It’s good to talk with clients
I recently joined the Connect4 team as a consultant. Here’s why.
Tolstoy famously opened Anna Karenina with: “All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” He could have been talking about accountant-client relationships. There are so many different flavours of unhappy accountant-client relationship. All happy ones are characterised by one thing: great communication.
2020 has shown how much clients need their accountants. We’ve seen businesses left to fend with furlough for themselves. We’ve seen firms work heroic wonders for their clients. Preventing business interruption from becoming business failure. Those wonders start and end with conversation.
If you live in the UK and were born in the first half of Generation Y or earlier, you will likely remember the BT adverts in which Bob Hoskins proclaimed “it’s good to talk”. Now cordless phones and card operated pay phones are a thing of the past. But the underlying message is timeless. In 2020, the best accountants have come to the fore and demonstrated emphatically that it’s good to talk with clients.
The Connect4 role
The problem is that meetings are generally pretty rubbish. They lack structure and provide a poor return on time. And online meetings are particularly rubbish. All the challenges of physical meetings are amplified by a lack of personal connection.
In 2020, Zoom has reigned supreme as the default digital tool for video calls. Used for professional, family and friend interactions, even pub quizzes. It’s the second hand Ford Fiesta of online video calls. It’s serviceable. It’s functional. It gets a job done. But for business interactions with clients, accountants need something more. They need something that’s personal, productive and professional.
Which is why I’m so excited to be working with Connect4. I believe Andrew and the team are building the Tesla to Zoom’s second hand Ford Fiesta. It’s a digital client meeting suite that a firm can customise with their own branding, tailor Pods to each client and furnish meetings with agendas and all the relevant information required to make them productive. It’s filling a hole in every firm’s software infrastructure.
When I started my career at Deloitte, we had plush meeting suites in which to hold our client meetings. The rest of the Big Four will I’m sure have the same. These meeting suites were enabled by Deloitte’s huge scale. One thing I’m particularly excited about with Connect4 is the way it acts as a digital leveller. Any firm can deliver their clients an elite meeting experience, regardless of their size and economies of scale.
I’ve become an avid user of the product. I’ve been hugely impressed with the team that Andrew’s built and how they operate. There will be bugs. There always are with any new software product. But Andrew and the team’s focus and conscientiousness means they’ll get fixed in the quickest possible time.
Connect4 has a huge role to play for accounting firms. I’m really excited to work with Andrew as he does for online client meetings what his near namesake did for basketball – and helps them take successfully to the (digital) air.