How clients value the intangibles.
By Hitendra Patil
"What leader has the most positive influence in your daily life?"
The answers to that Gallup Poll question may be astoundingly important for CPAs who strive to make a positive difference in the lives of their clients.
Here's why: CPAs already possess the authority and position to exercise the type of leadership with clients that can make a tangible and practical difference on a day-to-day basis.
In a second question, Gallup asked respondents to list the words that best describe what that leader contributed to their lives. Then Gallup boiled down the words into four categories, each clearly important to practicing accountants:
- Trust (i.e.: honesty, integrity and respect): Clients expect to see an accounting firm as an honest entity. They want to experience integrity in all their transactions with the firm. They respect accountants for their knowledge, wisdom and expertise. And they trust their accountant can guide them through business or financial challenges.
- Compassion (i.e.: caring, friendship, happiness and love): For many accountants I know, their greatest joys come from knowing they touched a client's life in some way. The challenge, of course, is creating the compassionate culture across the firm.
- Stability (i.e.: security, strength, support and peace): You thought IT security was a necessary evil? Just the knowledge that your systems and processes are secure and safe gives your clients a tremendous sense of stability. It takes away their worries. Note the word “peace.” Peace of mind is not something that emerges from just one act. It is a comprehensive thing.
- Hope (i.e.: direction, faith and guidance): This is the North Star phenomenon that many firms can simply miss in day-to-day drudgery. A leader is a dealer of hope. Accountants provide direction and guidance to keep alive clients' hopes of better financial lives.
Clients already expect their CPA to be a leader in their lives. CPAs merely need to fill the role.