5 Apps I use Every Single Day

Apps, the relatively new way that many of us access services online, are now available everywhere and not just on your mobile phone and tablet. Apps are becoming ever more popular now on PC’s, laptops and televisions. Is the day coming where we will hardly use web browsers at all?

Of course apps come for all different uses and also of varying quality. I’ve covered this topic before and it was quite widely read! So here are the five most important apps that I use in my business today – I use these every single day and across a range of devices.

 

1. Xero

So, I’m starting with Accounting software and its attaching app! My accountant introduced me to the online accounting software Xero about 18 months ago. It has had a transformative on the financial management side of my business. I now have real-time profit & loss statements, balance sheet and a host of other useful reports that are available at the press of a button. All my invoicing and bank reconciliations are done through Xero, as is management of expenses. My accountant and I can both view the up to the minute real time information about my business, which speeds up the dealing with any questions I have. I’m saving hours every month with this software and have much better information available to me.

Specifically with the app, I now simply photograph my receipts and they are automatically added to my accounting records.  I’ve full view of my outstanding invoices in the App and other important information. I really couldn’t live without this now!

 

2. Sidekick (part of Hubspot Sales)

This is an app from Hubspot that used to be called Sidekick, and now is part of a wider Hubspot Sales package. The purpose of the (desktop) app is to alert me when someone opens an email that I’ve sent to them. While it’s not perfect (for example it can’t always identify who opened the email when you’ve sent it to multiple recipients), it is fantastic in helping me to time when to follow up an email that I’ve sent. For example, I might have sent a proposal 3 or 4 weeks ago and suddenly see the recipient opening the email again. Might be worth a follow-up call while I know the recipient is considering the proposal again… I was lucky with this one, as I was a relatively early adopter and have a very low cost package ($10 per month). Hubspot has now added a few more services to the package and has upped the price to $50 per month which will make people stop and think a little more before committing to it.

 

3. Unroll.me

This is a great free app I came across about 6 months ago and it saves me loads of time. Like most of you (I imagine), I’ve ended up subscribed to lots of blogs, email newsletters and other regular communications from businesses and clubs etc. With all of these sources now sending out more and more emails, I was losing a lot of time through being distracted by these emails, which were pinging in throughout the day. Unroll.me has been a great solution to this problem. First of all by using your email address, Unroll.me identifies and lists all of the communications you are subscribed to. It then gives you 3 options;

  1. To keep receiving the emails as before into your inbox
  2. To unsubscribe from individual communications – you’ll be amazed how many you’re happy to get rid of. Hopefully not this one though!
  3. To add the communications to a “rolled up” email. This takes all of the emails that you request to be rolled up, and presents them to you in a single email at a time of your choosing each day. If an individual email catches your attention, you can then just click through to the original. So now rather than getting maybe 30-40 emails each day, now I read one email while having my morning coffee!

 

4. Pocket

This is an app I use all of the time. Pocket is my scrap book of articles that I’ve “cut out” and saved for later. As I see articles of interest on the web or that come through to my content store, some catch my attention to be read later when I’ve a bit more time on my hands. With 2 clicks, I put them in my Pocket and can also tag the articles for different purposes – it might be to share out later, to rewrite with my perspective, maybe to help me develop a new angle for my proposition etc.

I can then go back into Pocket when I want to carry out an activity and simply click on the article that I’ve saved for that very purpose. It’s all very easy and it means you don’t lose great articles that you’ve read.

 

5. LinkedIn

OK it’s not very original… but it’s very useful. I’m a huge fan of LinkedIn (I might have said that before!) and really believe that when used properly it’s a rich source of new clients. The app is very useful for checking in on new connection requests, notifications and to flick through updates in your news stream. It’s a mini version of the full desktop version.

 

So these are my current favourites… I hope you find them useful. Are there any apps that you use that you think I’d like to know about?

How do you unlock accountant relationships?

The challenge of securing new clients is one faced by most financial advisers every day. And one route to getting to generally higher value business owners is through accountants. But many advisers find accountants very tough nuts to crack…

So here are a few thoughts on how you can build profitable accountant relationships, with accountants referring clients to you regularly.

 

Develop your accountant value proposition

You may have done all of the work developing your client value proposition (CVP), but you’re not finished yet! After all, your CVP is the articulation of the value experienced by your clients, however you now need to be able to communicate the value experienced by accountants in dealing with you. Your CVP starts with understanding your clients and in a similar vein, your accountant proposition starts with understanding accountants; their challenges, the partnerships that they value, where you can provide services that they will truly value etc. If you can help them to solve the problems that they face every day, well then they will place enormous value on your services! So first of all, really understand their business, identify the areas within it where you can add value and then demonstrate that the way you will work with their clients will seriously enhance their own client relationships.

 

Communicate your value time and time again

You then need to get in front of the accountancy partners time and time again to remind them of the value that you can add and to get regular client referrals. There are many ways you can do this; here are a few examples;

  • Add the partners to your own communication programme: Connect with the partners on LinkedIn and also get their permission to be added to your newsletter subscriber list. Let them see the expertise and thought leadership that you have to offer.
  • Develop bespoke presentations: These are for the initial meeting with the partners and should focus very much on the role of the accountant and how you can assist them in their own role. Personalise each presentation to the role of the particular partner’s area of specialism – for example the presentation to the tax partner should focus on pension reliefs, tax efficient protection products and other tax angles that you can bring to the table. This shows knowledge, understanding and willingness to engage in their areas of challenge with their clients.
  • Case Studies: Prepare a number of case studies of innovative solutions that you’ve implemented and know are relevant to challenges that are typically faced by the accountant. Don’t leave them guessing as to how you can help, join the dots for them!
  • Briefings for partners: Keep the accountants briefed on issues within the life and pensions industry that they need to be aware of, but may not be that knowledgeable. This can be through email contacts, lunchtime meetings or other such channels.

 

Develop joint marketing activities

And then you need to also promote the accountancy firm and help their bottom line! First of all, refer clients to them whenever possible. If you give them new clients, they are certainly going to try harder to reciprocate. Then offer the accountant the opportunity to include guest posts in your newsletter. This gives the accountant welcome exposure to your clients. You can then look at hosting joint events to which you both bring clients, take a speaking slot to impress the guests, all of this with a view to both you and the accountant meeting the other’s clients and building new relationships.

 

Prove your value with clients

Of course the biggest barrier to accountants referring clients to you is fear. Fear that you will somehow mess up and as a result cause difficulties for the accountant with their client. So when they do take the leap and finally refer a client to you, it’s imperative that you do a good job (as you do!) and then make sure the accountant is aware of it. How do you do this? You might seek a testimonial from the client, which you then share with the accountant. Alternatively you can email the client a few weeks after the end of your work with a short client satisfaction survey – again you will share the results with the accountant.

 

These are just a few thoughts on building profitable relationships with accountants. Build their trust, remove their fears, align yourself to their proposition and demonstrate your value time and time again. And then you will be well on the way to breaking the back of that search for new clients!