The accountancy sector needs to think again in the future when it comes to ensuring high levels of customer satisfaction and retaining clients, according to the findings of a survey conducted by brand strategy consultancy Insight 101. 

Whilst 38% of the survey respondents said they were satisfied with service from their accounts, more than a quarter of respondents (27%) said their accountant had not delivered as expected and 42% said their accountant had not lived up to their values and promises.

Only around a third of respondents (35%) had picked up a telephone to speak to their clients during lockdown – others had relied on email or other forms of communication.

Insight 101 and company founder Philippa Haynes said it was clear accountants needed to do more to prove their worth during these challenging and unprecedented times.

Philippa said, “The overriding majority of businesses that completed the survey said that direct and personal communication was vitally important, yet it seems many accountancy firms haven’t had any direct contact with their clients which means they’re falling at the first hurdle.

“Clients need to be reassured that they have invested their time and money in the right company – and never more so than in these uncertain times.

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“Yet the survey revealed that only 38% of respondents found their accountant had met their expectations which means the vast majority risk losing business as clients will undoubtedly look for more help and support elsewhere if their current accountant is not hitting the mark.”

The survey focused on small and medium businesses and the accountancy support they received. The aim was to find out how satisfied they were with the service they were receiving and to what extent expectations had been met.

Half of the respondents were from the professional services sector and 52% said they had found themselves in unchartered waters as a result of the pandemic and in need of even more support than normal.

Yet just 14% felt their accountant was fundamental to their business and a quarter (26%) didn’t believe that specialist knowledge was a key issue to who they appointed as their accountant, suggesting that support from an accountant goes far beyond the needs of standard accounting practice and compliance. 

“Clearly many accountancy firms are not communicating their core strengths effectively or marketing themselves in such a way that shows how much value they can add to a client’s business.

“Highlighting their unique service offer, knowing who their customers are and what they really want, as well as understanding the opposition, is all crucial to good business.

“I’m passionate about helping businesses find their true brand identity to enable them to truly meet their customers’ needs but it’s obvious from this survey that the accountancy sector needs to do more to ensure customer satisfaction and keep their clients on-board. Never has it been more important to support the accounting sector during this highly challenging time for businesses.” Philippa said.

Tom Rolfe, Managing Director of credit insurance specialists the Channel Partnership, in Portishead, said, “I was more than happy to support Insight 101’s survey as we share Phillipa’s views that companies need to know both themselves and their clients as individuals to offer the best possible service.

“We pride ourselves on offering a truly personal service to our clients by building strong, long-term relationships with them to ensure we give them the right advice for their business – every business is different, and one size does not fit all.”