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WATERGATES LAUNCHES OWN APP TO HELP FUTURE PROOF THE PRACTICE’S COMMUNICATION STRATEGY

The OneApp platform from MyFirmsApp will make it easier for the firm to communicate digitally with clients, aid practice management and support its marketing programme  

MyFirmsApp, developers of the leading OneApp platform for accounting firms worldwide, today announced a new contract with the accounting practice, Watergates. The three-office firm has chosen MyFirmsApp to develop its first custom App to help make it easier to communicate digitally with clients and prospects, aid client management and to support a pro-active marketing programme.

The order was signed at the recent Accountex exhibition in London following a thorough evaluation of available solutions by the Watergates team. Farook Chaka, Managing Director, Watergates takes up the story. “We are always on the lookout for innovative new products that will make it easier to communicate with clients and before visiting Accountex, had already identified the need for an App. We had even thought of developing our own but were so impressed by the MyFirmsApp presentation, we decided to buy their customised solution.”

Farook believes that having their own App will help future-proof the practice and solve the communication challenge so many accounting firms now face. He explains: “So many of our emails now end up in junk folders and our clients complain that they haven’t received them. Push notification messaging will provide us with a far better way of communicating that we can track and identify whether clients have received the message. Use of a digital communications platform offers the real benefit of keeping everything all in the one place.”

Watergates plans to use push notifications as an integral part of its marketing programme and sees these new communication channels as very much part of a more pro-active service that post millennials and the Z generation now expect from their accountants. These pop-up notifications can be used to help communicate with clients and contacts quickly and easily and delivery can be automated to individuals and groups, which almost immediately ‘ping’ onto the home screen of client’s mobile devices. They have a 93 percent open rate which means that these messages are almost always read – typically, within minutes of delivery. This functionality presents firms, such as Watergates, with the opportunity to automate the distribution of content, ranging from reminders about tax deadlines, to news on services and invites to webinars.

Farook comments: “We are gearing up for the future as new technologies will inevitably allow clients to do more compliance work for themselves. It is up to us to transition to a more pro-active advisory service and a tailored digital communications platform will help us to achieve this goal. Our long-term aim is to transition all clients to the cloud and consolidate all the Apps our clients are using into our custom Watergates App platform to reduce complexity and confusion.”

Daniel Richards, Strategic Partnerships Director, MyFirmsApp commented: “Watergates knew exactly what they needed to future-proof their communication strategy and immediately saw the benefit of buying a customisable platform that firms worldwide are already using. This is a great firm that is putting digital at the heart of their practice and looking for new ways to connect with clients. This strengthening of bonds will give them the flexibility to grow and and help retain control by making all the software the firm and clients use accessible from a single place, the new Watergates App.”

The Watergates App is now available to download.

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HALO TRUST USES ADAPTIVE INSIGHTS FOR STRATEGIC BUSINESS PLANNING

Cloud-based financial planning helps HALO Trust deliver greater benefit to communities affected by war

 

Adaptive Insights, a Workday company, today announced The HALO Trust, the world’s largest humanitarian landmine clearance organisation, employing more than 8,700 employees across 25 countries, uses Adaptive Insights Business Planning Cloud to support the charity’s continued growth with a modern business planning process. The HALO Trust joins more than 750 non-profit customers that trust Adaptive Insights for business planning, benefiting a variety of communities and causes worldwide.

 

The organisation relied on the development of financial plans utilising complex spreadsheets, which were difficult to integrate into the global planning process and inefficient when producing multiple scenarios for effective option appraisal.

 

“Being able to holistically manage real-time changes is critical to our success. With a single, powerful system in the cloud, we’ve eliminated the headache of working with siloed spreadsheets and have significantly reduced the time taken to produce high-quality financial models,” says Mick Darby, finance director at The HALO Trust.

 

For more than 30 years, The HALO Trust has kept people safe and helped communities to rebuild by clearing landmines, destroying weapons, managing stockpiles, and educating communities how to stay safe until the dangerous debris of war can be removed for good. By moving HALO’s planning and analysis process entirely to the cloud, the finance team provides the guidance necessary to support the rapid growth of the organisation, which has doubled in just the last three years. Providing globally distributed team members with an easier, faster, and standardised approach ensures that the charity’s budgets and forecasts reflect current local conditions and currencies, all rolled up into a single platform.

 

“We’re proud to provide organisations like HALO with more time to focus on the important humanitarian work they do by simplifying and modernising their business planning process,” said Robert Douglas, Europe planning director at Adaptive Insights. “By streamlining budgeting and forecasting, we’re helping to make every pound and every volunteer hour count, which in turn helps HALO maximise the impact on its mission to save and protect lives.”  

 

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IS DATA PROTECTION AND PRIVACY RELEVANT ACROSS ALL STRATA IN INDIAN SOCIETY?

A Study by Pensaar Design With CGAP

Pensaar Design has been working on a research study with CGAP to better understand low-income customers and their behaviour towards data protection and privacy (DPP). 

The objective being to understand whether customers were aware of what it meant and how it impacted them, it started out with exploratory research to gain this context.

What we found was that once you broke down the seemingly complex term and contextualised it for them, most customers quoted instances of data misuse in their own lives and those in their immediate network. 

Examples from within their own circle had actually created some level of understanding about the issue, and made it relevant to this audience. There were instances of phishing emails, of calls, and so on, and not having the benefit of sufficient awareness or education, this audience seemed, particularly at threat.

We discovered that the concept of consumer consent is particularly broken in the low-income segment in India. This is because very often these customers are in dire need of a loan or other financial solution, and at that juncture, given their urgent need for funds, often end up signing over their privacy rights without even fully realising what they’re doing!

Despite how things have been thus far, however, what we learnt was that these customers do have some degree of awareness, and are in fact concerned about their privacy and personal information and are willing to do more to protect it. 

We found that these customers are willing to pay for access to Data Protection and Privacy, or even open to investing time or effort if need be, to secure their data.

Basis these findings, we are now in the process of testing these out in the real world, to further validate these findings.

Deepa Bachu, CEO & Co-Founder of Pensaar Design, the firm carrying out the research said “We are delighted to have the opportunity to develop a really rigorous understanding of DPP among the lower-income group and the privilege of partnering with CGAP.  Our behaviour based research gave us an opportunity to continuously learn and evolve our understanding. We look forward to the next phase to further carry out behaviour-based research experiments with financial service providers.”

Maria Fernandez Vidal and David Medine, CGAP Senior Financial Sector Specialists said, “We are excited about partnering with Pensaar Design to test the degree to which lower-income consumers are willing to act to protect their privacy in their financial transactions.   Moving from simulations to marketplace financial products will further enhance our understanding of the importance of data protection and privacy to consumers.  The findings could promote industry self-regulatory efforts by making the case that privacy is good business.”

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