Effortless Onboarding with the Best Contractor Accountant

Jul 10, 2023

Written by Greg Hanton. Greg is co-founder of Joy Pilot, No Worries Accounting, No Worries Red Umbrella, and Capital City Accountancy. He has over two decades of experience in providing tax and accounting support to contractors, especially those working in the UK. Greg holds a BE (Hons) in Chemical & Process Engineering from the University of Canterbury and a BSc in Chemistry from the University of Otago. He is also a Chartered Accountant (ACCA), member of AAT, and a Chartered Engineer (IChemE). With a passion for innovation and client-focused solutions, Greg continues to lead the charge in transforming the accounting landscape. See more on LinkedIn.

Updated on: Mar 17, 2024

The world of contractor accounting seems to be in constant flux at the moment, and with an ever-changing landscape it’s more important than ever to ensure a smooth and effortless onboarding process for our clients.

In this blog post, I want to show you how our onboarding process works if you are new to contracting and are considering using our accounting service. We’ll take you through all the steps so that you’ll know exactly what is involved and what you will need. I will also explore the importance of effortless client onboarding for contractor accountants, key elements to consider, and how our accounting software can streamline the process for both clients and accountants alike.

We believe an effortless onboarding with the best contractor accountant is crucial.

Video Summary

Want to watch our YouTube video instead? It summarises the main points but refer back to this article for more in-depth information.

Short Summary

  • Effortless client onboarding is essential for contractor accountants to foster trust and reduce client churn. We have spent a huge amount of time ensuring our sign-up process is the best in the industry.
  • Choosing the best contractor accounting service requires evaluating industry expertise, technology integration, and customer reviews/testimonials. Let’s face it, in a blog post written by a contractor accountant we are bound to point you in our direction, but we will try to be at least a little bit unbiased.
  • Accounting software automates time consuming processes while improving data accuracy and collaboration with clients. We are probably one of the most vertically integrated contractor accountants in the UK and our software gives us a significant edge over all our competitors.

The Importance of Effortless Client Onboarding for Contractor Accountants

An image showing a contractor accountant effortlessly onboarding a client, providing the best service possible for effortless onboarding with the best contractor accountant.

In today’s competitive business environment, establishing trust and building long-lasting relationships with clients is vital for the success of any contractor accounting service. Effortless client onboarding plays a paramount role in fostering trust, decreasing client churn, and optimizing the overall client experience. By focusing on a client onboarding checklist and ensuring a smooth transition from the previous accountant, accounting firms can create a strong foundation for a fruitful client relationship.

At No Worries we identified the onboarding process as a key hurdle that needed to be optimised because we want to make it as easy as possible for new clients to sign up with us.

Moreover, a well-structured onboarding process can help us understand our clients’ business and goals, ensuring a good fit culturally and professionally for both new and existing clients. The way we see it, if the first introduction a client gets from our accounting service is a smooth and simple onboarding process then it sets the scene for the rest of the relationship where they know they are dealing with a business that is efficient, organised, and interested in taking the pain away from freelancers.

First impressions matter

We realise that the initial impression our clients get is essential in establishing a positive connection and laying the groundwork for future interactions. A kick-off call, for instance, is a crucial part of our onboarding process. It helps establish expectations with the client, outline a comprehensive list of what they can expect in the future, and create a strong foundation for the client relationship. Ensuring that all parties involved have a clear understanding of the next steps and responsibilities before concluding the call is vital to ensure the entire process runs smoothly. Its also important that new clients get to meet their dedicated accountant and this kick-off call does the job nicely. We are happy to chat with our clients over the phone or video call – its no problem either way.

One of the key aspects of making a good first impression is assigning a dedicated accountant to the new client. We have always operated this way since 2005 and while our clients may get contacted by other staff members from time to time, they always know they have their own dedicated accountant who they can call on at any time.

Reducing client churn

Reducing client churn is important for accounting firms like ours. We know that clients who churn are more likely to do so within the first 90 days of service. Therefore, taking a proactive approach to client outreach during the onboarding process can prevent any negativity and reduce churn after the client signs our engagement letter.

Enhancing client experience

We have found that enhancing the client experience is extremely helpful for fostering client loyalty and retention, as well as generating positive word-of-mouth referrals. As consumers we all know that a smooth onboarding process will improve client experience, resulting in increased satisfaction and loyalty.

One way of doing this during the client onboarding process is to provide clients with access to a user-friendly client portal. This allows clients to easily access relevant information, submit necessary documents, and stay up-to-date with their accounts. This is an area where we out-perform our competitors because we own, run, and maintain our own accounting software. It has been built specifically for our contractor clients and not only do they use it, but we have heavily invested in making it a key part of our practice management, and as more features are requested by staff or our clients, we can simply add them. This is how we can differentiate ourselves from our competitors and improve our overall reputation.

A specialist contractor accountant helping a client with onboarding process

Onboarding With Us

Now let’s take a look at a specific scenario. Harry was successful in applying for a 6-month contract role at a large IT firm in Manchester. He got the role through a recruitment firm, and it is outside IR35, so Harry wants to get a new limited company set-up for his contracting work. His agency requires his limited company details ASAP so Harry has to get cracking. After a couple of Google searches and talking with some friends, he has decided to go with No Worries because he recognises they offer the best contractor accountancy service in the UK 🙂

Step 1

Harry heads across to our Sign Up page and completes his first name, last name, and email address. He will then get an automatic email sent to him with a link to click so that he can continue his onboarding.

No sales team here. Harry signs up straight from our online page.

Step 2

Once Harry has clicked the link he gets directed to a pre-On Boarding page. Here we just ask for some basic information to understand a few more things about him.

Service type: Here Harry selects the “Ltd company contractor accounting services” option.

Trading history: Harry has no trading history (eg he is brand new to contracting) so he selects “Starting soon/recently started”

Password: Harry thinks of a good password that is a minimum of 9 characters

How did you hear about us: Here he selects the “A friend/colleague mentioned you”

Thats it. Harry presses the Submit button and his online account gets set-up and he gets redirected through to our main onboarding page.

We have taken a documented process and just added it online. Here Harry needs to add some further set-up information.

Step 3

Now Harry gets to our main onboarding page. Here he can supply us with everything else we need to satisfy our AML checks and get him all set-up and underway.

Personal details: Here Harry completes all his personal information including full name, nationality, work visa type (if applicable), date of birth, occupation, gender, phone number, home address, and he can upload a form of proof of ID, and proof of address.

Business information: Next Harry selects the accounting package he would like (he chooses Club Gold), and selects the option for us to form a limited company for him. To do this he supplies us with his new company name, along with some answers to security questions that are needed during the company formation process.

Referral: Finally he supplies us with his friends name who recommended our service to him. Once Harry starts trading his friend will get a 10% discount on his accounting fee for as long as Harry stays with our service.

Complete: Once this onboarding page has been completed Harry clicks the All Done button. This notifies us at No Worries that Harry is ready to be onboarded to our accounting service.

Harry sees a seamless transition now to the main onboarding page were one touch data entry eliminates human error

Step 4

This work is done in the background, and because Harry has supplied us with everything we need, we can crack on with the company formation. The formation process usually takes between 24-48 hrs.

Because our formation process is free, you’ll see that Harry has not yet paid us anything. He’ll only start paying our monthly accounting fee once he actually starts working.

Once the company formation is complete, we will update our system with the new company details, we will appoint Harry with a dedicated accountant, and we’ll email Harry to say the set-up is now complete. Next time Harry logs into our online portal he’ll see that he is immediately redirected to the Dashboard page of our online accounting software.

At this point Harry can now also open up a business bank account for his company.

The main Dashboard page for our accounting software that is well laid out making Harry feel comfortable that he can easily use it.

Step 5

Finally, Harry’s new accountant will make contact to introduce themselves and show him around the accounting portal. They will take Harry through the tax planning steps related to taking salary and dividend payments, creating invoices, claiming expenses, how to check his tax liabilities to date, and much more. The aim of this call to to ensure Harry has all the necessary information he needs to get underway with his new contract.

Choosing the Best Contractor Accounting Service

A group of people discussing contractor accounting service

Selecting the best contractor accounting service requires consideration of several factors such as industry expertise, technology integration, and client reviews and testimonials. By evaluating these factors, potential new clients can make an informed decision and choose a service that best aligns with their needs and goals.

Of course, another great source of knowledge is asking your friends and colleagues for any recommendations for an accounting service for contractors.

Full disclosure, we do not pay or reward in any way recruitment firms who recommend our accounting service to their clients. So, if your recruiter recommends us as your contractor accountant you can be safe in the knowledge that we are not paying them to do so. In an industry rife with kickbacks it’s one of our points of difference. Oh, and if a recruiter tries to persuade you not to use our accounting service, then there is a high chance they are being paid by a different accounting firm to send clients to them.

Industry expertise

Industry expertise is really important for accountants to offer tailored advice and services to clients who operate as limited company contractors. A specialist contractor accountant with in-depth knowledge of the contractor industry can provide valuable insights and guidance, helping clients navigate contractor-specific tax regulations and make informed decisions about their finances.

This knowledge becomes especially apparent when we take on new employees, because its then that we realise that our accountants need to be across a huge range of tax and accounting related areas, especially when it comes to making decisions around tax efficiency, company formation, and deregistration. Not to mention helping clients who bill overseas clients, or who themselves are based overseas for short periods of time.

Our accounting service has been around since 2005 and as you can imagine we think we have seen just about every conceivable scenario now which helps ensure we’re responsive and knowledgeable with anything you send our way.

Technology integration

Technology integration is also a key factor to consider when selecting a contractor accounting service. By leveraging cutting-edge accounting software and tools, accounting firms can streamline the onboarding process, ensure data accuracy, and promote collaboration between clients and accountants.

As mentioned previously we are probably one of the most vertically integrated contractor accounting firms in the UK. We like to control as many aspects of our service as possible, and this includes;

(1) Our business runs on Office 365 and operates in the cloud. All client accounting folders and files are accessible by all staff members.

(2) We own and maintain our own contractor accounting software that all of our clients use for free.

(3) This same software also acts as our CRM which connects with Companies House and also allows clients to authorise tax returns and annual accounts online. The software also files our clients VAT returns directly to the HMRC.

(4) All emails to/from clients are stored in our own cloud-based email archive. This bespoke email archive built by us is fully searchable, and ensures all emails are viewable by all team members.

(5) All phone calls are routed through our own 3CX phone server. Not only do we manage this PBX ourselves, but it also means we can access all voice recordings immediately, which is helpful for staff training and quality control.

Client reviews and testimonials

Client reviews and testimonials offer invaluable perspectives on the quality of service and customer satisfaction. By considering the feedback of previous clients, potential clients can gain insights into the accounting service’s strengths and weaknesses, helping them make an informed decision.

At No Worries we are especially open about all our client reviews, and we use Google Reviews for this. All reviews automatically appear on our Testimonials page for everyone to easily see.

The Role of Accounting Software in Effortless Onboarding

Accounting software plays a crucial role in facilitating an effortless onboarding process. By providing time-saving automation, improved data accuracy, and enhanced collaboration between clients and accountants, accounting software can streamline the onboarding process and ensure a positive experience for all parties involved.

The onboarding process that we have with our accounting software has been optimised over the years and now runs extremely smoothly. It prevents us needing to complete repetitive tasks and it reduces the risk of errors. In doing so, it frees up our time deliver a higher value service to our clients without getting bogged down in low-value processing tasks.

Time-saving automation

Time-saving automation is a key advantage of using accounting software in the onboarding process. By automating common tasks, such as data entry and document management, our accounting software greatly reduces the time spent onboarding new clients.

Improved data accuracy

Improved data accuracy is another benefit of using accounting software for onboarding new clients. In the grand old days we would receive a new clients information via a sign-up form on our website. It would come through to us as an email, and we would then need to populate that data manually into our accounting software to get them set-up. With the way we do things now, there is absolutely no double handling of client data.

Summary

This turned into a bit of a big blog post, but there were a number of points that I wanted to ensure I covered off. The main purpose of this blog was to show a potential new client how our sign-up process works, but I ended up going into a bit more detail!

I think it just reflects all the hard work we have put into our onboarding process over the years. We have found that a decent onboarding process helps establish trust, reduces client churn, and enhances the overall client experience. And let’s face it, if the first experience that a client has of our service is a great onboarding process, then it sets the relationship up on the right foot and its a great platform to go forward on. In our view a successful onboarding experience sets us up for a long-lasting partnership.

Note to Editors: This article was written by the humans at No Worries Accounting and contains original content. We are happy for you to repost part (or all) of it, but if you do please attribute the content to “No Worries Accounting” with a link to https://www.no-worries.co.uk/blog/. If you want further information or commentary from the experts at No Worries Accounting just ask 🙂 You can reach us here.