Accounting Professionals Should Do This: Be Proactive and Regularly Communicate with Clients
I’m not sure where I heard it, I think it was a sky diver on TV, who said about the sport “you’re dead until you do something about it”. At the same time that I realized that I never wanted to sky dive, I also realized that this fairly desperate philosophy at some level applied to a lot of business situations. Weirdly enough, one of them was how this relates to public accountants and bookkeepers working with small business clients.
One of the things I’ve heard a lot throughout the years is that bookkeeping and doing other work for small business clients is tough, because they never bring you the information you need when you need it. With a philosophy of “help me help you”, accounting professionals are trying to find ways to make it easier for the client to deliver the work to them. The missing element, however, is a closer working relationship with the client, coupled with PROACTIVE and REGULAR (please note the big letters) reminders that getting the work to the professional is the only way to get it processed in time .
How many firms really communicate with clients only during tax season? Is the client organizer your main method of reminding them that you’ve got a relationship? It’s not even funny how many business owners couldn’t name the accountant who did their tax return last year, and who don’t seem to care to know. This is definitely not the way to build and retain client relationships, yet it is the approach many professionals take. And then they wonder why the client base isn’t growing, and why they are having a hard time “communicating their value” and they want to know how to get more of that profitable “higher level” work.
You’re dead until you do something about it.
Put into the context of the reactive accountant, it starts to make sense. Accounting professionals must be proactive – be doing something to build customer loyalty and retention, be actively and regularly communicating with clients so it’s not a mad rush during tax season, and be implementing tools and solutions to help them offer more meaningful services to their clients. This is how to make the firm grow and thrive. So, go do something about it.