Mapping the ever-changing client demands, mounting employee expectations to the existing cybersecurity framework is the primary concern of accountancy firms today
Organizations need to balance the increasing demand from clients to establish a more collaborative, open, and transparent engagement strategy. And, this balance can only be achieved when necessary security controls are in place to protect sensitive data and company IP.
The recent report by Huddle on Client Engagement:2020 has collated responses of over 500 employees currently working within the financial services and accountancy sectors. The survey results show a strong desire to re-work and improve how teams tackle client engagements – not only to improve the customer experience but also to reduce risk and improve internal team productivity.
The report concluded the below points:
Data Security is Vital to Client Engagement and Retention
Considering the industry challenges that impact the employees – 49% agreed that the biggest threat to be considered is the data security challenges. In recent years, cybersecurity incidents have grown in profile, leading to massive data breaches and operational disruption – resulting in substantial financial losses. But, the biggest concern is the reputational damage for the businesses and employees involved. For accountancy firms and professional services handling sensitive client data, the indiscriminate way in which cyber-security attacks such as phishing or a business e-mail scam occur – raises serious questions on their competence and reputation.
Client Engagement and Trust Retention
Considering the common challenges faced while working with clients, firms need to ensure a more holistic approach to client engagement. With no unified client engagement tool available to the businesses, employees are forced to combine workflows and multiple apps to ensure optimum security possible. As such, the most common complaint reported by 32% of employees is the necessity to jump across various applications to keep track of files and updates coming from clients.
This is not only a productivity drain, but with workers jumping between messaging, task, file sharing, and productivity apps, the audit trail of activity are, easily broken – making engagements more prone to error and exposed to cyber-attacks.
Keeping control of client engagements has become a daily battle for employees working in the financial sector. Maintaining productivity and collaborating with clients efficiently has turned out to be a daily frustration faced by employees, confirmed the respondents.
Today, firms are reliant on a patchwork of applications to assist firms in managing client engagement strategies by ensuring data security. Considering the survey results, it is apparent that businesses to succeed need to adopt a more holistic approach to client engagement.
- Firms need to ensure that any published client experience or digital transformation vision is supported by the required investment in the right technologies.
- While working with clients, employees are fatigued and confused by the number of communication channels and options available to them like – OneDrive, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft SharePoint, etc. This causes fragmentation in common workflows, introducing new cyber risks, and slowing down productivity. A single common platform and a defined system of communication should be implemented to resolve such a confusing scenario.
- Firms need to prioritize control and user management to achieve the required level of client management needed to scale across the business.
- Enterprises are replacing legacy client portal solutions with advanced, modern, next-generation client portals, to offer a single interface for teams to collaborate with clients in secure workspaces. Best in class client portals allows IT teams to provide simple user interfaces along with enhanced security.
The current mechanisms used by enterprises to share and communicate with clients have exposed them to financial instability, security risks, and immense reputational damage. Businesses need to keep re-visiting and strengthening their IT security framework to ensure business continuity and long-term profitability.