How Accountants Can Make Themselves Essential to Their Clients

Jan 28th 2015
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At a recent roundtable for attorneys, I led a discussion on how professional service providers can become essential to their clients. I realize that this topic is universal, and a perfect discussion for a marketing blog. We invest time and financial resources into a whole host of marketing tools (as we should!) but the bottom line is: Do your clients believe they cannot succeed without you?

Being CPAs, much like our friends in the legal profession, we know that our technical expertise and depth of business knowledge is what our clients value most. But I pose this question to you all: “Is that enough?” Many well-educated and highly skilled professionals have the credentials and real world experiences that they can apply to bring solutions to their clients, whether they grapple with complicated or simple challenges. But does that make them essential?

I would suggest that as a partner group, you think about your own “A” and “B” clients, and consider whether or not they feel you are absolutely necessary to their continued success. If you are confident that the answer is yes—I applaud you!

If however, you are not positive that your clients have that connection with you, then you and your partners need to begin thinking about how to build that rapport, how to become indispensable to the clients you serve.

The formula is straightforward: Your background, training and professional expertise must be combined with other characteristics. You need to be proactive (probing past the surface conversation and important questions), a good listener, attentive, accessible and resourceful. It is helpful if you can make introductions to other leaders in the business community, facilitate valuable connections and share industry trends, including challenges and opportunities, with clients.

You also can help your clients gain some exposure in the community by introducing them to the local media, nominating them for appropriate awards and perhaps inviting them to speak at one of your events or write an article to publish in one of your newsletters. A quarterly informal meeting—over breakfast or dinner—can go a long way toward building a meaningful relationship and enables you to interact on a more frequent basis. Pick up the phone occasionally. It is difficult to anticipate and solve problems through an email exchange or when you only meeting a semi-annually!

It is obvious that to reach the pinnacle of success, to have clients believe strongly that you are integral to their current and future sustainability and growth, you need to do more for them—looking beyond the expected and finding ways to do the unexpected.

About the author:
Sally Glick is CMO and principal of Sobel & Co. LLC. She was named Accounting Marketer of the Year for 2003 and was voted into the AAM Hall of Fame in 2007. She can be reached at [email protected].


Replies (2)

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By Kristen Rampe
Jun 25th 2015 20:12 EDT

Excellent idea about nominating clients for awards! Nothing says "You're the Best" like being honored publicly in that sort of way.

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By NoellaBardwell
Sep 22nd 2015 02:23 EDT

Great. The article is simply awesome. Social media will also play a important role in showing your facts and figures to clients.

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