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How to Use Technology to Onboard and Communicate with Your Clients

Gusto Editors  
Team of colleagues walking a client through their onboarding communication

Are you using the best tools to manage your relationships with your clients?

A critical part of operating an efficient accounting firm is optimizing client onboarding and communication. When you use the best online communication and onboarding tools, you can utilize your time more effectively.

Gusto, along with our partners at CPA Academy, gave two informative webinars about different tools your firm can use to streamline the process of managing and communicating with clients. Our first webinar dealing with the subject matter is titled “10 New Year’s Tech Resolutions You’ll Actually Keep.” You can watch the full webinar here. Additionally, we released our presentation “Top 10 Office 365 Features You Should Be Using But Are Not” and that entire webinar is available to watch here

In this article, you’ll learn about critical client communication tools from presenter Dan Moshe, CEO of Tech Guru. We’ll share helpful highlights from Dan’s presentations, including how to use forms to onboard clients, using tools to manage your communication with clients, and how to increase your efficiency when using email.  

Using forms for client onboarding

As an accountant, it’s critical to optimize your firm’s onboarding process for clients. One useful tool your accounting firm can integrate into its workflow is online forms. Dan discussed some of the benefits of using Microsoft Forms, but different applications use similar processes: 

“Microsoft Forms … allows you to create surveys, quizzes, and polls really quickly and easily. … If there’s ever a time when you needed to collect the same information from multiple people, then a web form might be for you. It allows you to create a form using lots of different types of data fields.”

Dan Moshe

You can quickly obtain data from multiple people by creating different data entry fields. After creating a survey or other method of collecting information, you can forward your form through email: 

“You can send [it] via a link in an email, and people can click on that link, submit the information to you, and so then you get that information in the form of a spreadsheet and in the form of a filled out form that you can review.”

Dan Moshe

Using forms simplifies the process of obtaining information from people, which can be especially helpful when you gather data about new clients. Rather than going through onboarding information via phone call or email, you can forward your form to automate the onboarding process. 

Colleagues walking through technology to onboard a client

You can also use forms to determine whether a potential new client is a good fit for your firm. You can forward a form that gathers information regarding what they’re looking for in an accounting firm, and you can also collect details about their small business. Many form applications, including Microsoft Forms, also allow you to see responses in real-time so that you can collect data instantly. 

Forms can save you a great deal of time in gathering information because you centralize your data collection. You no longer need to manually collect details from new clients through multiple emails or phone calls. You streamline your process of collecting your client’s information. 

How to manage communication with clients

In addition to using forms to onboard clients, you can also use additional tools to streamline your client communication. Simplifying your exchange with clients is especially critical for scheduling appointments. Dan observed that scheduling meetings can often be incredibly time consuming: 

“It takes, on average, seven emails to schedule a meeting. Just think about how much time that takes every time. You have to look at an email, open it, … take a look at your calendar, [and] send an email back.”

Dan Moshe

Rather than put yourself and your clients through the trouble of back-and-forth communication to schedule a meeting, you can incorporate a booking system into your calendar to streamline the process. Dan specifically discussed Microsoft Bookings, but you can use many different booking applications to automate scheduling. Rather than emailing you, your clients can view your availability via a calendar and book an appointment. 

“Help your clients conveniently schedule time with you, … especially during [tax] season. … [We allow] clients to schedule their annual meetings with us by using a handy-dandy web link and webpage that links right with your calendar … to allow them to pick a time that’s convenient for them and, by default, convenient for you because you set it up accordingly. [Microsoft Bookings] integrates with your calendar and will automatically send notifications and reminders, so you don’t have to do any of that stuff.”

Dan Moshe

Using booking software enables your clients to easily schedule appointments with you, which is especially beneficial when you’re too busy to communicate with them directly. 

In addition to incorporating booking into your workflow with clients, you can also integrate business text messaging into your process. 

“[Business text messaging] is a great way to communicate and collaborate with clients. … Instead of sending that email, … consider using a business text messaging platform. … I’ve found that [business] text messaging has helped us move through and get questions answered more quickly because … email just gets buried, and people are too slow to respond. So save yourself some time, have happier customers, and consider using a business text messaging platform and get more done.”

Dan Moshe

You can save yourself a great deal of time when communicating with clients by using business texting software rather than communicating via phone call or email.

Something important to note is that business text messaging is different from standard text messaging via your cell phone. It’s separate from your cell phone number, and you access your business text messaging software from your computer and other devices. You can message your clients from multiple devices, and you don’t need to worry about giving your personal cell phone number to your clients. 

There are many tools you can add to your arsenal to streamline your communication process with clients. Incorporate a booking system and business text messaging software into your accounting firm’s workflow to increase your efficiency when coordinating with clients. 

Use modern technology and keyboard shortcuts to improve your email workflow

Although many tools will reduce the time you spend going through emails—such as booking applications and business text messaging software—it’s still an essential part of every business. Fortunately, there are different ways to streamline your email workflow to save yourself time. Some email service providers now include technology to clean up your inbox. Dan specifically discussed features included in Microsoft Outlook, but you can research other email providers that incorporate similar services:

Employee reviewing communication and onboarding items with a client

“[Outlook] cleans up redundant messages. … It’s looking through your inboxes, and it’s evaluating the contents of the messages in the conversations. … If a message is completely contained within one of the replies, then the other message is archived or deleted. It helps you keep that folder clean, [and] keep it organized by cleaning up redundant messages.”

Dan Moshe

Using email providers that automatically clean your inbox can save you time because they reduce email clutter. Some email providers also include text-to-speech features that read your emails aloud, which can be especially useful if you’re multitasking. You can also take notes or draft a reply while your email reads your messages aloud. 

Another helpful way you can improve your efficiency when using email is by memorizing keyboard shortcuts. Some critical keyboard shortcuts you consider learning include:

Mark a message as read:Control or Command + Q
Mark a message as unread: Control or Command + U
Reply to a message:Control or Command +R
Reply all:  Control or Command + Shift + R
Forward a message:  Control or Command + F
Create a new email:Control or Command + N and Control or Command + Shift + M
Send message:Option or Alt + S or Control or Command + Enter
Delete a message:Control or Command + D

For a more comprehensive list of keyboard shortcuts available for email, visit Microsoft’s website

Although learning new keyboard shortcuts may seem time-consuming, you can eventually speed up your workflow by slowly incorporating new keyboard shortcuts: 

“Think how many times you click on and hit reply to an email. And when you’re going back and forth between keyboard [and] mouse, that takes time. … You can actually save a lot of time [by memorizing keyboard shortcuts]. The thing about keyboard shortcuts [is you can] learn one and start using it [to] get it ingrained, then go learn another one. … Make it a habit, and then that’s how you can just become a little more efficient every single week.”

Dan Moshe

When you slowly incorporate new keyboard shortcuts into your workflow, you can significantly improve your efficiency. 

Maintaining your email can be a time-consuming and tedious process, but when you use an email provider that features modern tools, such as decluttering technology and text-to-speech, and learn keyboard shortcuts, you can speed up your email workflow. 

Learn more about using technology to improve your productivity and communication

It can be challenging to onboard and communicate with clients, but you can use valuable tools to streamline the process. Use forms to collect data about new and potential clients quickly and booking tools to schedule meetings efficiently. You can also incorporate business text messaging into your workflow to reduce the time you spend sending emails. Another way you can reduce your time using email is by using an email provider that includes automatic clean-up and text-to-speech tools. Finally, you can learn keyboard shortcuts to improve your email workflow.

There are many different tools available in the modern accounting world to improve your efficiency. Fortunately, you can learn more helpful tools by checking Part One and Part Two of this webinar article series. You can also watch our full webinars. Dan Moshe’s presentation on Office 365 is available on Vimeo, and you can also watch his webinar on tech resolutions here

If you’re looking for more ways to improve your accounting firm’s efficiency, consider partnering with Gusto. With Gusto, you’ll gain access to invaluable resources for your firm, including software integration tools that automate parts of your workflow. You also gain access to helpful HR experts as well as a dedicated partner advisor. If you’re ready to learn more about how our partner program can help you improve your firm, visit our Gusto for accountants page!

Updated: March 31, 2022

Gusto Editors
Gusto Editors

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