It’s no secret that the key to ensuring ongoing loyalty and driving new business is strategically managing client relationships. Knowing this, it would seem almost second-nature for accounting firms to prioritize tools and methods that help them track and leverage their key relationships. Yet a market-wide study of over 800 accounting firms in the U.S. conducted by The Ackert Advisory found much room for improvement.
Accounting Firms Are Underutilizing CRM
Sixty-two percent of accounting firms use a customer relationship management (CRM) system, which means a full 38% do not. Of those using CRM, less than 5% use it regularly (every two weeks). So, even if firms have embraced business development, they could be missing out on a major opportunity.
Those not using CRM are failing to take advantage of a proven tool for putting business development practices into play. And the firms underutilizing CRM are essentially letting a six-figure investment sit untouched, gathering dust in the corner. After all, a CRM system can help pinpoint the factors that influence opportunities, wins, and losses. Those insights help firms better focus their client management and business development efforts.
That said, this reality isn’t out of the ordinary when it comes to technology deployments. It takes proper socialization, training, and ongoing reinforcement to drive significant uptake and regular usage of most technologies.
Why Users Are Turning Their Backs on CRM
The Ackert Advisory surfaced some of the root causes behind firms not fully harnessing the power of their CRM systems. One is that accountants spend a majority of their time on billable hours as opposed to developing business. As The Ackert Advisory points out, the seasonality of the accounting business often pushes business development to the bottom of the to-do list.
This further exemplifies why accounting firms stand much to gain by committing to modern practices such as business development. By doing so, they can stand apart from the competition and exploit ripe opportunities.
To that end, they must tackle two major reasons preventing firms from seeing high rates of CRM adoption and usage: data entry and lack of accountability. 24% of respondents feel their CRM platform requires high levels of data entry. Another 25% name “a lack of accountability” as the top reason they don’t use their system very much. In fact, more than 20% of respondents said their CPAs are simply not expected to use CRM.
For CRM to be effective, users must input and update information on a regular basis. As The Ackert Advisory underscores, accountability is a cultural/behavioral issue, while data entry is an issue with CRM software. By addressing these issues, accounting firms could increase usage of their CRM systems, in turn enabling them to better capitalize on client relationships and opportunities.
Accounting Firms Don’t Know the ROI of Their CRM
It’s no wonder that most accounting firms are simply unable to measure the ROI attributed to CRM. According to the survey, “The vast majority of firms indicated that they lack sufficient quantifiable data to determine whether their investment in a CRM platform has led to a measurable return.”
Combined, these findings show that most accounting firms are not taking full advantage of CRM. In the process, they are likely missing chances to drive new business and increase client loyalty. In addition to addressing the cultural issues stymieing the use of these systems, firms can take advantage of solutions such as CRM data automation to minimize data entry and boost CRM usage and ROI.
To solve your own CRM adoption issues and extract maximum value from your investment, download our CRM Adoption, Solved eGuide.