Investing Isn't All About Money
By: Jessica Rickard | April 23, 2021
As an accountant, I know you have those clients that you only see during tax season. They dump a pile of receipts and invoices on your desk, say good luck, and leave until you have finished filing their taxes. That seems to be a fairly normal occurrence – until now.
The internet has made it easy for the average joe to take control of their financial statements and file their own taxes. So how do you stay relevant as an accountant?
You become a financial advisor who invests in their clients.
I know what you’re thinking – “Jessica, I invest in ALL my clients… I take the time and provide them with quality service at all times!” Do you really? Take a look at these different ways that you can invest in your clients and become something they can’t get on the internet.
When dealing with your small business clients, you are helping someone turn their dream into a reality and they should be able to trust you on a personal level. They are handing over their livelihood and hoping you have their best interest at heart – so have their best interest at heart.
Every decision you make should be best for your client – even if it is not best for you. Play an active role in the referral process, don’t just hand your client a list of numbers and say, “Good Luck!” Hold their hand, walk them through it, and guide them through the decisions they are making.
The other part of becoming personable, is that you need to know your client. I don’t mean, “Yeah this is Jack and he owns a restaurant and he sees me every month and gives me receipts.” No, I want you to know why Jack opened his restaurant. Does he have kids? What is his plan for the restaurant? Sell it? Hand it down to his kids? Do his kids play sports? What about his wife?
Knowing and understanding your client will help you keep their best interest at heart so you can guide them through the decision-making process. It doesn’t make sense for you to make financial decisions that prepare his restaurant to sell if he plans on passing it down to his son.
Proactive – not reactive
Along the same lines as my previous statement – you need to know where your client is going so that you can plan better. This needs to be a conversation that you have at the beginning of your relationship with your client. You need to know what your client plans to do in the next year, 3 years, 5 years, and what their end goal is for the business.
Cash Flow Mike calls this ‘Starting with the End in Mind’ in his Clear Path to Cash course – and it is so important! Having this conversation with your client can help you really tailor your services to what their goals are, both short-term and long-term.
I feel like I talk about this in every blog I write…maybe because it is SO important! Communication is the key to any successful relationship – including this one. You need to communicate efficiently, promptly, and often.
Communicating efficiently goes back to understanding what kind of person your client is and speaking to them in a way that they will understand. (Don’t worry there will be a business tip on the different social styles soon!) For some clients, explaining their current ratio will go over just fine. For others, the moment you say current ratio their brain is turned off. Find a way to communicate to both types of people.
Communicating promptly and often go hand in hand. The second you see something is off or concerning, you need to tell your client. Actually, the same goes if you see something that is great! Telling your client about things as they arise strengthens your relationships and reinforces the idea that you are invested in your client.
On the other hand, don’t just communicate when there is something right or wrong. Communicate often – about anything. Just check in with your clients to see how things are going. You don’t have to try to sell them a service every time you talk to them. Likewise, your conversations don’t always have to be mind consuming. Shoot them a message asking if they are doing alright or how their kid’s soccer game went. You are both human-beings and sometimes it is nice to have a mindless conversation.
The accounting and advising world is changing, but your role is still super important. You just need to adjust. People don’t want to be treated like products – they want to be treated like people. So invest in your clients, after all, it is their dream you are helping to shape.