3 Reasons it’s Good to be Human in an AI Age 

Accountancy practice management software has come a long way. Today, features like automated billing and reconciliations are easily integrated into the day-to-day practice workflow of Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting UK customers.

Our employees work side by side with our customers to create and manage these solutions – driven by a deep understanding of their needs and addressing the rapid changes in their environment.

However, it’s often hard to look beyond improving performance in day-to-day operations. Amid Brexit, the COVID-19 pandemic and other disruptions, accountancy practices and their clients are dealing with an unpredictable economic landscape. Future business planning can appear daunting.

However, technology can support accountancy practices (and their clients) in making informed business decisions, and planning for the future. In the first part of our Accountancy Practice Management for Future-Fit Growth series, we’ll explore how they can use technology to define and easily track Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Doing so gives practices closer control of performance tracking, and deeper insights that will inform strategic growth plans.

Saving Time

For several decades, business technology platforms have enabled practices to track performance metrics that they have customised. This highlights areas that qualify for improvement and underpins strategic planning.

Contemporary technology, such as CCH KPI Monitoring, makes setting up KPIs faster and easier for accountancy practices than ever before. This is vital today. The current business landscape demands that firms assess and amend KPIs more frequently, based on fresh market variables. KPIs such as client retention rate and business time-to-recovery have become increasingly prominent performance indicators in the past year. If clunky technology makes KPI management difficult, practices have less time and insight to plan future growth.

Reducing Risk
CCH KPI Monitoring makes it far easier to track KPIs and report on them. This is fundamental in minimising risk. For example, if a KPI is set to track and escalate debt filtered by overdue dates, the ability to easily set alerts and automatically generate reports is critical to practice performance management.

Some practices are manually running monthly reports to measure KPIs. Others are running real-time reporting engines, a key feature of CCH KPI Monitoring. This latter solution allows practices to review essential data at any time – covering both performance management and compliance requirements. They can do so remotely or on-premise.

This means that firms can assess issues before they become problems, and thus act proactively. Real-time reporting is a true asset in building a future-fit practice.

The Proof is in the Practice
A number of Wolters Kluwer customers have been using CCH KPI Monitoring for several years now. Our customers look to us when they need to be right. Ryecroft Glenton has successfully integrated CCH KPI Monitoring with its own system. This consolidates information from several sources, including CCH Central and CCH Practice Management.

“We can use the year end date to trigger a sequence of reminders. Have we asked for the books? Have they been received? If a request to a client has been outstanding for a certain period, the partner will receive an alert via email. For limited companies, we can monitor the corporation tax and Companies House filing deadlines – as well as the different deadlines for pension schemes”

– Ian Smith, partner at Ryecroft Glenton

Corporate events agency who benefited from greener graphics initiative

“Apogee are not just aprinting company, theyconsult with us and go onto deliver a full end to endservice from concept toinstallation. They go aboveand beyond and we lookforward to continuing ourjourney with them”

Corporate events agency who benefited from greener graphics initiative

“Apogee are not just aprinting company, theyconsult with us and go onto deliver a full end to endservice from concept toinstallation. They go aboveand beyond and we lookforward to continuing ourjourney with them”

Corporate events agency who benefited from greener graphics initiative

“Apogee are not just aprinting company, theyconsult with us and go onto deliver a full end to endservice from concept toinstallation. They go aboveand beyond and we lookforward to continuing ourjourney with them”

Corporate events agency who benefited from greener graphics initiative

“Apogee are not just aprinting company, theyconsult with us and go onto deliver a full end to endservice from concept toinstallation. They go aboveand beyond and we lookforward to continuing ourjourney with them”

The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) has become prominent in many sectors from marketing to financial services and healthcare – and many media outlets continue to debate whether technology can ever replace human touch and interaction.

Here, Louise Walpole, head of the finance sector at leading outsourced communications provider Moneypenny and Jonathan Winchester, chief executive of customer experience specialists insight6, share the business benefits of embracing the human touch in customer care and offer three reasons it’s good to be human in an AI age.

1.You can improve understanding and spot new opportunities
Louise Walpole said: “Human conversation naturally has questions and moments of silence as it ebbs and flows while someone is listening to another or responding.  Whilst natural language processing is advancing, it’s still lacking in true human response, that is with authenticity.  

“Human customer service representatives are uniquely placed to build personal rapport by asking questions, showing understanding and guiding a customer to the resolution they’re looking for - whether that’s a callback, booking an appointment or being put through to the department they need.  And in the process, they’re garnering helpful customer intelligence as the human touch brings nuance.  

“So, an experienced PA or live chat handler can read between the lines, perhaps suggesting other solutions, products or services as well as knowing how and when to reassurance a customer or escalate a matter.”  

People-led conversations can help to unearth areas for innovation and new revenue too.  Louise continued: “Letting a client elaborate on their difficulties completing a form might identify the need for a blog explaining how to do it. When people listen, it can shine the light on new process efficiencies, ways to support clients and even new products.”

2. You can show empathy and build rapport
In a study in 2021, people were able to spot the human interaction in a conversation with an AI powered chatbot in 73% of conversations.  The chatbot likely revealed its non-human self by its formality and tone – missing the mark with how people really talk, and therefore type – although this is quickly changing thanks to more advanced AI solutions which replicate human errors and tone more accurately.  However, the value of this statistic is that it highlights the human condition – namely that we need to feel seen and heard by others. We need empathy.  

Louise said: “Empathy is an inherently human skill and it’s integral to customer care. It has the power to put even the most nervous and vulnerable clients at ease and in business, it’s what brings us closer.

“When people feel their frustrations have been listened to patiently over the phone, or that their concerns have been handled compassionately via live chat – it builds the rapport and trust needed to create loyalty.  People really do buy from people.”

With 86% of people willing to walk away from a brand they've previously been loyal to after as a few as three bad phone experiences - greater use of empathy and the human touch has real commercial value.

Jonathan Winchester said: “AI is changing most things and especially transactional interactions with humans. As it becomes more educated, it will learn to deal with more of the emotional side of the experience. However, it will never deal with all scenarios and businesses have a real opportunity to focus on how to create more loyalty, through better emotional connections.”

3. You can solve problems more quickly
Today’s clients want quick resolutions and not to repeat themselves multiple times.  

AI powered chat bots can provide a brilliant way to steer people to ‘frequently asked questions’ and provide basic support such as triaging incoming leads, capturing data, and gathering feedback – but there is no substitute for a human response when it comes to solving complex problems in a timely manner.

Louise said: “Often, a question outside of the pre-determined script can confuse an AI chatbot or program, as can a complex query.  When this happens AI chatbots can leave customers confused about to what to do next and frustrated they might have to start the chat process from scratch.

“An outsourced telephone answering, or live chat service manned by trained customer care professionals, can save the frustrations that AI can sometimes create - instead making people feel confident their complicated or urgent matter is being addressed there and then, rather than it being a faceless enquiry logged in a queue.  

“And when all aspects of these interactions are recorded directly into client CRMs, it means information only needs to be captured once! That’s another frustration avoided.”

The future needs both.
Jonathan said: “Now is the time for businesses to journey map their own customer relationship and identify the emotional trigger points to reach out.  This will put them ahead of the competition and partner AI while being ahead of the competition."

Louise concluded: “Technology is a crucial enabler and a means to deliver greater accessibility, immediacy and efficiency - but it’s when it’s combined with the human touch that businesses can deliver the very best, personalised and empathetic customer care. At Moneypenny we’ve built our business on awesome people and leading-edge technology because we know the future of customer care needs both.”    

To find out more about how Moneypenny’s people and technology are supporting the finance sector visit: https://www.moneypenny.com/uk/accountancy-answering-services/

Aug 2023

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