Archive for the ‘Client service’ Category

Friday, April 9th, 2021

Exceptional Service

“There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.” – Roger Staubach

It’s Friday and time for a flashback post. It is something that I hope you have practiced a lot recently during your busiest time of year. I call it making your clients say, “Wow!”.

To make clients say wow you have to do something unique. Read more here.

  • How you think about your customer influences how you respond to them.
  • Marilyn Suttle

Friday, April 2nd, 2021

Being a Leader

“If you don’t want to be a thief then be on time.” – Steve Keating

Being on time is always important. For a CPA, being on time during tax season is even more important. Sure, you are busy. So are your clients and your employees. Never waste another person’s time by being late.

On March 11th my blog, Always Be On time, reminded you of the importance of punctuality.

This week, I read a blog post by Steve Keating titled, Being on Time Matters. Please read his blog post. If you are too busy now, bookmark it to read after April 15th. With the extended deadline, I hope you will have more breathing room after 4/15.

I enjoyed reading his story about being on time and its importance. I know you will benefit from it, too, if you want to be an exceptional leader at your firm.

  • When it comes to time there seems to be two major groups of people. Those who believe being on time matters and those who believe it matters that other people be on time.
  • Steve Keating

Monday, March 29th, 2021

Pay Attention to Your CAS Services!

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky

Profession experts have been telling you that CAS services are lucrative for you and important to your small business clients. The following is from a Facebook post by Jim Metzler (who most of you know from his many years with the AICPA).

I feel it is important enough to use just as he posted. Click on the link in his post.

From Metzler:

If you don’t think CAS is a game-changer, just read this article. Non CPA competition in non-attest is real and these folks are really impressive. Can’t beat a valuation of over a billion dollars and Jeff Bezos as an investor. CPA continues to be a potential differentiator for us and as a profession, we need to better articulate, communicate and reinforce why the CPA brand is of greater value in this space. Value only exists in the minds of clients and it’s up to us and our professional associations to get the message out there.

CNBC.COMJeff Bezos-backed accounting start-up hits $1.2 billion valuation after new funding round

  • Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy.
  • Wayne Gretzky

Thursday, March 25th, 2021

Confused Clients

If you’re not confused, you’re not paying attention.” – Tom Peters

This tax season brings unique and never before experienced situations for many of your clients.

Perhaps, they are contacting you, maybe too often with all kinds of questions and concerns. You might even be getting frustrated with all of those questions, some of which you have no answers for!

Why not host a Zoom session for your clients in a question-and-answer format? Keep it informative yet simple. Hit the highlights of what you are seeing and experiencing and let them ask questions. Inform them beforehand of the time limit (yes, because you are busy).

You could host the session once a week for the next few weeks. If you have a huge response, keep doing it. Rotate partners to act as host. Allow 30 minutes and don’t over prepare. If you don’t know the answer to one of their questions, just tell them the truth.

This might lead to less phone calls, emails or texts from clients and show your clients how much you care. Having fewer confused and worried clients is a big win for the firm.

  • Confused? Confusion is good. It's an excellent place to learn something new from.
  • Henna Inam

Monday, March 22nd, 2021

Does Your CPA Firm Need to Restart?

“The biggest risk is not taking any risk.” – Mark Zuckerberg

I have observed that many accounting firm really do need to hit the restart button.

Why don’t they? They are afraid, afraid of losing employees, afraid of losing partners and, generally, afraid of the unknown.

I recently read a great article via Accounting Today about Sensiba San Filippo, one of the largest CPA and business consulting firms in Northern California. Here’s an excerpt:

When you hear “firmwide reboot,” most people think about cutting costs, trimming staff aggressively, and cutting back on travel and client entertainment. SSF took a radically different approach: Essentially, they asked themselves: “Why are we really in business?”

Everyone at all levels of the firm had to address three fundamental questions:

1. If you were a client, what would you want in a CPA?
2. If you were just graduating from college, would you want to work at your firm?
3. If your parents walked into one of our offices, would they be proud of the way they saw people treat each other?

Those aren’t the kinds of questions you’ll find on the CPA Exam or in an MBA textbook, although maybe they should be.

Sensiba San Filippo drastically changed their partner compensation program among other things. They lost partners and employees who were not on board with the new vision. Most firms are afraid to take that risk. Are you?

Read the article here.

  • Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
  • T. S. Eliot

Thursday, March 11th, 2021

Always Be On-Time

“Soldiers should be minutemen. Punctuality is one of the most valuable habits a soldier can possess.” –Christopher Columbus Andrews, Hints to Company Officers on Their Military Duties, 1863

I bet the people inside your firm have had many conversations about “other” people inside your firm.

One of the most frustrating topics is the person who is always late. They are late for internal meetings (Zoom or in person). They are late for client meetings, for lunch appointments and even for CPE classes.

Their lack of punctuality often keeps groups of other people waiting and wastes a lot of time. In some cases, people just get used to it and don’t even plan on the person to ever be on time. Few people, if any, respect or admire them.

George Washington was known for his punctuality. Once his secretary arrived late to a meeting, and blamed his watch for his tardiness, Washington quietly replied, “Then you must get another watch, or I another secretary.”

I once knew a very high-profile (and very expensive) personal coach who worked with prominent corporate executives and some CPA partners. One of the first things he taught them was punctuality. Monthly calls were established and the partner had to place the call to the consultant. If they were a few seconds late, the coach would not accept their call the they had to pay the session fee anyway – no refunds and it was expensive. Every person I knew who used this coach benefitted greatly from the life lessons they learned from the experience.

Read more about George Washington’s punctuality and other important factors about being punctual here.

  • Life's tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.
  • Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, March 9th, 2021

Your Kind of Firm

 “Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.”- Walt Disney

What kind of service do your clients want? I bet you have both kinds, the kind that likes a lot of personal attention and the kind that want streamlined, technology focused service.

That should cause you to consider what kind of firm you want to be and maybe you shouldn’t do what so many firms do. They try to be all things to all people. That’s a tough road to travel.

Kyle Walters, in his article for Accounting Today asks – What kind of firm do you want to create?

Walters describes two different approaches to client service – high touch and high-tech.

Which type of firm do you want to be? Can you be both? According to Walters, you can’t be both.

  • How you think about your customer influences how you respond to them.
  • Marilyn Suttle

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021

Digital Rainmaking

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” -Thomas Edison

Times have changed dramatically. The old ways of business development inside CPA firms are gone (for now and maybe forever).

I imagine many firms are not comfortable with pursuing new business in the digital world.

Sarah Dobek, Inovautus Consulting, is offering practitioners the opportunity to invest in digital marketing training.

The training involves four sessions: Session 1: The Intersection Between Traditional + Virtual BD, Session 2: Networking Virtually, Session 3: Best Practices for Integrating Video into the Sales Process, and Session 4: Social Selling.

Don’t sit on the sidelines, get involved with digital marketing. Get more information about this training and the sessions here.

  • The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.
  • Thomas Paine

Monday, March 1st, 2021

Succession Planning

“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near one.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

There are many different ways to address succession planning and client transition. This topic is often discussed inside accounting firms. Some firms have elaborate and formal succession plans that are well-documented.

I have observed that many firms, especially small to medium-size firms have not dedicated the time and effort to define a more formal plan.

This topic was discussed recently on the CPAFMA Discussion Board. If you are not a member, you should be.

One member admitted that they did not have a formal document but they do have a list to guide their planning for partner retirements. Tricia Duncan, CPA with Jones & Roth shared their firm’s method. I think you will find this plan helpful if you do not have a formal plan. This one is simple, yet effective. Here is Duncan’s comment on the topic:

We don’t have a formal document – we generally start 3-4 years out from the retirement year.  We develop a plan for each individual that addresses:

  • Client relationship
  • Technical expertise
  • Firm responsibilities
  • Community/Niche/Referral relationships
  • Mentor/Team Responsibilities

Generally, start the planning and execution 1-2 years out.  We try to have client relationships transitioned 1 year out so the last year the Partner is on board is more as an advisory role if questions come up. Our new CRM manages the entire relationship.  This has been critical for us.

We’ve successfully transitioned 5+ partners in the last 5 years.


  • If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.
  • Yogi Berra

Friday, February 12th, 2021

Don’t Become Invisible

“Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.” – Jonathan Swift

2020 was a challenging year and you had to distance yourself from others. This Friday Flashback Post stresses visibility.

Also, just because it is tax season, it doesn’t mean you are permitted to forget about visibility. During this time of year, CPAs are the heroes – you are working very hard to help others. Stress that theme on your website and other social media sites.

  • Because when some people are invisible, everyone suffers.
  • Gloria Steinem