8 Steps in CPA Mentoring

To develop and nurture talent: It’s more than just lunch.

Molly Sargent
Sargent

Unfortunately, even the best-intentioned mentoring initiatives can easily fizzle in the early stages, before delivering value to the participants and the organization at large, according to Molly Sargent of Rowayton, Conn.-based Professional Impressions Consulting.

Sargent has trained and coached thousands of financial professionals and client-facing executives in professional image, presentation skills, business etiquette and sales effectiveness. Since 1985, she has helped major accounting firms and Fortune 500 companies, including Aetna, American Express, AT&T, Citibank, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Key Bank, MasterCard, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Prudential achieve breakthrough results.

With so much to gain, how can your firm initiate mentoring in a way that is successful and sustainable? READ MORE →

CPAs Salute the People Who Shaped Their Lives

Today’s best career advice: join the survey; get the answers.

by Rick Telberg

At 20 years old, the world was a blank canvas with vast opportunities for Sal Inserra. He thought he knew exactly what he wanted in life.

“Until,” he once told me, “I was set straight.”

Like many CPAs, Sal owes much of his career and success to a few key mentors who guided him early on.

Today — as the kids head back to school and college, and as the rest of us wind up our summers and look ahead to the fall — it may be a good time to salute the mentors who help steward a great profession to the next generation. READ MORE →

18 Pieces of Today’s Best Job Advice

Get certified. Apply early and often.  Join the survey; get the results.

By Rick Telberg

I’m looking over the early responses to our new CPA Careers survey and one stands out for its practicality and wisdom. This from a veteran senior finance manager at a Fortune 1000 company is, I think, 18 pieces of the best advice I’ve ever heard.

1. For the accountant who is not a CPA yet: If you’re not  a CPA already, make it a goal.

2. If you need hours, apply to every accounting firm that you could drive to or are willing to move close to.

3. Apply beginning in mid-April, after busy season, when accounting firms clean house. READ MORE →

How to Turn Client Surveys into New Revenues

Download the sample client satisfaction survey.

by Ed Mendlowitz

Question: Is there any value to sending clients a survey?

Response: Yes.  Our firm sends a survey with every deliverable to a client.  We want to know what they think and how they feel about our service.

I think your best friends are the clients that complain.  This gives you an opportunity to correct any deficiencies or exceptions.

One time a long time very good client put on the survey that we were great but our fees were high.  I immediately met with him, reviewed our charges, had the time runs and details of everything extra we had been doing beyond the scope of our engagement, and the value to the client.  In the following year he recommended two clients to us!  I don’t believe we would have gotten the referrals had he not complained.

Here is a sample of a survey we’ve used: READ MORE →

How Long Can You Keep a Client?

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. READ MORE →

How CFOs Choose a New CPA Firm

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 … Continued

Getting the Client is Only Half the Battle

Four must-do’s for outstanding client retention.

by Bruce W. Marcus / Exclusive to CPA Trendlines
Professional Services Marketing 3.0

In the CPA firm with a strong marketing culture, getting the client is only half the battle. The other half is keeping the client. It’s done with more than just doing good work. In fact, most clients, surveys tell us, don’t really know how good or how bad your work is. Why should they? It’s not the business they’re in. They have to trust the professional.

Independent studies also show that a large percentage of accounting clients are dissatisfied with the levels of service from their accountants. Clients are given no foundation for understanding what’s being done for them, nor are reasonable expectations defined. What basis do clients have, then, for being satisfied?

Bruce W. Marcus
Bruce W. Marcus

More on marketing strategy for large and mid-size firms:  Practice Development: It’s Not Rocket Science  |  Nine Fundamentals for a Healthy Marketing Culture in an Accounting Firm   |  What Accounting Firms Need to Understand to Grapple with Radical Change   |   Six Reasonable Goals for CPA Firm Marketing     |    The Tools of Marketing Are Not a Program – They Are Simply Tools     |    Is Your Marketing Program Really a Program?     |    Six Metrics for Marketing ROI     |    How to Formulate the Right Marketing Goals for Your Firm     |     Get Real: 15 Questions for Achievable Growth     |     If You Don’t Know Where You’re Going, How Do You Know How to Get There?     |     Eight Tips for Staying One Step Ahead of the Competition (And Maybe the Client, Too)     |     Nine Things We Know For Sure about How to Grow an Accounting Firm   |     The CPA’s Castle Is Crumbling

The reality is that this new world is competitive in ways that it’s never been before. Ask your clients how many times they’ve been approached by your competitors, and pursued aggressively. And then ask yourself if you can continue to be sanguine about keeping your clients happy, on a day-by-day basis. READ MORE →

Five Things Accountants Take for Granted That Costs Them Revenue

What we know that clients don’t even know they need.

Sandi Smith, Accountant’s Accelerator

By Sandi Smith, CPA
Accountant’s Accelerator

I’m pretty sure that I am not the only accountant who has made the following mistakes with clients. Here are a couple of ideas to help us remember what we know that the client doesn’t and why it costs us when we forget.

1. Clients do not know how to evaluate our technical skills.

If you need to hire an accountant, chances are you don’t know a lot about accounting. It just follows that you’re not going to be perfect at hiring an accountant. As accountants, we need to remember that it’s not our technical prowess that gets us the job since the client has no way of evaluating that piece.

See more from Sandi Smith:

What’s in Your New Client Funnel?
What’s In Your Welcome Kit for New Prospects?
Five Fun and Easy Ways to Wow Your Clients
Six Ways to Give Yourself a Raise
Strategies to Stop Losing Business to Competitors
Five Tips to Manage Your ‘Overwhelm’ Level
Easy Ideas for a Quick Business Boost
Four New Mega-Trend Marketing Strategies
How to Stop Leaving Money on the Table

What gets us the job is when the client decides they LIKE and TRUST us. We need to stop doing behaviors like talking over our clients’ heads and answering all their technical questions for free.

READ MORE →

25 Magic Words for Career Success

Surprise: Hard work and knowledge aren’t Number 1. Neither are skills or knowledge.

by Rick Telberg

Above all else, the essential ingredient for career success as a CPA is not what you might think.

It’s not knowledge or ability; although you can’t be a CPA without either. It’s not hard work or integrity. But you won’t go far without them. In one word: It’s about “clients.” READ MORE →