Andrew Jordon, Founder of meeting platform Connect4, works to enrich the accountant and client relationship by simplifying communication with a solution that goes further than traditional CRMs to improve meetings.
Connect4’s Prepare. Meet. Act. framework helps firms streamline their meetings by using templates to guide various client interactions.
For Connect4, the goal over the next two years is to create a rock-solid product that engages accountants and customers from other industries.
Whether it’s in his accounting software company or his charity work, Andrew Jordon prioritizes the human touch.
That’s because according to him, “one of the most fulfilling things you can do as a human is to help another human.”
The human impact is central to Andrew’s career. His experience as an accountant and working for the management reporting app Fathom showed him some of the gaps where relationships could be made stronger.
Frustrated with how one-sided traditional CRMs could be, Andrew longed for an alternative that would set up best practices for communication. So he founded Connect4, a software system that helps accountants manage and improve relationships with their clients.
Connect4 couldn’t have come at a better time. Its 2020 launch was well received by the virtual work thrust upon the accounting industry by COVID. Quoting Xero’s State of the Industry report, Andrew notes that 49% of advisors had seen a change in how their clients accepted technology. So, when would there be a better time to integrate technology into the changing landscape of how accountants and clients connect?
On episode 38 of the Accounting Leaders Podcast, Andrew chats about connecting the dots with Karbon Co-Founder and CEO, Stuart McLeod. The two discuss Connect4’s pod model, its future growth plans, as well as Andrew’s charity work with Prison Fellowship.
Andrew explains Connect4’s work as being centered around the concept of pods. The pod acts as a library for all client interactions, whether they be meeting minutes, action items, or recordings. The pods create continuity in client outreach and give a complete picture of what’s happening for each client.
And because they consolidate so much information, the pods also function as an insurance plan in case an employee suddenly leaves. There’s no digging through files to find the status of a project. Instead, the pods provide an instant snapshot of what’s happening for each client.
Andrew finds the pods especially helpful for automating client onboarding, where junior associates can fully own the process.
“You can build template agendas and template pods that are branded with your company branding and invite your client into this place to onboard,” Andrew tells Stuart on the podcast. “Your junior team members now can follow this process. For one of our customers, most of the people who do the client onboarding are probably 21 or 22 years old.”
Not only does Connect4 provide complete records of a firm’s relationships with multiple clients, but it also helps automate outgoing communication. Andrew noticed that a lot of communication is top-heavy, done by those running the firm. To help reduce that administrative load, Connect4 offers a set of best practice templates for outgoing communication.
The templates follow a three-point framework: Prepare. Meet. Act.
Before a meeting, a record of past meeting minutes and a suggested agenda for the upcoming meeting will automatically go out to the client (prepare). Then the meeting takes place (meet). Afterwards, minutes are distributed, along with action items for follow-up (act).
Proactive communication can be programmed to be sent at a regular cadence, customizable for each client’s needs. Andrew likes to put that frequency in the hands of the clients with a default opt in and a choice to opt out.
“The client can choose to opt out. This way, the client can never leave you saying, ‘You never spoke to us, you never offered to talk’—because you flip the whole thing,” Andrew explains. “It’s like the legislation around organ transplants that changed in the UK in 2020. It was originally opt-out, but now it’s opt-in with the ability to opt out.”
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In their conversation, Stuart brings up the fact that Andrew’s platform seems helpful for more than just the accounting industry. But while Connect4 does indeed draw attention from other fields, accounting remains Andrew’s primary focus.
“I'm pretty passionate about impacting the accounting space. There's a lot of work to do here. We’ll increase automation, and there will be firms that distinguish themselves by how they interact with their clients.”
As for the future of Connect4, Andrew plans to keep the team lean and focus on the product experience. He understands that the most important thing to deliver is a great product, especially if he’s ever interested in selling his technology.
“For the next two years, it's about building a product people love. Otherwise, it isn’t worth anything to anyone,” he states.
Andrew’s determination to strengthen human connection extends to his extracurricular activities. In his free time, he volunteers with Prison Fellowship, an organization focused on rehabilitating prisoners through ministry before they re-enter society.
“I did quite a lot with homeless charities and I mentored some young offenders. In the UK, 44% of people leaving prison are back there within 12 months. So I realized there was a real kind of opportunity to make a change,” he says.
Through Prison Fellowship, Andrew’s delivered more than 50 courses to prisoners in the UK and Australia to help them understand how their actions impact victims and families.
“In Australia, I’ve seen a lot of biker guys who are in prison for killing a policeman in the ‘80s completely break down in tears when listening to the recounting of a story by the victim of a crime. It's pretty powerful stuff,” Andrew tells Stuart.
Much like Karbon, Andrew is working to break down barriers in communication, whether it be with Connect4 or Prison Fellowship. Improving communication and social connection will benefit the accounting industry—and the world as a whole.