Accountants have always been an essential part of their clients’ lives. In many cases, accountants are the first port of call for companies, providing valuable financial advice throughout the year, helping them become more profitable, as a result.
What’s more, over the following years, communication will become increasingly more critical since compliance processes will become automated. For this reason, accountants need to maintain a good relationship with their clients. Here are four ways to do that.
Today’s communications, be them personal or professional, take place mostly over the internet. Even though digital communication is useful, it doesn’t provide the same benefits as face-to-face communication.
While talking over email, phone, or Skype is great when having to say something urgent, face-to-face will help you know your client better. This will give you a stronger insight about their wants and needs. Secondly, your clients will have a more favourable impression about you, so they will be more likely to call on you whenever there is a business crisis they have to handle.
With today’s technological advancements, accountants need to maintain their crucial part of their client’s lives, or risk becoming irrelevant, altogether.
To counteract this, it’s advisable that accounting firms widen their portfolio, becoming a one-stop shop for their clients. It means that you should move to total wealth management, which includes estate planning, investments estate planning, superannuation, tax structures and succession planning.
Instead of learning these skills, yourself, make use of synergy by associating with good referral partners. They are already versed in these practices and you can become actively involved in the process. Accompany your clients to these meetings, so you can better control the relationship.
A bit of socializing will do wonders for your business relationship. By knowing your clients on a more personal and social level, they will be more comfortable with you. This will give the feeling that you have their best interests at heart.
Socializing with a client doesn’t imply that you should go out of your way to make them feel important. Like with every healthy relationship, it’s the little and more subtle things that make the biggest difference. Take the first 10 minutes of every meeting to talk about personal matters.
This will make you look more human and grounded, allowing the client to open up to you and trust you more. When this happens, your image will no longer be that of a simple accountant. They will view you as a financial advisor who is there to help throughout the entire business cycle.
Being More Proactive
It’s always sound advice to be able to anticipate your clients’ direction and potential future problems than react to what’s happening at that very moment. To bring more value to your relationship, provide them with your input in regards to where they are heading, and warn them about any future problem they may encounter along the way.
For this to happen, you will first have to spend the necessary amount of time to know them better and understand them, both as a business and as individuals. No two people are the same, and you can’t deliver the same advice to everyone.
Building and maintaining good working relationships with your clients is an ongoing process that requires time and patience. Nevertheless, this is something that can make the difference between a lifelong partnership and a one-time affair.
Until the next time,