Are you too available?

Emails, phone calls, texts, messaging systems of every kind! Are we making ourselves too available at the expense of actually getting the work done?

I know lots of accountants suffered from this during covid with Friday evening announcements raising lots of client queries via multiple channels but it is often and issue even now.

We’re often encouraged to be available to clients the way THEY want to communicate but it’s a lot easier if we can streamline those communications.

This is how we control incoming communications at Minerva Accountants:

Mobile – This is not on my business cards. I guard my number and rely on voicemail when I’m in meetings or deep work. I block people who ring repeatedly but don’t leave a message.

Landline – this is a VOIP number which goes straight to my answering service ( if you need a recommendation). They answer it professionally, get rid of sales calls, and email any genuine messages.

Calendly – I encourage people to book calls directly in my diary using and so far only one person has abused this to book a sales call. Calendly links with my diary and only offers times when I am free. It emails me when a booking is made as well as putting the appointment in my diary. All bookings are for a phone call unless there is a reason to Zoom.

Webchat – this is run by real people ( not bots so they can deal with some queries, book calls via calendly and email me messages.

Social media messaging systems – I’m careful who I connect with and block people who spam me this way. My usual response is to encourage people to book a call via Calendly or refer them to my website. As we have a lot of scheduled posts (we use Smarterqueue) people assume that this is an easier way to contact me but emails are always best.

WhatsApp – I don’t use this for business at all.

Course signups – these are all automated through the main website or through Thinkific. I only speak to people that we need to vet for our coaching and more expensive courses as I don’t want them to waste their money. Sign ups are forwarded to me by email and also linked to our CRM system (Active Campaign).

Emails – my favourite as I can review them when I’m free, forward them if I choose to delegate the task, link them to our practice management software, and there is a written record of what was said.

I don’t have notifications set for any of these systems as I log into emails and social media at least once a day to check for messages at a time that suits me.

To simplify outgoing communications we use helpsheets and videos. Clients often have similar queries. Whenever a client asks a question that I think may be asked again we create a Helpsheet or a training video that we can send to everybody who asks in future. It saves a lot of time and allows at least some of the replies to be delegated.

How do you control your communications in and out?

How welcoming is your business?

I’m on holiday and the town I’m staying in has all sorts of churches in the centre. But the thing that strikes me is how uninviting some of them are. I’m sure these churches would probably say that they want to welcome and encourage outsiders to come inside but that’s not the message they’re putting across.

One has a sign ‘Consecrated ground – no dogs’ which is short and to the point. Could this have been worded in a gentler way? And how many people know what consecrated means anyway?

One has a sign ‘John 3:16’ which is just a mystery to everybody apart from the initiated. Could this have been written in plain English without code or jargon?

As an accountant we’re often guilty of making people feel excluded through our use of jargon and poor communication skills. Have a look at your own business with the eyes of an outsider and see how you could be more inclusive and welcome in people who want to know more.

And don’t forget to book your holiday if you haven’t yet done so.

Communication overload – how accessible should you be?

This is the busiest time of year for accountants and we’re often overwhelmed by contact from clients (in addition to the clients who never respond to any of our chasing letters/emails/calls). How accessible are you? And are you too accessible?

My preferred methods of communication is email and I’m able to file these in Outlook and in my CRM for ease of use if I need them later. Many clients prefer phone calls so I take notes and file them in with their other documents and my CRM.

So far, so good.

But I also do a lot on social media for my businesses so people often message me that way on Twitter, Linked In or Facebook Messenger. And sometimes via Instagram or WhatsApp which I don’t use for business. With so many different channels these often don’t get added to my CRM so I’m left with a vague recollection of a message and having to find which platform it was on.

If you have any ideas on how to manage all this I’d love to hear.

I do have some wonderful tools to help with accessibility:

• VOIP + Answer It takes messages and forwards them to me by email
• Melu chat on both my websites is run by human beings based on a series of FAQs that I sent to them and which they are augmenting. They also forward chat summaries to me by email
• is great for scheduling calls directly into my diary and I receive email notification of these too.
• Voicemail – if I don’t recognise a number on my mobile, or if I’m on another call, my voicemail will record messages for me to follow up later.

How do you manage all your incoming communications or are you too accessible?