'Information overload' could alienate clients, warns expert

'Information overload' could alienate clients, warns expert

A desire to over-analyse facts and figures could potentially serve as an accountant’s "downfall" when dealing with SME clients, according to one industry expert.

Tracey Loubser, managing director of Confident Cashflows, claimed accountants run the risk of overwhelming their clients with a plethora of facts and figures.

“Our attention to detail is a very strong characteristic of ours and makes us really good at what we do in terms of accountants,” Ms Loubser noted.

“Unfortunately, what that can also do is be part of our downfall in the fact that we want to over-analyse and give too much information, especially to a small business client.”

Not only does the client become overwhelmed with information, Ms Loubser said, it can potentially take too long to draw the information out, meaning it is no longer efficient for the practice which will then not recover fees at the right rate.

“It’s overwhelming, and people don’t generally like to spend money in an area where they feel confused and overwhelmed,” said Ms Loubser.

With the industry continuing to focus on online interaction and digital efficiency, Ms Loubser noted that ensuring face-to-face time with clients is not sacrificed is essential to developing client relationships and informing the client at the right pace.

“These days we just send off the tax return to be sent through the automated system, and we’re not having that face-to-face time. SMEs need that time so that they can understand what has happened,” she said.

As accountants continue to expand their practice into the business advisory space, marketing and sales have become an unprecedented challenge for the profession.

“We’re really good at selling tax and compliance, because that’s what we’ve done for so many years and everybody needs it," Ms Loubser said, "but in terms of financial performance management, we actually have to learn how to market and sell it so we can attract the right kinds of clients to work within our business and sell it at the right price to make it profitable for professional practice.”

'Information overload' could alienate clients, warns expert
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