How to Avoid Getting Run Over (or Left Behind)

Cars in trafficSmart CPAs will remain their client’s most trusted advisor – but not by staying in their lane.

By Kyle Walters

Are your clients asking you specifically for help with their insurance, investments and estate planning? Are they asking you how these options impact their taxes?

MORE: Use 3 Colors to Create Clarity and Deliver Value | Are You Growing or Getting Left Behind? | What Can You Offer that IBM’s Watson Can’t? | The What, So What and Now What? | Clients Don’t Have a Fee Problem, They Have a Value Problem
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Most CPAs will say, “Yes, all the time!” The reason clients are bringing these issues to you is because they trust you. CPAs have long been viewed as their clients’ most trusted advisors. When most clients have financial issues or complexity to deal with, they go to their CPA first.
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Use 3 Colors to Create Clarity and Deliver Value

illustration of traffic lightHow the three colors of a traffic light can improve your client relationships.

By Kyle Walters

From the CPA’s perspective, a completed tax return is a summary of all the hard work that you have done on behalf of your client. The return represents a mountain of paperwork that you have tamed – everything you had to evaluate, research and consider in order to complete the often-complex process of preparing and filing a U.S. tax return.

MORE: Are You Growing or Getting Left Behind? | What Can You Offer that IBM’s Watson Can’t? | The What, So What and Now What? | Clients Don’t Have a Fee Problem, They Have a Value Problem
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However, when you deliver a tax return to your client, the final return seems like nothing more than a huge pile of paper in the client’s eyes. Other than seeing how much they owe in taxes, most clients don’t know what to do with all the information on their return because they don’t understand IRS-speak. They don’t understand the implications of the numbers contained in the nice neat rows and columns.
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Are You Growing or Getting Left Behind?

Businesspeople coming together to cup hands and hold dirt and a seedlingHow to build a successful firm for the future.

By Kyle Walters

As most of you know, the accounting profession is feeling the pressure of commoditization and fee compression. What’s more, many firms are finding it difficult to hire and retain qualified staff.

MORE: What Can You Offer that IBM’s Watson Can’t? | The What, So What and Now What? | Clients Don’t Have a Fee Problem, They Have a Value Problem
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In order to overcome these challenges in your practice, you will need to address three important considerations ASAP:

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The What, So What and Now What?

Kyle Walters: "To raise fees, you need to raise the value you provide."It's no longer enough to be a historian.

By Kyle Walters

Ever noticed that a car's windshield is always larger than its rearview mirror?

MORE: Clients Don’t Have a Fee Problem, They Have a Value Problem
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When you are driving down the highway of life, looking ahead is far more important than looking behind you. The same is true when it comes to your client’s financial goals.
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Clients Don’t Have a Fee Problem, They Have a Value Problem

Clients don’t pay you to fill in forms, they pay you to help them make better financial decisions.

By Kyle Walters

Key Takeaways

• Clients are buying expert advice and recommendations from you. They’re not buying the tools you use to do your job.

• Unfortunately, that makes many CPAs nervous because advice doesn’t balance. Advice can’t be guaranteed.

• Your output as a CPA firm is to help clients make better financial decisions. Everything you do needs to be centered around client success – not around manufacturing tax returns.

As a CPA, it’s easy to think your job is simply to provide tax and auditing services – i.e. to give clients a historical analysis of their financial statements. Your input is data; your output is more data in the form of a completed tax return. Chances are, you became a CPA because you’ve always liked numbers and structure. Like many of your peers, you have always enjoyed balancing debits and credits because that way, you can prove without question that the output is right. READ MORE →