You get on the phone, send texts and – because it’s quick, easy and free – you respond to messages on WhatsApp.
A couple of months ago, I would also have said ‘you visit in person’ and you can’t beat face-to-face, can you? But for obvious reasons, that’s out of the question at the moment.
We do miss visiting clients on site across South East England, seeing their shops and restaurants in action. We miss having a cup of coffee, talking business, talking about our families and having a bit of a laugh.
But, honestly, in these weird times, WhatsApp is the next best thing.
It’s a difficult time for everyone on the high street – even people who’ve managed to keep cash coming in by offering takeaway food or supplying communities with household essentials when the supermarkets have let them down.
It’s helped us keep in touch and check people are doing OK without it being a heavy thing. And it’s a way for us to let people know we’re there.
Because it’s informal, WhatsApp makes it easy to be spontaneous and just chat, like human beings.
Seriously, WhatsApp us whenever you need to, about whatever. It’s not like any of our team ever goes anywhere without our phones these days.
Networking and community
Another thing that’s cool about WhatsApp as a tool for accountants is that it’s really quick and easy to set up informal groups and networks.
For example, some of the convenience store owners and pharmacists we work with know each other, so we’ve got group chats going with those guys.
That was really handy when the Government started rolling out its coronavirus support packages in March and April because we could just quickly stick a link in the chat – breaking news!
Then, when people had questions, we could answer them once for the whole group instead of one at a time.
WhatsApp and cloud accounting
One thing we don’t recommend is using WhatsApp for sharing financial information.
It can be tempting to snap a picture of an invoice or receipt and send it to us that way because it’s so fast and easy. But it’s not ideal in terms of data security or keeping tidy records.
The good news is that if you’re comfortable with apps like WhatsApp, you won’t have any trouble getting your head round cloud accounting software like QuickBooks.
With QuickBooks (or Xero if that’s the online accounting software you prefer) you can take a picture of a document and automatically upload it to your accounts. The software can then pull key information from the photo and make it searchable.
That means less paperwork and also means that both we, the accountants, and you, the client, can see the same records in the same place wherever we are.
Talk to us about getting your business set up for cloud accounting and connect via WhatsApp on +44 (0) 7734 168876.