Archive for the ‘Client service’ Category

Friday, September 23rd, 2022

Help Them Understand

“Without hustle, talent will only carry you so far.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

On my mind this morning is the topic of communication. Here’s a Flashback Friday post about helping clients understand what you are saying. I think this topic also applies to conversations between generations. Gen Z might not understand certain phrases and words a Boomer might utter (and definitely vice versa)!

Have a great weekend.

  • Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.
  • Maya Angelou

Thursday, September 15th, 2022

September 15

“The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse.” – Edmund Burke

I bet it’s been crazy at your accounting firm leading up to September 15. Some progressive firms don’t allow clients to string them out. If clients don’t “bring in their stuff” until September 13, 14, or 15, the client knows the CPA will not put his/her people through a massive fire drill.

If you are working at a CPA firm that continually allows clients to punish you and the other staff members, it is your own fault.

Someone gave me some advice once, and I will pass it along to you. If you stay in a nut house, you are nuts.

  • Abused patience turns to fury.
  • Thomas Fuller

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2022

Specialization

“If you are hanging out your shingle, you should be focused on specialization.” – Gale Crosley

Gale Crosley has been talking about it for years. “It” means specialization. In a recent interview with Tim Keith of Introhive, Gale notes that her #1 recommendation to CPA firms of all sizes is specialization.

Be sure to listen to Gale’s recent conversation with Tim – A Fireside Chat – The State of Strategic Growth.

Here are some bullet points that took from the chat.

  • Our problem with pruning the client base are we are attacking it at a slow pace.
  • The fish are jumping into the boat and we are punishing our people.
  • We are stretching our people, hanging on to clients, and exhausting our staff.
  • We are not wired for fast movement.
  • Disruptive times require strategic thinking.
  • To prune, don’t rank clients a, b, c, and d. Break it down to the business unit level – the nonprofits, the construction, the medical, then make a plan for that unit.
  • The biggest obstacle now is the lack of future thinking. It has evaporated.
  • We are just riding the market conditions.
  • We need to develop our strategy; we do it as a mechanical thing. We include people who are not strategic thinkers; we include worker bees.
  • Get both feet into tomorrow.
  • And much more!
  • Specialization is the absolute requirement for where we are in our life cycle.
  • Gale Crosley

Friday, August 19th, 2022

CPAs As Consultants

“Wise men don’t need advice. Fools won’t take it.” – Benjamin Franklin

Becoming a consultant is not something new to you. You are already performing consulting services and have done it for years.

Read more in this Friday Flashback Post.

  • Advice is like snow - the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks into the mind.
  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Thursday, August 18th, 2022

The Personal Touch

“What made me sign with the Cardinals? Because they used salesmanship, the personal touch.” – Stan Musial

The stereotype is that accountants are in the number business, green eyeshades, etc. Nothing is farther from the truth. CPAs are in the people business. Of course, they have extreme knowledge and experience when it comes to financial affairs. To use that knowledge, they have to be able to build relationships with people, people from varying backgrounds.

CPAs spend many years building a successful firm, a firm where clients are made to feel special, where they can come with questions, and where they can obtain support and understanding. The most successful CPAs never lose sight of the importance of the personal touch.

As we move into more and more automation, keep the personal touch in mind. When your clients call you, do they always get your voice mail (even when you are actually available for their call)?

All this came to mind when I recently read on the CPAFMA discussion board about firms moving to an automated phone answering system rather than having a person answer the phone.

When firms first used direct inward dial and assigned private numbers to each individual, some clients were given the personal number by the individual. Usually, it was given only to certain clients. Many clients still preferred to call the main number. I know, at our firm, people called because they enjoyed talking to our Director of First Impressions.

Now, of course, mobile numbers are given to clients, so the volume of people calling the main number has decreased. I still urge you to think about the personal touch if you are thinking about using an automated answering system.

Read this interesting article by Harvey MacKay – Your Business Depends On Your Personal Touch.

  • Every contact we have with a customer influences whether or not they’ll come back. We have to be great every time or we’ll lose them.
  • Kevin Stirtz

Monday, August 8th, 2022

Be Aware of Your Lingo

“The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” – Ronald Reagan

What is lingo? It is a way of speaking that’s shared by a particular group of people — it’s their own personal slang or jargon. CPAs and those who work for/with them have their own lingo. Think about it.

It is a number type of lingo: 1040, 1040ES, 1065, 1120, 1120s, 941 1099, W-2, W-4, and many more. There is also lingo involving letters: FASB, EBP, GAAP, and so on.

Just remember, your clients do not understand this lingo. Your new hires do not understand this lingo (at first). So, be careful and explain yourself thoroughly when communicating.

I know some tech guys who always observed International Talk Like a Pirate Day (This year, Monday, September 19, 2022) by trying to speak only pirate lingo.

Maybe you can have your own Talk Like An Accountant Day.

  • Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.
  • Walt Disney

Friday, July 29th, 2022

Flashback Friday – Maister-isms

“Professional is not a label you give yourself – it’s a description you hope others will apply to you.” – David Maister

This Friday, reflect on some advice from David Maister. His comments never seem to get old, and he’s been retired for quite a few years now. Read the Maister-isms here.

Have a great weekend.

  • If your clients aren't actively telling their friends about you, maybe your work isn't as great as you think it is.
  • David Maister

Thursday, June 30th, 2022

Who Thanks You?

“We cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Recently, three of my clients took the time to send me a message, thanking me.

It made me think about all you do for your clients. You worry about them. You explore and research to find answers to their questions. You send out a monthly newsletter to keep them informed. You write articles to educate them. You work long hours to be sure they are able to adhere to various federal, state, and local due dates. And, one of the most important things you do for your clients is to listen.

How many of your clients take the time to thank you? I am sure some do. Many of your clients do not.

Of course, they pay you and maybe they think that is payment enough but a thank-you is icing on the cake.

Right now, because of labor shortages, you are deciding which clients to outplace. When you think about each client, consider if they truly appreciate your efforts and what you do for them. It is one factor that will help you decide which ones to keep and which ones to refer to a provider that better fits their needs.

P.S. You also need to thank them every time you have an interaction with them.

  • Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other.
  • Randy Pausch

Tuesday, June 28th, 2022

Technology Podcast

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” – Paul J. Meyer

I know you are always looking for new tools to help your firm become more efficient. You also want to make things easier for your valuable team members.

Much of your efficiencies these days depends on having the absolute best technology. It means the best hardware and software.

A good place to keep up to date is listening to Randy Johnston and Brian Tankersley‘s podcast via CPA Practice Advisor. It’s called The Technology Lab Podcast – New Technology Tools for Accountants

In a recent podcast, they review AuditMiner. I wasn’t aware of it but, of course, I am not an auditor! It appears to be a great tool if you do employee benefit audits.

Hear their review of AuditMiner here.

  • Nothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all.
  • Peter Drucker

Friday, June 24th, 2022

Cutting Back – Flashback Friday

“I love how summer just wraps its arms around you like a warm blanket.” – Kellie Elmore

So many businesses have had to cut back on choices and services simply because they can’t find adequate help. Some are calling it skimpflation. Read more about it in this flashback post.

Enjoy this Friday afternoon (and the weekend).

  • Summer afternoon - summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.
  • Henry James