…But isn’t making sure a client’s finances are in order enough?
Quite honestly, the answer is yes.
However CPAs willing to go above and beyond for their clients will be rewarded with a long-term, trusted relationship and potentials for future business opportunities. Plus, admit it, you like problem solving just a little bit more than crunching the numbers, don’t you?
No, we’re not psychics – no mysticism involved!
Most CPAs actually prefer utilizing problem solving skills over working with numbers.
According to the Journal of Accountancy, “41% of respondents [of 2,600 professional respondents] said they liked problem solving over working with numbers (22%)”. And really, it makes sense.
See, as a CPA, you’re constantly using your problem-solving skills in relation to numbers, from a mathematical and financial perspective. Readjusting those finely-tuned skills to step “out of the box” and into other matters positions you as a passionate, client-focused CPA. And the real trick is that you don’t have to do much outside of what you already do – it’s simply a matter of using your Jedi training to achieve more great results – and your clients will thank you.
Fortunately, we can offer some guidance on where to focus your energies. Sure, you can speak with your client upfront to get a better understanding of their unique problems (we applaud your proactivity!) – but you can use the below as a launching pad for more common client issues.
Many businesses typically have problems unique to their organization, but fairly common within their industry. Dive a little deeper into the following areas to truly flex your Super CPA problem-solving skills!
Consulting Clients Outside of Finances
When you see a potential financial issue for a client, it sets itself apart to your eyes.
“How didn’t anybody notice this before?” You ask, happy to have caught it before any negative impact. Well, you saw it because you’re attuned to locating and solving these issues.
Imagine what good you could bring to a client if you were able to assist them with other problems as well?
In order to do this, you need to really get to know your client’s industry. You can get yourself up-to-speed by following popular influencers on LinkedIn and Twitter. You can read industry articles by respected sources to better understand twists and turns. Use the resources available to you to position yourself as an authority within their industry. Once you understand a little better, it’s time to begin looking into issues and offering solutions.
Problems Building a Winning Team
For many companies, this is a tough hurdle to clear. As the United States inches closer to pre-recession employment levels, finding top talent is challenging. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the unemployment rate held steady [in August] at 4.9 percent – and though they had expected 4.8, it is likely to steadily fall throughout the 4th quarter.
With fewer applicants available, it’s harder to find, onboard, and keep talent that your client knows will benefit the company in the long-term.
Advising a client on recruitment and on-boarding methods ensures that you are as well concerned for the continued success of the company. If you can help a client find and maintain great talent, you can be sure that your success with your client will grow as well.
Extra Pro Tip: Keep your client’s performance management system in mind, too. There’s been chatter to remove performance reviews altogether, and as industries shift towards modern approaches it’s good practice to consider fresh options that speak to responsibility, productivity, and engagement in real-time.
Constant Paper Chase
Like you, your client is extremely busy. They’ve hired a team to manage the day-to-day operations while they focus their attention on growth and continued success. However, in the course of the daily grind, administrative problems can occur that your client is never made aware of.
And how could they be? Too much time is being spent – on managing time. Their calendar is jam packed and requires expert levels of logical thinking to decipher. To your client, this is the epitome of organization. To everybody else it may as well be in Aramaic – and that’ll get muddled up fast.
Unlike a missed meeting or phone call, a lost spreadsheet, signed document, or failure to provide accurate benefit information may not seem like a huge concern right now, but these minor errors in organization can cost you time, money, and/or talent.
Finding an avenue that manages the preparation and collection of these important documents for immediate review helps your client in a variety of ways. Since they’re extremely busy themselves, finding automated solutions proves to be both efficient and effective. More so, you can be sure they won’t be calling you stressed to help out in a pinch – you’ve already highlighted the problem and offered a winning solution.
Lost Time, Lost Funds, Lost Opportunities
If an organization faces any issue so far, it’s probably nested under this headline. Managing time, money, and talent is already harrowing for seasoned HR experts – and your client probably has other obligations to focus on.
But that doesn’t change the facts. Consider asking your client the following questions to gain better insight on their issues:
- Do you know how much you’re currently spending on overtime pay?
- Are there any current workspace incidents being discussed or investigated?
- Do you know where your average salary stands in accordance with industry standards?
- Do you know the areas of your organization that are underperforming? Performing well?
It’s easy to get side-tracked with other operations, but losing focus on the above can spell disaster down the line, and it’s your job as a Super CPA to lead them away from the rocks.
Getting your client to review and understand the importance of keeping costs down, productivity high, and employees happy will garner great results. Let your client know that tightening these gears makes for a more efficient machine, and attention paid to these issues will propel growth like never before!