Archive for the ‘Client service’ Category

Monday, June 24th, 2019

Wastes To Look At In Your Firm

“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.” – Harvey Mackay

Last week I read the tweet below from @AccountingEdit (Dan Hood). He was attending the Rainmaker Superconference in Atlanta. So much is said in just these few words. Read these few words and apply them to your CPA firm.

Wastes to look for (in your firm and at your clients):

Defects: In which areas are things not right the 1st time?

Waiting: Where can time taken be reduced?

Over-engineering: Do too much for money charged

Process: There’s no process or a flawed process

  • I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.
  • William Shakespeare

Thursday, June 20th, 2019

Keep It Simple

“Simplify, simplify.” – Henry David Thoreau

Recently, we joined a group of friends for dinner at a nearby restaurant. It was one of those restaurants that provided a menu that weighed about two pounds and seemed like a coffee table book. The hostess seemed to struggle to carry eight of them as she led us to our table. These types of restaurants always make me wonder who they are trying to impress.

This visit was different.

They have a new, simple menu that you open, lay it flat and that’s it. A front cover, two facing pages inside and more choices on the back. Most of the offerings we were used to were included.

Maybe restaurants are trying to impress people with their expensive looking menus but I was more impressed with the simplicity and ease of ordering.

How many things are you making more complicated in your firm just because you have always done things a certain way? Now is the time to simplify! Technology will make it happen.

  • Customers require the effective integration of technologies to simplify their workflow and boost efficiency.
  • Anne M. Mulcahy

Wednesday, June 19th, 2019

Be Sure You Have a Plan

“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up somewhere else.” – Yogi Berra

Here is a simple message for today:

“I remember saying to my mentor, ‘If I had more money, I would have a better plan.’ He quickly responded, ‘I would suggest that if you had a better plan, you would have more money. You see, it’s not the amount that counts; it’s the plan that counts.'” – Jim Rohn

Your partner and/or management retreat is coming up. Make sure you come out of it with a plan. Don’t waste two days of your time and then not take action.

  • A goal without a plan is just a wish.
  • Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Wednesday, June 5th, 2019

Are You Really Excellent?

“Excellence is a way of life that sustains us and inspires us day in and day out. There is no ‘long term.’ There is only the way we act when we step out into the corridor after a meeting—or, yes, the quality of your next four-line email.” – Tom Peters

The above quote from Tom Peters got me to thinking.

Firm leaders will always declare, “we provide excellent client service.” They will also tell me that excellent could be used in describing how they treat and train their employees.

Is it true at your firm?

Think about the above quote. Do you act in an excellent manner day in and day out? Do you maintain excellent behavior after a heated partner meeting? Do respond in an excellent manner when you avoid a call from an unhappy client? And, what about when you are writing an email?

  • We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act, but a habit.
  • Aristotle

Friday, May 31st, 2019

It’s Time Again For Flashback Fridays!

More and more CPA firms are embracing the practice of closing the office on Fridays in the summer – Memorial Day to Labor Day. It is a very popular and appreciated employee benefit.

So, for the summer months, I am once again providing you with Flashback Fridays – a post each Friday that was written in the past. Usually, it is one from the past 12 months but sometimes it’s older but still relevant.

This week: Busy vs. Busyness. – You are busy but are you productive?

  • I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.
  • Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, May 30th, 2019

Powerful Words

TYou“We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thank you. Aren’t those words wonderful, pleasing, and sometimes rare?

I have always urged CPAs and their individual team members to handwrite personal thank you notes to their clients and others.

A handwritten thank you also makes a great impression if you have been interviewed for a job. At many firms, that simple act moves a candidate up a few notches on the hiring scale.

I received the card in the picture yesterday. A young man, completely unknown to me, contacted me to ask some questions about getting a job in public accounting. We talked about how his interest in technology would be a plus and about what size of accounting firm he should approach.

How nice of him to send me a handwritten thank you.

Maybe you have a client who has a child graduating this year, from high school or college. A handwritten congratulations card would be an impressive thing to send.

  • Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.
  • Marcel Proust

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

Focus On Your Fans

“The foundation stones for a balanced success are honesty, character, integrity, faith, love and loyalty.” – Zip Ziglar

You had a successful first quarter. Busy season was busy for both tax and audit and you and your team interacted with some wonderful, loyal clients, also known as your fans. They keep coming back year after year because they like you, they trust you and are pleased with the services you provide.

In a recent partner meeting or retreat, you have probably explored ways to land new clients. Lots of good ideas were expressed, new ways to attract exactly the right type of client.

Of course, you should do things to build your brand but don’t forget about the loyal following you already have.

Develop ways to engage devoted clients (your fans) to help you spread the word. A referral from a current client is golden. However, what happens most often with accountants is the fact that they simply don’t ask current clients for their help.

As Seth Godin tells us, “Ideas spread from person to person. Horizontally.” Read his helpful post here.

  • I'm as loyal as anyone and will do anything for people I respect. But if you don't give that back to me in return, you're dead to me.
  • Eric Weddle

Thursday, May 16th, 2019

Client Service and Technology

“The team at your firm needs to know how to provide excellent client service. It should be clear to them what the firm’s expectation is and that you enable each person to provide excellent client service.” – Randy Johnston

I believe that excellent, over-the-top, client service is your best marketing strategy. Your clients will brag about you to others because that kind of client/customer service is rare these days.

I usually visit two groceries on a regular basis. One is huge and offers everything you could possibly need in the grocery category. The other is also a chain but a small, specialized type. The large one offers self-checkout and a few full-service lanes are open even though they have numerous ones that are always closed. The smaller one has no self-checkout. The clerks in the large one rarely talk to you and almost never smile. The clerks in the smaller one are always friendly, talkative and helpful. The large one has cheaper prices. The smaller one is usually slightly higher in price. Which one do I visit the most? You guessed it. Friendly, caring, engaging customer service out-weighs pricing.

Today,  am sending you to an article by Randy Johnston via CPA Practice Advisor. He gives us lots of technology tools to help with awesome client service.

He notes: But most of you who have been in business for a while recognize right away that there is a difference between academic smart, book smart, certification smart, common sense, clever, innovative and practical. 

And: How can we use technology to enable great client service? First, we should define what we want as our client service deliverable. Technology tools can make each client service interaction easier, more seamless and professional.

 

  • Just having satisfied customers isn’t good enough anymore. If you really want a booming business, you have to create raving fans.
  • Ken Blanchard

Friday, May 3rd, 2019

An Opportunity Exists

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates

For many years CPAs working in small to mid-size firms have been delighted when a client of a big, national firm realized they were paying way too much for services that a smaller firm could provide in a more affordable manner and with more care and attention.

Sometimes the larger firms will actually refer certain clients to local and regional firms because they were just too small to fit the big firm’s profile. A too small client of a national firm is often a very large client for a local/regional firm.

This opportunity continues, but another opportunity has been created by the merger mania within the CPA profession.

When one of your local competitors merge-up, there will be clients who do not want to be part of the larger, acquiring firm. We usually see the departure of clients after the first tax season. The “new” firm just does not provide the same, intimate client relationship as the former firm. This is partly because their key contact is retiring and a new person has been introduced and partly because the larger firm has different methods and maybe those methods are just not as friendly and comfortable to the smaller firm clients.

Make sure that any client who is dissatisfied with their current firm knows about your firm – build your brand and reputation and be visible in your business community. Even more important, always be in tune with how your own clients feel about your service.

  • Spend a lot time talking to customers fact to face. You'd be amazed how many companies don't listen to their customers.
  • Ross Perot

Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

After Tax Season Debriefing

“Questions are never indiscreet, answers sometimes are.” – Oscar Wilde

Every year, in late April or early May, CPA firms have a debriefing to uncover the good, the bad, and the ugly of tax season. What worked well, what was a disaster and how do we do better next year? You can read some suggestions on my blog of several years ago.

This year, Roman Kepczyk, Director of Consulting for Right Networks shares a Tax Season Debriefing Checklist in his article in CPA Practice Advisor.

Maybe this checklist will help you structure your debriefing in a more production format.

  • Some men see things as they are and ask, 'Why?' I dream things that never were and ask, 'Why not?'
  • Robert F. Kennedy