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The Key to Running a Successful Accounting Firm

Personal_Finance / SME Nov 10, 2015 - 04:44 PM GMT

By: Submissions

Personal_Finance

Larissa James writes: When operating an accounting firm, it’s easy to get lost in routines and habits. And while it’s obviously important to focus on changing tax laws, evolving accounting procedures, and industry trends, you can’t forget about the basics. At the very heart of a firm’s success is that firm’s ability to connect with clients, engage them, and establish trust. If you’ve forgotten or overlooked this truth, you’re missing out on a major opportunity to grow your brand.


Building Trust One Client at a Time

Building trust requires a commitment to communication and transparency – two things that sometimes don’t come natural. The best advice you can receive is to be yourself. “Everybody on the planet has had unpleasant experiences with salespeople, and many have walked away from a sales situation feeling manipulated,” writes Geoffery James, Inc.com contributing editor. “So, rather than acting or sounding like a salesperson, simply act the way you would when meeting with a colleague.”

While sales speak may land you a client, it’s difficult to build a long term relationship with that client if you aren’t upfront, honest, and true to yourself. People often feel uncomfortable when meeting with accountants because accounting is such an unfamiliar topic. If you’re constantly trying to upsell, instead of telling them the honest truth, they’re going to feel this strain and reconsider their relationship with your firm.

Another key to building trust is to take a real interest in the person on the other side of the table. If you’re only answering questions and not asking questions, something’s wrong with your communication strategy. Take a page out of the book of successful project managers and be a “constant communicator.” These are people that ask questions, express curiosity, and invest in transparent channels of communication.

Don’t Rush the Process

The good news is that nine out of ten business decision makers view CPAs as valuable assets to their organizations – and more than half say they are “trusted advisors.” This shows that businesses know they need accountants, but doesn’t necessarily mean they’re quick to cozy up with you. One temptation you have to avoid when attempting to build trust is rushing the process.

Your first couple meetings with a client will determine a lot when it comes to the future of your business relationship. One strategy many CPAs firmly support is offering complimentary, no-obligation meetings with new clients. This shows that you’re willing to earn the trust of your clients without expecting them to fork over anything in return.

Teach Your Client’s Valuable Information

While conventional wisdom says that experts should keep their knowledge to themselves and leverage it as much as possible, the new way of thinking involves sharing thought leadership with clients. By imparting knowledge on your clients – and teaching them practical lessons that they can use on their own – you’re actually teaching them to come to you when they need help. They’ll realize that you have answers and are willing to help, which is different than keeping all of your knowledge and asking them to write a check before providing a solution.

One practical way to develop thought leadership is to invest in a blog or newsletter that you send to your clients. This allows you to choose topics that you know your clients are interested in and prove your expertise.

Focus on Trust
There are hundreds, if not thousands of keys to running a successful accounting firm. And while it’s difficult to single out one thing that’s more important than the rest, it’s pretty obvious that building trust with clients is paramount. If transparent, trusting relationships aren’t currently at the heart of your business goals, it may be time to realign your thinking.

By Larissa James

© 2015 Copyright Larissa James - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.


© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


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