As a practising chartered accountant and tax advisor, I am finding that the ability to reach out and service clients via The Cloud is getting easier (and even more fun).
Two recent examples from the past week:
- Sat at my Mac when I was pinged via Skype by one of my contacts “Steve, do you have a moment to help?”. Within seconds he had sent me a link via Yuuguu for me to view his screen. He was busy trying to file his company CT600 tax return online but was encountering some problems. There is a further option on the screen that allowed me to take control of his screen so that I could quickly rifle through the online pages to determine if anything was wrong. Meanwhile we could discuss via online chat. A v slick experience and a glimpse into the way we will work in the future (now)!
- Leaving the gym, a client wanted me to check some recent accounting entries to his online business books. With no time to get back to the office, I stopped by a local Pret-A-Manger and sat down with my laptop to hook up to the free wifi. I tried to connect to Skype via my ipod Touch (as Skype is not installed on my work laptop) but unfortunately the connection was patchy. A quick log-in to Twitter to apologise for the delay and my client sent an access link to his online accounting package, Xero, via a direct message in Twitter. Within seconds I was logged into his Xero account reviewing the accounting entries. The review was limited as I wanted to discuss some points with him (and a public place like Pret is not ideal), however, to get a heads up on the fly, this was great.
Who would have thought this way of working would be possible only a couple of years ago?
Example 1 could not have happened as I was not in the office at the time. Example 2 would have meant a significant delay and frustration for my client awaiting my return to the office etc. In both cases, these tools enabled me to be more responsive and allowed me to work without being chained to my desk.
Professionals need to be out of the office supporting the business community and these tech tools are allowing this to become a reality.
On a personal note, many of my clients are technology companies and they (quite rightly) expect their advisers to operate and work utilising similar tools – great news for me!
What might this mean for the way professionals work in the (near) future?