Accounting as a profession is symbolized as the backbone of the business world. As the face of the business world continues to adapt to reflect the ever changing geo-political and economic landscape, so too do the accounting firms that provide critical services to the business engines.
For quite some time now, the use of paper has been steadily declining for a number of reasons. The most prominent of these – at least in the past – have been the rise of computer technology and the cloud, as well as a need to cut down on costs. More recently, however, there is another reason to cut down on the use of paper that is becoming just as prominent – going green.
Keeping that trend in mind, and consumers’ and businesses’ increased willingness to work with companies that are seen as environmentally sustainable, accounting firms across the world have sprung into action. They raise their voices more frequently to showcase the steps they take towards being more sustainable – economically, environmentally, and socially.
Here at Flarian, we have come up with yet another cost-effective way for accounting firms to boost their sustainability performance. Our method is cost-effective to use and implement, and very easy to use. Best of all, it is just as useful for accounting firms, as it is for their clients.
The idea: move your reports from thick, binded sheets of paper, to customized USB Cards.
Our Flarian USB Cards are credit card shaped USB drives. These custom USB drives can be fully designed with any logo, artwork or branding in full color digital printing. If properly designed, the results are truly spectacular. And in order to ensure they are properly designed, we have an in-house team of designers that create virtual proofs for every single card design for you – even if all you have is nothing but a logo.
To help elaborate, this blog post will be structured in the same manner as every accounting firm’s values: clients come first. It will discuss why delivering reports to clients on a custom USB Card would be better received than clients, followed by the benefits of using custom USB Cards derived by accounting firms themselves.
Reports compiled by accounting firms tend to be very long, detailed, and complex. In fact, if the work was easy to do, chances are the clients would do it themselves. Once the work is completed, these reports are typically printed, binded into a booklet format, and then delivered to clients. The longer the report is, and the more complex the work, the larger the booklet.
Although the best accounting firms always provide an executive summary of every report, most clients like to go through the reports in full to read the more pertinent sections in detail. This would normally involve sifting through hundreds of pages to find the section they are looking for, then finding the relevant subsection of that section. Sounds arduous, right? Now imagine if, instead, this report was saved as a PDF and given to clients on a customized USB Card. This arduous task of flipping through pages would easily be substituted by utilizing the CTRL + F function on a client’s keyboard to find relevant sections. Do your clients a favour and use custom USB drives instead of thick booklets.
Speaking of these detailed, complex reports: the longer the report, the heavier the booklet. Chances are a lot of clients travel with these reports to show to their own clients, or to their colleagues. Clients have enough things to carry around with them, so why make an accounting firm’s report part of their fitness regime? Accounting firms should look towards switching out these heavy reports for a much lighter custom USB Card instead! All of a sudden, the report goes from a client’s briefcase or backpack, to their wallets, or pockets! Or what if they are not travelling, but simply do not need to use the report until a later time. Do you think they would rather organize the report somewhere on a shelf, or on a USB drive? The answer is pretty easy.
So far, this blog post has spoken about how moving from paper to a custom USB drive would enhance the usability and user-friendliness of a typical report while the client still has use for it. But what happens when the client is done using it? There are typically two options clients choose from. Either, they discard (hopefully recycle) the report, or they store it on a shelf somewhere in their backrooms never to be seen again. Either way, the report – and the accounting firm’s hard work – is now a headache in terms of organization. So here is a question accounting firms should answer: do you think it would be easier for your clients to organize all their reports on a shelf or in a backroom, or on a USB drive?
Perhaps one of the biggest considerations accounting firms should take when considering making the switch to custom USB cards is presentation. Sure, reports have a cover page with the firm’s logo, tagline, and branding. But how often will your client see the cover page? With a custom USB card, the firm’s branding will always be visible. Every time they pull the custom USB card from their pocket, wallet, or bag, they will see the firm’s branding.
Large service corporations have shown time and time again that the best way to win clients’ hearts and climb to the top of the industry is to really pay attention to the clients’ needs – even ones they do not know they have. The way to stay at the top, is by paying special attention to detail, and doing the little things that make clients’ lives easier. Our custom USB Card can help every accounting firm do just that.
There are multiple reasons why firms should avoid using paper. These can range from customer service, to cost savings, to environmental sustainability. No matter what the reason, switching from paper reports to uploading reports on custom USB Cards is the best option available.
Most of the reasons for switching from physical paper to custom USB Cards pertaining to customer service have been outlined above. Time and time again, when consumers are asked for why specific companies and brands stick out, they mention the ‘little things’. By switching to custom USB Cards, your firm would be doing these little things for your clients as well. By delivering your reports on custom USB Cards, your firm makes it easier for your clients to: navigate through reports; carry the reports, store and organize the reports; and allowing them to carry the reports on them at all times. The cherry on the cake is that your firm has now provided your clients with a beautiful USB with your branding for their personal use. The custom USB Card would act just as much as your clients’ USB, as it would a token of appreciation for working with your firm. Every time they use it, they would remember the excellent service delivered to them.
There are many other reasons why your firm should consider moving from paper reports to uploading them on custom USB Cards. From a purely economic stand-point for example, this could result in huge cost savings! For example, a study shows that an average office worker would incur about $80 in costs for using paper Paper Trails: From Trees to Trash—The True Cost of Paper (Virgin Books, 2009). Studies also show that for every dollar spent on printing documents, an additional $6 is spent on the handling and distribution of that paper. This could potentially mean $480/employee annually! In fact, Pricewaterhouse Cooper – one of the largest accounting firms in the world, and a house-hold name, estimates that the average organization spends $20 in labor to file each paper document, $120 in labor searching for each misfiled document, and $220 in the re-creation of a lost document! If, instead, these documents were uploaded on the sleek custom USB Cards that we offer, all you would have to do is spend roughly $3 to purchase a new USB Card if one is lost, and re-upload your documents! These costs include the cost of ink, toner, and electricity consumed – not to mention the depreciation of your office printer. Having said that, given that accounting firms typically recruit the brightest minds in the industry, the time spent in front of a printer and binding a document could be saved so that accountants can spend more time performing value-added services for the firm!
Speaking of saving on energy, paper, and ink, using custom USB Cards is a way for your firm to showcase its stance on sustainability. In a time when businesses, consumers, and clients alike are demanding the service industry to be more environmentally conscious, using custom USB Cards is the perfect way to start picking the ‘low hanging fruit’ when it comes towards becoming more sustainable. Not only that, but it also demonstrates the ability of your firm to move away from ‘traditional methods’ of business by taking a product (USB) that has existed for numerous years, and turning it into a business norm.
In summary, using USB Cards is not only a way to showcase an accounting firm’s stance on sustainability, but it is also a way to ensure a larger amount of free cash flow within the firm’s operating budget. And while the accounting firms reap benefits of a better image and cost savings, their clients are left more satisfied as well.