As mentioned in our previous post, in this series of posts we’re going to explore the benefits of a simple and easy to use customer relationship manager to a small accountancy business. So let’s see what this business actually looks like in terms of customer management. Let’s call it Leen Accountancy.
Leen Accountancy is run by its sole owner and director, Miss Leen. She’s a qualified accountant with 10 years experience, she used to work for one of the big firms in London and gradually moved to working full-time on her own accountancy business. At start, she only had a few clients whom she knew well, they were mostly in the software industry and she mostly kept contact through phone calls. Marketing was limited to a simple website, local newspaper and local news board ads. All this soon changed to mostly online – from communication to marketing to the nature of her clients’ businesses. And the number of clients, solo entrepreneurs and small businesses, has increased.
Leen Accountancy’s mission is to provide a lean accountancy service to other small businesses so that they can focus on what’s important. It’s a one-woman show – no PA, no bookkeeping assistance. Miss Leen carefully selects her clients, sticking to her principles of efficiency and transparency.
However, in the past two years, her client base has increased so much that almost half of Miss Leen’s time is taken up by admin jobs – ongoing communication with clients on the details of their transactions, chasing them for overdue documentation, signatures, keeping track of their holidays, business trips, fluctuating amount of transactions over the financial years.
This means that not only she has little time to work her accounting magic, which is now at a lower standard than she intended, but also deadlines are beginning to be missed, leading to penalties from HMRC and decreased customer satisfaction. She doesn’t even have the time to work out whether some of her clients are worth keeping. This leads to her straying from her core values of efficiency and transparency. And probably decreasing profitability.
In terms of technology, Miss Leen’s resources are a desktop computer and a mobile phone. She does all the accounting and bookkeeping using a one of the accounting softwares on the market, with the aid of Excel. Most communication is done via e-mail, occasionally by phone. Admin tasks are logged with the aid of simple Excel spreadsheets, including customer relationship management. This is basically a customer list containing customers’ names, contact details, type of business, deadlines and notes on special accounting treatment or filing requirements. Quotes and invoices to customers are prepared using Word templates. There’s only one invoice per customer per year, which includes all the services provided to that customer, whether that’s bookkeeping, annual accounts or tax return preparation and filing.
While her customer base is too big to handle using Excel and Word, the nature of each interaction is quite standard. So it seems that at this stage in the business cycle, Leen Accountancy could benefit from using a customer relationship manager to streamline all its customer interactions into one easy to use tool, making the process of improving the service provided efficient and more profitable.
In short, what Leen Accountancy needs is a tool which:
- Manages the client database
- Manages quotes and invoices
- Ideally presents basic sales analytics
- Is quick and easy to install and use
- Ideally offers import of data
- Manages basic marketing campaigns
- Is secure.
These are the specific business requirements, the general business requirement of security and confidentiality of client data is paramount in this case, as any information regarding the operations of its clients that’s not in the public domain can significantly affect their profits.
To learn which CRM best fits this business read our next post: #3 – Small Accountancy Business Case Study: Choosing a CRM