I have often wondered whether the traditional method of providing audited financial statements to clients is really serving them as well as we could be. We print them up on nice thick paper with the firm’s letterhead and spiral bound the package with a tasteful, understated title page, followed by our solemn audit report.
Is this still the best we can do?
How about providing the client with their audited statements on a USB key with the firm’s logo embossed on it? When the client inserts the key into their computer, the screen goes black before the menu options fade in allowing the client to select the auditor’s report, balance sheet, income statement, cash flow statement, summary of significant policies, or notes.
How about when they choose the balance sheet or income statement, and there is a note related to a line item, they can click the note reference and the note itself either pops up or slides into view underneath the line item? Do we think clients enjoy flipping back and forth? Is the profession so behind the times that we’re still doing statements like it’s 1960?
Technology has advanced, why aren’t we?
Even further, why can’t those same electronic statements generate informative graphs and visual representations of critical ratios on the fly from the data? We could incorporate more than just the prior year in comparative numbers.
Imagine a client being able to take a single USB key provided by their accounting firm into a presentation to the Board, and having everything right there on it? Just throwing the key into the slot and selecting options on the fly. Wouldn’t that be value added client service?