieve a specific goal? One of the ways of achieving that is to connect to the source data and make the data-flow as seamless as possible.

KashFlow Connect integration

Accountants who use IRIS Accounts Production and whose clients use KashFlow bookkeeping already enjoy the benefits of this seamless data-flow which includes functions to:

• Import the trial balance data directly
• Drill-down and update the underlying transactions
• Use the IRIS nominal codes to reduce the mapping process

Building on this integration, we introduced the ability for Accountants who use IRIS Insight to efficiently manage multiple KashFlow accounts using KashFlow Connect.

Xero integration

This seamless data-flow has now been extended to offer similar benefits to IRIS Accountants whose clients use Xero as their bookkeeping solution. This integration with the IRIS Insight forecasting and reporting solution allows Accountants to:
• Connect to Xero to create Cash Flow, Profit and Loss (P&L) and Balance Sheet forecasts using data from the prior year
• Synchronise data with Xero to keep track of actual performance against forecast

The result is a more efficient process for Accountants when clients are using either KashFlow or Xero as their bookkeeping solution. To see the integration with Xero in action watch the short video here

Better connected

IRIS Insight users already benefit from capabilities such as cash flow forecasting, performance reporting, what-if analysis and business planning. Now with the seamless data-flow from the integration with Xero and KashFlow Connect, Accountants can start to benefit from a better and more connected workflow.

Start your free trial of IRIS Insight today here

Embrace the future

Embrace the future

The future is happening today

Last week Volvo announced it plans to focus on hybrid and electric cars, a move soon to be copied by other automobile manufacturers, spelling the end of the internal combustion engine. But there is still a way to go: some Volvo models offer barely 30 miles of electric-powered driving under real conditions. That said, the announcement is positive and marks the beginning of a journey towards an exclusively electric future.

Transformation in the accountancy industry

There is a similar change underway in the accountancy industry. Making Tax Digital (MTD) is the latest initiative to modernise the way individuals, businesses and their accountants interact with government. Over the last 10 years we have seen iXBRL, RTI, auto-enrolment the list goes on. Each initiative presented a challenge to individual practitioners, led to lots of discussion between accountants and their clients, worry about the future and eventually the industry embraced the change.

We are seeing this process repeating itself with MTD. Accountants can be heard saying“My customers still hand me a shoebox of receipts each year”, “my workload will increase but I cannot charge my clients more”, etc. The list of concerns goes on.

There are many legitimate concerns but solutions are available to alleviate these worries. Apps such as online bookkeeping, receipt capture apps, secure document exchange all have a role to play in simplifying the workflows between clients, their accountants and HMRC.  

Added value services

Another area to be developed is the provision of services designed to help clients manage their businesses more effectively and develop strategies to help them grow. Traditional compliance work such as producing final accounts or tax returns effectively summarises past performance. What businesses really need is up to date information that will allow them to make better decisions. Offerings such as cashflow forecasts, ‘what-if’ modelling and performance tracking are a great place to start. This information allows businesses to spot issues and take action before those issues become business impacting problems. 

IRIS Insight can deliver this functionality and more in a matter of minutes. It’s the ideal platform for providing advisory services such as cashflow planning, business planning and virtual Finance Director services. IRIS Insight gives you the opportunity to work closely with clients on the future direction of their business.

Embrace changes

The oil industry will not disappear overnight, and we will see a long transition, but the direction of travel is clear. Electric vehicles with barely 20 moving parts as opposed to around 2,000 for their internal combustion counterparts will force a change to their support industries. Similarly the needs of clients will change as will the role of accountants in supporting their clients. Compliance activities will be less valued by clients but there are a range of services that accountants can offer that their clients would be happy to pay for.

Just as Volvo have a long road ahead of them in delivering an effective electric-powered future, many practitioners have a way to go in building value-added services their clients require. Embracing this change today will ensure practitioners are well positioned for continued success.

 

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