May 20, 2013 14:28
Busy season is the perfect time to learn more about your clients and their businesses. Think back to the conversations you had and what they shared with you. Did they mention any changes or concerns with their life or business? Even if you weren’t able to spend a lot of time with them during tax season, that doesn’t mean you haven’t learned new things about their business. You just finished up completing their tax returns, which hold a great deal of information about a business and its health. Now is the perfect time to leverage that information and offer ways to help.
AICPA President, James C. Metzler, CPA.CITP, CGMA, recently offered a few ideas to help you reflect on and leverage information gained in recent work for and meetings with clients. If you’re ready to begin your opportunity season, follow these three steps Metzler suggested in a post on AICPA.org and become the trusted advisor your client not only wants, but needs.
1) Ask yourself questions about your client’s situation.
• How has their situation changed from last year?
• What financial trends have you noticed over the last few years?
• Did you see any changes in their overall financial health?
• Is there anything they should be concerned about?
• What suggestions do you have to help their business grow?
2) Take notes on your observations and schedule a meeting. Now that you’ve looked further into their business and identified ways that your firm can help, it’s time to communicate your knowledge to them. It’s best to schedule the meeting while you still have their financial situation fresh on your mind.
3) Have others help. Meet with your team regularly to talk about the services you offer and what the firm’s focus is. Provide them with buzz words that can help identify additional opportunities while working with clients. It’s also important for you and your staff to discuss new ways to “wow” your clients by providing them with top notch service – but don’t forget the basics! When you know your client is happy, it’ll be easier to discuss other ways you can help them.
Remember to have fun during your engagements and enjoy getting to know your clients better. Be prepared and make it comfortable for them to open up about their business concerns and ideas. Once you have the information you need, you can come up with action plans together and communicate regularly to ensure they are being met with new ones taking their place. Opportunity season is all about helping your clients make better financial decisions and increasing your bottom line!