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Balancing books and inboxes: The importance of email efficiency in the accounting industry

8 February, 2024

With the accounting industry being more regulated than ever, efficient information management is a top priority for businesses.

Despite the rise of multiple communication apps and platforms across different industries, email remains the primary mode of communication for accounting firms. Whether it’s client correspondence, internal announcements, project collaboration or HR communication, email plays a vital role in the daily operations of these firms.

However, the challenges in effectively managing email have made it a growing burden for accounting practices. The industry faces unique challenges in email management that significantly impacts their operations.

Picture this: a chaotic inbox, important emails in the wrong place and crucial client communications lost. It's not just a headache; it's a potential disaster waiting to happen.

 

Why simple organization isn’t enough

With constant information retrieval needed for scenarios such as tax returns or staff training, having a centralized data system is important to ensure an efficient and cost-effective workflow.

While communication and collaboration tools have increased in popularity, decisions and data are more reliably shared over email. However, a lack of effective email management hinders customer service, communication with clients and compliance with increasingly stringent regulatory requirements. With proper information management tools, these issues can be fixed before they surface.

Based on previous experiences working with accounting firms, we have identified several common challenges with efficient email management:

  • Inadequate centralization: Tax and accounting teams commonly depend on email for deliverables, lacking a centralized document-based system. Despite the need for confidentiality, manual efforts and organizational challenges result in email inconsistencies. This leads to difficulties in locating information within the network due to time-consuming processes and potential human errors.
  • Information retrieval struggles: The existing processes in accounting firms function more as record-keeping backstops than effective search tools. This results in employees spending hours searching for specific emails or documents, despite comprehensive filing efforts.

 

Now, let's talk real-world consequences. We've all heard of legal battles sparked by mismanaged information, with clients pointing fingers and firms defending their practices.

Disputes erupt from lost communications, client dissatisfaction stemming from poor information management and the absence of a robust audit trail. Your clients want accountability, regulators demand transparency and your inbox is feeling the pressure.

So, what's the antidote? Enter Ideagen Mail Manager – a simple solution to enhance your business’s workflows. All correspondence is seamlessly organized, audit trails are clear as day and sensitive financial data is safer than ever.

With our software, you're not just managing emails; you're mastering them.

 

Ideagen Mail Manager for the accounting industry

Retrieval of past client engagement emails and documents is an operational necessity. The following common scenarios demonstrate the significance of centralizing information storage:

  1. Tax returns
  2. HMRC inquiries
  3. Employee education
  4. Client onboarding
  5. Task transferal

Ideagen Mail Manager helps accounting firms to bring structure to their email management processes. It uses a unique prompting feature to ensure employees automatically file their sent and received emails to the most appropriate location - helping them find the information they need in seconds. This means your employees no longer have to spend hours combing through their inboxes for a single email.

We could talk about the benefits of our solution all day, but instead, let’s look at some real-life examples.

 

Azets

Azets is an international accounting, tax, audit, advisory and business services group that delivers a personal experience. With over 3,500 people across their UK office network, they help companies and organizations of all shapes and sizes, public sector enterprises and high net-worth private clients achieve their personal and business ambitions.

 

The challenge

Azets were struggling with common email management challenges, including the manual effort needed when organization and, the risk of misplacing critical information within their network. Staff were also spending too much time looking for old emails and trying to retrieve historic data. Within their business, finding historical information is essential in avoiding giving clients conflicting advice or duplication of work.

 

The solution

Ideagen Mail Manager was a game-changer for Azets' email management. By automating the filing process and enhancing search capabilities, it significantly reduced the time spent on locating emails and documents. This not only boosted efficiency but also improved overall client service by ensuring swift access to vital information.

Dan Nixon, Head of Transactional Services, explained “Mail Manager supports our stringent confidentiality with client emails and files. It really helped with saving time, completing my timesheets and managing my day-to-day. The search function is very effective as it makes life a lot easier to look for old emails or those involving people in past projects and accessing historic emails. Without Mail Manager accessing important information from historic emails takes longer, we could only search our own inbox with a keyword, which would probably bring too many results as it is not a refined searching feature.”

Read the full story here.

 

BarTax 

BarTax is an accountancy practice for barristers. They believe in harnessing technology to streamline their practice and deliver outstanding service levels to their clients. Everything they do is underpinned by a traditional commitment to genuine customer care, led by the skill and expertise of their multi-disciplinary team.

 

The challenge

BarTax, faced email management challenges with Office 365, including issues with Outlook's performance due to the volume of emails. The firm were experiencing significant challenges in email communication, especially during the tax return deadline. The existing folder-based system proved impractical, leading to time-consuming searches.

 

The solution

The IT Manager suggested exploring Ideagen Mail Manager, and BarTax adopted it to streamline their system. The software introduced an efficient and structured mechanism for storing and retrieving emails.

In short, Ideagen Mail Manager resolved BarTax’s challenges by providing easy access to previously sent emails and enabling effective follow-ups. The sorting feature enhanced overall team performance, allowing seamless collaboration among part-time employees. The solution drastically reduced time spent searching for and sending relevant emails to clients, leading to a 10-20% improvement in staff efficiency.

Geoff Claughton, Managing Director, told us, “If it wasn’t for our IT Manager, we wouldn’t know we could do email better. Mail Manager does what it says it does. It elevates Outlook to a new level.”

Read the full story here.

 

Ideagen Mail Manager – let us cure your email headache

Ideagen Mail Manager can save your accounting firm time, money and frustration when it comes to navigating your inbox every day.

Download our free eBook, or, if you’d just like to see exactly how it all works, try a free trial today!

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