Here at Intapp, you can say that we are obsessed with understanding our customers’ motivations, needs, and challenges. What are those unique advantages professional services firms require to achieve long-term success and scalability? Last month, on a blustery 20-something degree day in Chicago, we sat down with some of the Windy City’s top accounting risk professionals to discuss what makes them tick and what keeps them up at night.

As acceptance and continuance processes are reliant on data collection and curation, firms turn to multiple content and data sources — from both external sources and various internal databases — to perform due diligence and assess various risk factors. Continuance and annual reporting require just as much rigor and attention as the initial assessment.

Jumping hurdles for risk professionals

Having access to too much data, or not being able to access or leverage the data that is siloed and decentralized throughout the firm, is often one of the greatest hurdles to overcome. With the proliferation of available information today, firms are finding increasing value in having one place for client data and content to reside, so as to leverage it across various functions to better support the entire client lifecycle.

While access to quality data informs a general risk profile, the role of assessing risk is becoming increasingly challenging and multi-faceted. Beyond an evaluation of conflicts and independence, risk management professionals are also considering risk factors that don’t always show up in the data, such as relationships and past experiences with the client in question.


When it comes to business acceptance, it’s about the people

For example, we heard from roundtable participants that a top concern is assessing firm compatibility with a given client’s reputation. While scoring can provide a framework for consistency, often the decision to take on a new client simply comes down to judgement. And with so many stakeholders involved in making the final decision regarding new business, establishing a smooth and efficient workflow to flag potential conflicts and get the appropriate people involved is crucial. Participants said that while software plays an important role, the key to acceptance and continuance success comes down to a combination of investing in the right technology, enabling collaboration, and building relationships across the firm.

What are the top challenges you face in risk and compliance at your accounting firm? We’d love to hear from you, so please send us a note on LinkedIn or Twitter with your perspective. You can also explore Intapp’s solutions for accounting and consulting for more insight on how to mitigate risk, achieve compliance and increase profitability across your firm.

Written by: Sarah Smithline