From XU Magazine, 
Issue 39

Game changing communications platform launches WhatsApp to email technology

Solving the WhatsApp dilemma

We found out how ClientWindow is revolutionising how accountants talk to their clients.
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Jersey based software company ClientWindow, which launched in 2023, may be relatively new but it is making significant waves in both the communications arena and in financial services, with accountants and bookkeepers especially experiencing the benefits.

What’s more, it has just released a brand new feature which will have a significant impact on how teams communicate with their clients by linking WhatsApp to business email.

We caught up with founding partner David Moehle to find out more.

What exactly is ClientWindow and how does it work?

Talking about software can sound complicated but ClientWindow is genuinely easy to understand! ClientWindow is a messaging tool which sits on your computer and on your phone. It works by connecting the types of communications tools businesses like to use most, their email, with their clients who like to use WhatsApp. It does this seamlessly in the background so no technical knowledge is required - and your client doesn’t experience any change to how they message you.

Why did you decide to develop the software?

Myself and my business partner, Tim Zeale, are both chartered accountants working in practice. More and more we were beginning to experience a very real dilemma with WhatsApp and similar messaging apps. Our clients wanted to talk to us on WhatsApp, it's so easy and efficient for them. However, that cannot be said for their accountants. WhatsApp not only causes issues with compliance as it does not meet regulatory data retention obligations but it can also lead to all sorts of management issues as broader teams can’t easily read, or action these messages. We were seeing the same challenges reflected in many of our colleagues and peers. ClientWindow aims to solve these problems.

Are the WhatsApp compliance issues a genuine risk?

Unfortunately, yes. According to the Financial Conduct Authority using messaging services, such as WhatsApp, on their own create significant compliance risks. Regulators have also acted against firms and individuals for misconduct involving the use of unmonitored or encrypted communication apps. However, evidence suggests that WhatsApp use is widespread, but the correct surveillance and retention of these messages is not. There are also insurance and GDPR risks in allowing off-channel communications – you wouldn’t allow staff to use their personal email for client communications and WhatsApp is no different. ClientWindow solves this problem by acting not only as a tool for excellent client communication but also as a compliance safeguard.

What makes your new feature special?

Our WhatsApp to email integration is a genuine game changer. There are quite a few communications platforms out there which pull together lots of channels such as WhatsApp and social media. However, our WhatsApp to email integration is unique in its field. The feature allows clients to send and receive messages on their usual WhatsApp app on their smartphones whilst their accountant or the client services team they are communicating with send and receive messages on their normal work email. This allows for seamless communication between teams and clients, and the ability to integrate with email document filing, whilst also meeting regulatory and data retention requirements. It’s a one of a kind tool that you can use without any disruption to your client - so everyone gets what they want!

But is ClientWindow tailored for accountants and bookkeepers?

It definitely is! As accountants ourselves, ClientWindow was developed with accountants and bookkeepers at the forefront of our minds. Yes, it is such a useful tool that almost any professional services business could use it, but we do have several features that are all about making the lives of accountants easier.

For example it can really help with capturing invoices and receipts. Clients can conveniently send their invoices and receipts to a firm via WhatsApp, and then ClientWindow automatically sends these onto your own system such as Dext, AutoEntry and Hubdoc. Clients no longer need to install apps on their phones to manage the document capture process. Accountants and bookkeepers also have to request a lot of information from clients, which can be an arduous task at the best of times. ClientWindow can solve this with automated information requests and access to editable online questionnaires that clients can complete for all types of information gathering, including tax self-assessment, VAT returns and even due diligence information and customer surveys. ClientWindow can invite customers to complete questionnaires via both WhatsApp and email, making the process a lot quicker.

What is next for the industry - do you think we have evolved as far as we can?

The tech and digital landscapes are developing so quickly, especially with AI. I think that we haven’t even begun to see how useful they can be for accountants and the finance industry. FinTech and RegTech may seem like buzzwords but these companies are developing tools and software which can really help firms improve efficiency and make the most of their resources.

We have a vision that AI copilots will join WhatsApp chats between clients and accountants, being able to perform tasks on command such as extracting balance sheet reports directly from the clients’ ledgers or performing a cash flow analysis which can then be fed directly into the chat. For example, a command like “@AI give me a balance sheet at the end of last month” or “@AI what is the current bank balance of the company”. This could make accountants’ daily lives much easier.

It is also clear that data protection and privacy requirements are only getting stricter as are the requirements of regulators. Firms have to navigate all of this whilst continuing to provide excellent service to their clients - which is no small task. We can use technological developments to really help accountants and their firms, in a tangible, real world way.

Why leave it there?

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