Are You Providing Your Clients With The 'Right Kind of Counsel'?
There are almost 17 million small businesses in the United States, (U.S. Small Business Administration) and while the accounting profession has recently come under a completely new kind of scrutiny, even small businesses, as well as the millions of independent and small accounting firms, are being affected by "big business" scandals.
Businesses of all sizes are concerned about whether they are receiving the "right kind of counsel," but the majority of business owners don't know what questions to ask or even what to look for in a professional accountant now that they have got them under a microscope.
Below is a checklist developed by IntuitAdvisor of important information that all accountants should directly
offer their clients in order to reinforce their redibility, educate clients on what they need to know, ensure clients they are receiving the right counsel from a trusted professional, build a relationship and make clients
comfortable in the partnership.
- First, share your experience and credentials. Are you a CPA, PA or EA? A client should know the differences, as these accreditations mean that you have demonstrated the ability to perform the core competencies of the profession and have a knowledge of the continuously changing rules and regulations affecting business accounting. If you are not credentialed, you must ensure your client that you can demonstrate at least five years of service in a practice.
- Offer up your background or experience in the client's specific industry.
- Make sure the client knows who their principal contact will be. Many entrepreneurs prefer to work with small accounting firms because they are more likely to work directly with a partner or principal
- Make sure a client knows who are some other clients that you work with. Offer up references that they can call.
- Demonstrate that you are dedicated and knowledgeable of the latest developments within your profession. If you are actively earning CPE credits to maintain your accreditation and taking courses, let them know.
- Share information about the technology tools and resources you use to demonstrate that you are informed about the latest financial technology available.
- Have an open discussion with your client about how you will work together to share information about their individual business needs.
- Be honest about your costs of service.
By offering this simple information, accountants can help ensure that their clients are comfortable with the decision that they have made and trusting you with their accounting needs.
IntuitAdvisor has been providing its member accountants with programs and tools to expand their practices and serve their clients better. By enabling accountants to take advantage of Intuit's leadership in the financial, tax and accounting markets, IntuitAdvisor has built a solid team of members who are available at nearly any time to assist small business owners and individuals with their financial needs and help them connect with qualified accounting professionals.
Voice of the Editor
Which isn’t completely true. I mean, occasionally I drop by when I manage to sneak out of the nonstop frat party over at Going Concern, but I’m mostly a wallflower over there. I’m happy to say that I’ve been given express permission (or explicit orders, if you like) to wander over here to AccountingWEB more often.
Why is that, you might ask? My job is to replace the irreplaceable Gail Perry as Editor-in-Chief. What does that mean? I don’t really know! I think it’ll be fun getting a feel for things, throwing in my own thoughts here and there, and listening to the discussions you’re having about the accounting profession.