Symbol für glückliches KMU, das mit einem Treuhänder:in zusammenarbeitet.

How can fiduciary companies prepare for the changes in the industry? What will it take in the future to retain fiduciary clients and attract new ones? In this blog post, you will learn what fiduciary companies can already do today around customer retention.

More and more SMEs today want to obtain all administrative activities from a sole source, from bank accounts to accounting and personnel services. Digital-affine executives in particular are increasingly demanding individual overall solutions. What does this cross-sector trend mean for trust companies? How important will fiduciary companies still be for SMEs? Can software soon replace trustees completely?

Market observers assume that in the medium term, fiduciary companies are likely to lose income from routine activities such as bookkeeping. This is problematic in that, according to a recent Survey by Accounto and TH Suisse accounting is the main source of income for 57 per cent of all fiduciary companies in Switzerland. Thanks to a high degree of automation, fully automated accounting systems already handle many tasks faster and more cost-effectively than fiduciaries.

Even the best accounting tool cannot completely replace a fiduciary

However, fiduciary companies remain the pivotal point of contact for all business and financial concerns of the companies they serve. Neither bank nor insurance advisors, let alone accounting tools, can claim this vital role. Fiduciary professionals monitor their clients’ accounting, advise, and proactively intervene in case of problems.

Below you will find 5 tips on how fiduciary companies can retain the companies they serve and attract new clients in the future.

1. Recognising and exploiting the potential of digitalisation for trust companies

The work of trustees is changing. Routine work – with high automation potential – no longer represents a major benefit for many SMEs. As described above, fully automated accounting solutions often perform routine tasks more efficiently than fiduciaries. Consequently, in the not too distant future, hardly anyone will be willing to pay for the handling of such tasks. However, digitalisation does not only mean the elimination of work for trust companies. With the right Trust software, you as trust professionals have a stable and secure platform to reduce the effort for routine activities and to create, promote and invoice innovative services.

Would you like to know how Accounto’s fiduciary software can help you realise the potential and opportunities of digitalisation for your fiduciary business? Make an appointment here for a free needs analysis.

2. Establish a clear focus

Smaller trust companies in particular are unlikely to be able to serve all client segments effectively and efficiently in the future due to the increasing complexity. The magic formula for this is that you need appropriate customer segmentation and clear focus. Customer segmentation means that you divide existing and potential customers into groups based on the characteristics you have defined. Finally, determine which customer segments you can and want to work with in the future.

3. Become part of an SME ecosystem

Towards an SME ecosystem always includes providers, orchestrators and consumers. Providers such as banks use the ecosystem to provide services and as a distribution channel. Orchestrators provide the platform for providers, users, and other relevant stakeholders to come together. SMEs as end users consume the services. Fiduciary companies can act in an SME ecosystem either as providers, users, or both. To steer and regulate the ecosystem as an orchestrator, most fiduciary companies lack the resources and expertise. As providers, they have the opportunity to offer their services. The development, promotion and billing of the new offer will be carried out via the platform. As users, fiduciary companies themselves take advantage of offers from other ecosystem members, such as software to automate repetitive tasks or services to fill specific knowledge gaps.

While in the financial technology sector many large corporations and fintech start-ups have already recognised that collaboration and a strong ecosystem will bring everyone further, in the trust industry many trust companies are still sceptical about other market participants. Quite a few trustees perceive the emerging tech companies and their innovative solutions and services primarily as competition that challenges proven business models and even threatens the existence of trustee companies. Trust companies should make every effort to become an important part of an SME ecosystem. This optimises the customer experience (integrative services) and opens up new sales channels.

4. Know and build on your greatest strengths

In the future, only those trusts that deliver recognisable added value to other stakeholders will survive. Define how your trust stands out from the competition. What do your customers particularly appreciate? Where are your strengths? Which customer segments could you expand further? The right positioning will help you find and consolidate your position in the increasingly important SME ecosystem.

5. Cultivate and strengthen relationships with clients

It is often easier and cheaper to retain existing clients than to attract new ones. Find out what administrative activities the companies you support need help with and what role you could play. To do this, you must listen to your customers. Find out what challenges they regularly face and consider how your fiduciary company can make their day-to-day work easier. For example, does the issue of a shortage of skilled workers and the work that is left undone as a result come up repeatedly? Does a large part of the clientele complain that they do not understand new legal framework conditions? Are there difficulties with an important admin tool in several companies? Always have an open ear for the joys and needs of your customers. Listen actively and show that you take the concerns seriously.

Active listening means giving verbal and non-verbal feedback to the person speaking and signalling that you have understood what is being said. This can be a brief nod, smile or frown, but also an appropriate question. Sometimes it helps to briefly summarise what has been said in your own words to make sure you have understood everything correctly.

See how Accounto’s fiduciary software can help you score with SMEs in a demo.