As tax and accounting professionals, we approach our businesses from a service-centric delivery model. We think about our services first, and then try to match them with a client need. Don’t agree? Look at your website and see how you describe what you do. There is probably a “Services” tab that describes the list of services that you routinely offer, and on that list might be advisory services, consulting, or some other generic category that covers anything else your client might need.
How do I know this? Because that used to be me. I didn’t know there was any other way to be a CPA and eventually left public accounting to go into high tech.
That’s when I discovered the client-centric approach to professional service. Your client service will change drastically when you put yourself in your clients’ shoes and really listen to their needs. You stop trying to fit them into your checklist of services. Instead, you can focus on helping them find a way to achieve their goals. You seek to ask different questions and then offer support as they try to find their own answers.
The shift from service-centric to client-centric was just one of many shifts I made during the advisory certification training I received from Edi Osborne at Mentor Plus. In addition to changing my mind, I also learned new skills and added a bunch of new tools to my toolkit.
Yet, all of this knowledge was just theory until I returned to public accounting in 2007. I joined a CPA firm in California’s Napa Valley, and was able to take those tools and apply them in my work with wineries. I created training, what-if models, and eventually my own bookkeeping business based on the concepts I learned. Having this knowledge, plus a bunch of really cool tools and new skills, gave me the confidence to work in an intimidating industry, wine!
The result? Accounting is fun again.
If you really want to be an advisor and want to earn that “trust” that we keep hearing so much about, get some help. Find training, methods, or processes that help you gain confidence in your own skills. Your clients need you now more than ever.
Editor’s note: If you want to get some actionable ideas for getting started, join Geni Whitehouse for her session, “Communicating financial results to non-accountants,” during Intuit’s “Pivoting for Profitability” virtual conference on Aug. 19-20.