Clients say: Not as long as you think. If you’re a finance manager on the client side, what do you say? by Rick Telberg Are most CPAs fooling themselves? If you ask a CPA, as CPA Trendlines has been doing since 2006, how long they typically keep a client, you’ll get a fairly consistent answer through the years. If you ask a client how long they’ve worked with their current CPA firm, you’ll also get a fairly consistent answer. The problem is: The CPA and the client disagree.
What you need to know. How finance executives pick accounting firms: Join the survey; get the answers. by Rick Telberg Here’s some good news for accounting firms: Most companies stick with their CPA firms for at least five to 10 years. And they are loathe to change. The reasons are myriad. The inherent cost of switching – getting a new set of outside accountants up to speed – is certainly one. However, another, less tangible reason, cannot be denied: The vast majority of CPA firms develop strong and deep relationships with their clients. And yet, there is some fragility in the relationship to which no CPA firm, or corporate finance manager, should turn a blind eye. A surprising number of [...]
Are there no limits to availability? Here at CPA Trendlines, Ed Mendlowitz answers some of the toughest questions practitioners can throw at him. He’s the right one to ask. After more than 40 years in the business – building his own practice, running the firm, and eventually selling it to a major regional firm, WithumSmith+Brown, where he remains a senior partner and consultant to professional services clients – he has the answers. Browse more from Ed here: Audit Reports Without Doing the Work? | Should I Really Spend the Time Making Checklists? | What’s a Tax Practice Worth Today? | Preparing to Sell Your Practice in a Few Years? 13 Things You Need to Know Today | 10 Questions to [...]
Good clients don’t leave their CPA on the basis of fees alone. In fact, money factors in only when the relationship isn’t valued and the difference you make is not evident. You and your team can impact that directly by delivering exceptional client service on a consistent basis.
And dozens of possible solutions from staffers… At a recent staff workshop, there was a brainstorming session to answer some key questions about what constitutes excellence in client service. Four questions were placed on the table: 1. How can we make it easier for our clients to do business with us?
Anticipate. Anticipate. Anticipate… Then follow through.
The Great Recession is shifting client desires and expectations in some interesting and counter-intuitive ways…
More firms see the problem. But fewer are doing anything about it. by Rick Telberg Just at a time when accounting firms are struggling to gain new clients and hold on to the ones they already have, client satisfaction ratings appear to be dropping.
Getting new clients may be many firms’ chief concern these days. But for most firms, there’s un-mined gold in their current clients. The accounting business may not be the same in five years. Today’s standard products and services are evolving quickly. How long, for instance, will simple 1040 tax prep last with the speed of data aggregation? But if you still have the same clients, you will still have cash flows. The Bottom Line:
From the December 2010 issue of Accounting Office Management & Administration Report via Texas Society of CPAs. Attracting and retaining clients has taken on new importance for CPAs whose firms have taken a hit in the last few years. “In this recession, CPAs have had some whoop-ass put on them, mostly because the number of clients is dissolving,” says Rick Telberg, president and chief executive of East Hampton, N.Y.-based Bay Street Group LLC, advisers in marketing, management, and strategy for the tax, accounting, and finance industries. The biggest way to land new clients is through referrals, Telberg says, and these days it’s happening online. “What we’ve found is that the firms that are doing something—anything—are making progress,” he says.
Survey Shows 82% of CPAs at Top 100 Accounting Firms Tie New Technology Adoption to Client Retention and Firm Growth. Bay Street Group Research finds accounting firm partners are embracing document management and Software-as-a-Service solutions to meet client needs and expectations. LAGUNA HILLS, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The accounting profession’s largest U.S. firms believe they are nearly 100 percent focused on client needs and expectations, and perceived by their clients as technologically savvy with the adoption of paperless and cloud-based technologies to speed productivity. “It’s clear that firms must provide as many resources as possible to save their clients time and money. These include easy-to-use portals and other applications to enable the exchange of documents and information.” These and other preliminary findings are [...]
Client service is not just smile training — it’s about treating people the way they wanted to be treated. by Arnold Sanow http://www.arnoldsanow.com In today’s fast-changing and competitive environment, excellent client service is not only nice but essential for success. In fact, the only way to differentiate yourself and to become less of a commodity in the marketplace is through outstanding service. The strategies for keeping clients for life can be honed down to some basic steps that any business owner can use. To get clients, keep them and to get enthusiastic referrals follow these 25 proven techniques: 1. Reward your clients. Send them a gift, provide them a lead, generate business for them, etc. 2. Use your clients’ services [...]
Good advice from a top venture capital investor on what he wants to hear. Before you call Mark Suster, a two-time entrepreneur who joined GRP Partners in 2007 after selling his company to Salesforce.com, with your next big idea, first listen to some of his advice. “When a person calls me and we’re 10 minutes into the call and it’s not clear why they’re calling I’m usually thinking to myself, “what was the reason they wanted to call me in the first place? What are they hoping to achieve?” and mostly, “How can I help?” Suster’s suggests:
… or risk getting left behind. CCH president Mike Sabbatis warns CPA firms to be ever vigilant of client needs. After three generations, a client suddenly dumped their CPA firm. Why? And could it happen to you? More from the CCH conference here: CCH’s Kevin Robert: How Client Portals Solve a Client Service Puzzle [VIDEO] Are portals part of your client service strategy yet? 36% of Clients Are Dissatisfied and Already Shopping for Another Accounting Firm Clients seek broader array of services. [Instant Download: Click here to get the full report.]
Are portals part of your client service strategy yet? In this series of soundbites from his keynote speech at the annual CCH users’ conference, CCH Wolters Kluwer CEO Kevin Robert starts by challenging accountants to understand their clients’ service needs. He argues that portals are now an essential part of delivering a full range of client services, delivered the way the client may prefer: .
Clients seek broader array of services via CCH Few concerns weigh more on the minds of accountants than the desire to satisfy, and retain, clients. As CPA firms look to build client loyalty and grow profitability, a new CCH nationwide survey – the 2010 CCH Accounting Firm Client Survey – pinpoints what’s most important to keeping accounting firm clients, and why they leave. The independent survey commissioned by CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business, was issued to accounting firm clients including individuals and small, mid-size and large businesses.
Kirkland Albrecht & Fredrickson battles a bruising recession. by Rick Telberg By the time you read this, Ken Kirkland will be packing for a trip to the India beach resort of Thiruvananthapuram as the newly named international chairman of the JHI accounting firms network. As a leader of the 120-firm, 55-nation group, Kirkland hopes to help build stronger programs, increase participation and attract new members. “As companies like ours want to stay independent,” he says, “it’s important to be affiliated with a group like JHI to access additional resources and opportunities.” While that job sounds formidable, it pales in comparison to the challenges Kirkland faces as the chief executive of Braintree, Mass.-based seven-partner, 58-staffer CPA firm Kirkland Albrecht & Fredrickson [...]