How Heaton Vences use Connect4 to build client trust
Connect4 is an integral component of Heaton Vences unique approach to accounting. With such an emphasis on close communication, the team at HV demands a platform that enables them to truly get the most out of their client meetings.
Heaton Vences are perhaps one of the most exciting small accounting firms in the UK right now. Whilst many firms claim to be ‘different’, HV really are, and that’s apparent from the very first meeting with them. When we caught up with Emilio Vences (one of two co-founders), he was sitting in a beautifully converted Nissen hut turned office in Norfolk. Not a drab magnolia office backdrop in sight!
“We’re not your usual accountants — we like to talk to our clients!” says Emilio. “We actually demand that they speak with us once a month at a minimum. Without that level of communication, we can’t deliver on our promise, and we wouldn’t be held accountable.”
Heaton Vences focus on providing strategic business advisory services to their global client list. The concept was cooked up by Emilio and business partner Joseph Heaton in a gym steam room before they headed out to their jobs at city accounting firms each morning.
“We knew there was a problem in the market — lots of firms are only talking to their clients once a year and aren’t focussed upon building rapport and spotting opportunities to impact businesses further.”
Emilio and Joseph don’t work with just anyone. “We don’t take on that many clients — we’re quite selective. They have to be as much a good fit for us as we are for them.”
How does Connect4 fit with Heaton Vences workflow?
HV works extremely closely with their clients, in a digital-first manner. Most of their client calls take place remotely, as they have clients spread across the UK and the rest of the world.
“We went through the phase of using Zoom… and using Teams, but we realised that there was an opportunity to better communicate with our clients.”
Connect4 is essential from the very first call. “We use Calendly to allow prospective clients to book a meeting with us. I put my [Connect4] personal pod link in Calendly and that allows us to dive straight into a call. We can set an agenda there, or use one of our templates.” Emilio thinks it provides a great first impression — their brand is of primary importance to them. Whilst cloud accounting is constantly changing, the Heaton Vences brand and their commitment to their clients remains constant.
From there, if the relationship is going any further, they set up a dedicated Connect4 pod for future conversations. They still use Calendly to schedule future calls but just switch the personal pod link for the new pod link in the calendar invitation.
The first meeting in the new pod will typically be an onboarding call — where they can discuss how they’ll be working together going forward. From here, they run their monthly business advisory catch-ups in the same Connect4 pod.
How does Connect4 fit with Heaton Vences tech stack?
“Our tech stack is pretty lean because we try to make sure our clients are using things effectively, rather than being overconsumed with too much tech.”
Emilio and Joseph centre their offering around a few key pieces of accounting practice software. They use Pixie for practice management, alongside Xero (of course) and Capium for bookkeeping. Connect4 is used daily for client communication, whilst they use MS Teams for internal collaboration.
Connect4 is used for discovery, onboarding and advisory calls alongside numerous other tools including; Calendly (scheduling), Typeform and Canva (proposals), Doc2 (engagement letters), Xama (AML) and Box (for secure storage).
How has Connect4 changed the way Heaton Vences work with clients?
“It’s been life changing for us! Our meetings were quite casual before. Our catch-ups didn’t always amount to anything at the end of the call.”
“We were just entering a meeting with no real agenda… the minutes from the meeting were just getting lost, or they were held on a Word doc on our doc storage platform. I found that we were often chasing our clients for the same things that we asked for in the meeting before. Connect4 gives us a bit more formality as part of the process. We’re able to address things before the meeting. And we can provide total transparency.”
“[Our clients] were quite shocked at first. But after one or two meetings, they really saw the benefit. It’s all about the accountability. It gives us a bit more confidence too — we go into meetings knowing that we’ve addressed things — we’re not chasing our tail all the time!”
If you want to get in touch with Emilio and the team at Heaton Vences, then head over to www.heatonvences.com or connect with Emilio on LinkedIn. And if you want to find out more about Connect4, then head over and book a demo.