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Is email dead? Is it time for a new client communication model?

Email has long been the undisputed king of communication in business. 

But like any ageing champion, it is increasingly struggling to keep up with the surge of new, leaner, faster contenders coming up through the ranks. 

While the email has been subject to many predictions about its future – or lack of future – in the modern workplace, accountants and clients are still dealing with hundreds of messages every day. 

So, are emails really staggered against the ropes waiting for the inevitable end, or do they still have some life left? 

In this blog we look at the reasons the future doesn’t look good for this once dominant communication method. 

People get too many emails 

The average worker receives 121 emails a day, and sends about 40, according to research. These are either individual messages, spam or group messages forming long chains filled with questions, responses and attachments that need to be tracked, stored and referenced. 

Trying to manage all these communications is a full-time job in itself, especially when it comes to trying to track down that attachment in an email sent a few weeks ago that you need to complete that urgent task. 

Emails have, to an extent, become a victim of their own popularity and it is now just impossible to manage an inbox effectively. 

If you’re an accountancy firm, dealing with hundreds of emails, it’s time to find a better solution. 

This is particularly true considering the pressure clients now put on accountants to be more advisors on strategy, plus the stricter rules and regulations on reporting. 

The inbox is not secure 

Imagine if the sensitive commercial information of a company was sent through the post every day, where it could be opened and read by someone wanting to steal that information? 

It sounds crazy, but in reality, sending this information over email carries much the same risks. Companies spend thousands of pounds on securing their IT systems but really these systems are only as secure as the people using them. 

Look at the most common email threats: Phishing, Spoofing and Malware, they are all about manipulating the people on the receiving end of an email to click on a link or open an attachment. 

Once inside, hackers can basically access and steal everything. 

Email then, is not the most secure way to deal with accountancy today. 

Today, emails have been overtaken by secure client portals, hidden behind sophisticated encryption which stores information in one place (meaning only one point of entry for a criminal) and in the cloud, meaning the information can still be easily accessed from anywhere, by those with the appropriate permissions. 

Increasing employee knowledge of security risks is a must, but reducing the risks by moving away from email is another step to be seriously considered. 

Younger workers are not “email first” 

In its day, email was a revolution. Send and receive messages from other side of the world in a matter of minutes instead of waiting days or weeks for a letter to arrive. 

Now, however, those coming into the workforce (Gen Z) haven’t grown up with email being their primary communication method. They’ve grown up with instant messages and social networks so the idea of an overloaded inbox isn’t something they’re enthusiastic about. 

For example, in a research project by App Annie, those aged 13 to 24 now spend more than 3.5 times more time communicating over messaging apps, compared to people aged 45 and older. 

We know that consumer habits follow us into the workplace, so it is only a matter of time before new communication methods become the order of the day. 

Given how widespread email usage is within businesses it is not likely to be replaced overnight, but without doubt this once vital communication method is taking the obligatory standing eight count. 

If you want to read more about how smart, connected technology is changing the face of accounting and client communication, why not download or new eBook here.