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We’ve been shortlisted for three Accounting Excellence Awards!
The Accounting Excellence Awards 2020 are targeted at recognising the ‘highs’ in the accounting and digital finance world over the last 12 months. As a firm that is continuously looking for ways to grow and improve, the application process was a great opportunity for us to review how we’ve done in the last year, and a chance to identify the difficulties on the road ahead.
The lockdown and other precautionary measures introduced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that the awards night has been moved to 2 February 2021, but the suspense only adds to the excitement of it all!
The intention was initially just to apply for the Fast-track Firm of the Year award, but we couldn’t resist applying for Client Service and Digital Firm of the Year too - after all we’re proud of the work we do! The hope was to be shortlisted for an award, so everyone was absolutely delighted to find out we had been picked for three!
The Client Service award criteria focused on our approach to client care, initiatives we’ve undertaken and what processes we’ve put in place to improve the client experience. It asked us to provide specific evidence of how we track our client care approach, looking at retention and referral rates for example. It was essential to get across our ‘client centric’ approach to accounting.
Our client service ethos as a firm is, and always will be, to provide the highest levels of communication and responsiveness, while ensuring the level of service we provide is second to none. Some of the team's successes over the last year have been to maintain a 99% client retention rate, whilst growing our client base by over 15%, with around 50% of these coming from client referrals - a true testament to our service.
One of the processes we developed is our Xero Implementation Framework, which details all of the steps required for a successful migration, helping us deliver timely and accurate migrations while keeping clients informed. We were also able to use some great client testimonials that we collated earlier in the year to support our application.
Digital Firm of the Year
The Digital Firm of the Year award was much more focused on the technological initiatives and systems that we’ve implemented in the year, and how these have benefitted both our practice and our clients.
We’ve been a 100% digital cloud practice since we set up over a decade ago, with the view that ‘digital enhances, not hinders’. We have a culture of continuous improvement, and that extends from our practice to the software vendors we work with. We’ve extended our family of partners to include the likes of Fluidly, Xavier and Starling Bank, and have a member of our team dedicated to maintaining partner relationships and improving our use of digital technology.
I’m a strong believer that inclusivity promotes teamwork and alignment with the practice, so at every weekly team meeting each team member is tasked with identifying something the practice can improve on. More often than not, that involves improving our usage of digital technology.
Fast-track Firm of the Year
Finally, the Fast-track Firm of the Year award looked at practices that have experienced rapid growth, consisting of a number of key questions; What are the reasons for the rapid growth? How do we protect ourselves from overtrading? What are our growth plans for the future?
Throughout this pandemic, we’ve continued to take on a number of new clients looking for a digital firm to support them and their business. I attribute our growth largely to our strong brand as a Xero (Platinum) and Receipt Bank specialist, together with a strong web presence and high levels of client service.
We’ve also grown our advisory branch, taking on an SME Business Partner at the beginning of the year to help support clients with cash flows and strategic planning. The timing of this fell perfectly, as we’re now seeing an increased demand for these services as businesses try to get ‘back to normal’.
Time to reflect...
For now, to coin an old phrase ‘the proof is in the pudding’, and whilst we’ll have to wait until the awards night in February, being shortlisted for these awards amongst some other big names is a true honour. I’m so proud of my team at Inform for what we’ve been able to achieve. Bring on the awards night!
I also want to say a huge thank you to our clients who are always willing to help us test out new apps and processes with them - it is really appreciated!
Freddy Mercury once said “don’t stop me now, I’m having such a good time”, and I couldn’t agree more! I’m dedicated to continually improving our service offerings, and being a pioneer for the use of fintech in the accounting industry.
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