By Jennifer Farnsworth
As technology continues to grow and expand across the business sector, accounting firms have worked hard to keep up.
Accounting advisory and consulting services have benefited from the way technology has allowed them to work with clients without meeting face-to-face. But these services still need to be personalized. Many local firms have found ways to balance technology with personalized service.
Kristen D. Berdar, CPA, CMA, a partner at BST & Co. CPAs LLP, runs the company’s Virtual Accounting Solutions Division. She said they offer outsourced CFO and accounting solutions for clients on a cloud-based platform, working entirely outside of the client’s office.
They work to create a personalized service that is based on each individual client’s needs and goals.
“We utilize technology to automate and streamline their accounting processes. We also offer them a sense of comfort by knowing their accounting is managed effectively and efficiently by a CPA firm that can also adapt to their changing needs,” said Berdar.
Using different associates within the firm is one way they can tailor their services. This allows the company to personalize the services and solutions they can offer.
“We can blend levels of associates from CFOs to accounts payable specialists to meet their needs and help them accomplish their goals,” said Berdar.
At Bucknam & Rodecker CPAs in Saratoga Springs, Melinda Bucknam, CPA, said as a paperless firm, she meets with half of her clients in person, on average. She said because people are often busy with day-to-day life, many clients do not have the time to meet. Also, many clients live out of the area—some as far as California.
Bucknam said even though their services come through in a form of technology much of the time, they are still able to make it personal with their clients. Like other firms, they have found way to keep the communication close and authentic.
Berdar said by utilizing technology to streamline processes, it allows them to have productive face-to-face meetings to review information and discuss the best practices, budgets, key performance indicators and other important metrics for the business.
“They save time and money by not having to manage employees and they also get our experts as part of their team. For those clients who are not local, we have phone calls or web conferences instead. We do still try to get together as often as necessary on a face-to-face level. In our industry, that is based mostly on trust, we need to be able to read the clients level of comfort with technology and how to best build trust between us,” said Berdar.
Building a relationship with clients is something that Berdar said is crucial to success between the firm and their clients. She said communication is key, and they have a system of checks and balances to make sure everyone involved is on the same page.
“Everything we do, every day, is based on trust and personal relationships We are dealing with our clients finances and businesses. Communicating with clients varies based on each person’s wishes. Email is easy and fast with a documentation trail that can be followed However, it can be misinterpreted easily so we encourage our associates to call clients and visit them with questions, leaving the emails for summaries of the conversations that we have already had,” said Berdar.
“In today’s world where technology plays such an essential part of everyone’s life, whether they welcome it or not, our main focus is to be responsive to our client’s calls, emails, texts, faxes, or however they like to communicate” said Bucknam. “So the human touch, isn’t always in-person these days, though if you are in the service industry, responsiveness is key.”
Bucknam & Rodecker CPAs specializes in tax and accounting services for individuals and businesses. Their business clients range from regular corporations, S Corps, LLC’s, partnerships, and sole proprietors.
BST is a multi-disciplinary accounting, tax, and financial services consulting firm serving companies, family-owned businesses, not-for-profit entities, government and high-net-worth individuals within the Capital Region and New York state.