PIE Accounting & Consulting Risk Exchange: Assessing Risk and Supporting Your Professionals

On March 4, Intapp collaborated with Profitable Ideas Exchange (PIE) to host a virtual roundtable with risk leaders from accounting and consulting firms. The event — hosted by Nigel Riley, General Manager of Risk and Compliance Solutions at Intapp, and Warren Knowles, Senior Director for Product Management at Intapp — focused on how the COVID-19 pandemic affects client relationships, and how firms can best assess risk during this unprecedented time.

As discussed during the roundtable, more and more firms are realizing just how much of an impact their risk assessments have on profitability. Failing to identify all potential risks may prevent firms from accurately estimating the true costs of engagements. It can also lead to firms taking on new business that doesn’t align with the firm’s overall strategy.

Properly assessing risk is clearly crucial for firms to succeed, but doing so isn’t always easy. Roundtable participants shared many unique challenges their risk teams have faced, especially in the current remote-work environment.

Virtually meeting with new and potential clients, for example, can prove difficult for those who may not be comfortable with telecommuting technology. There’s also the issue of time zones, something that was never much of a problem when firm representatives could travel to meet with clients in person. Now, professionals must either struggle to find a time that works for both themselves and their clients, or call clients during non-working hours to accommodate the time difference.

Some clients even still demand to meet in person, as multiple roundtable participants revealed. This presents a dilemma for professionals — most of whom are still not vaccinated against COVID-19 — who must choose between the risk of traveling during a pandemic and the risk of losing business.

There are, of course, some professionals who prefer going into the office and meeting with clients in person. The risk leaders on the call agreed that — so long as the professionals follow safety protocols — they can see the benefits, especially for those who lack dedicated home offices that allow for uninterrupted work. But risk leaders also agreed that firms should not force any professional to conduct business in person if that professional feels uncomfortable doing so. Participants agreed it’s firm leaders’ responsibility to ensure their teams feel safe and supported, especially during this chaotic period.

So how exactly can accounting and consulting firms best support their risk teams? The best way, one participant stated, is through technology. Investing in risk management software takes an enormous amount of pressure off risk and compliance professionals, as it allows them to easily evaluate new business and monitor engagements throughout the client matter lifecycle. Rather than relying on a process based on emails or paper documents — which creates inefficiencies, limits visibility, and risks errors — risk teams can instead access all the data they need within a single interface.

Risk management software also makes sharing information much easier. Firms can grant access to appropriate representatives across teams, allowing them to evaluate data and provide insights. Firms can also keep track of client communications, and onboard clients quicker than ever before.

At Intapp, we’ve spent years developing purpose-built AI-powered applications for accounting and consulting firms like yours. Contact us to schedule a demo to learn how our AI-enabled connected firm management solutions can help boost your efficiency, better mitigate risk, and increase profitability.

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Written by:

Nigel Riley

General Manager, Risk and Compliance Solutions

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