Client Management Difficulties? Here are a Few Tips
In the following article, Lewis Daidone offers tips for talking to clients who are unfamiliar with accounting rules, concepts and terminology.
If you decide to enter the public accounting field, you’ll experience a diverse range of clients. Some will make your job easier; others… not so much. Here are a few things to keep in mind while working with clients with various degrees of accounting literacy and experience.
Use accessible language.
People tend to become brusque or annoyed with accountants because they find accounting concepts difficult to understand. If you can explain the issues in a matter of fact matter straight forward manner (examples are always helpful), you’ll be able to assuage a lot of client anxieties. Never talk down to your client.
Be systematic and specific.
You may find that some of your clients are panicked because they don’t fully understand the reasons for their financial difficulties. It’s your job to break down their problems into manageable components that they can understand. Once that is done, you can address each issue and point out what precisely is and isn’t working.
Listen carefully, and with compassion.
Some clients find it difficult to organize their thoughts. Be patient, and make sure the client is comfortable expressing their concerns and observations. Open and honest communication is necessary in order to effectively and efficiently service clients.
Keep clients informed.
Sometimes client expectations about goals and results and actual progress are two different things. It is very important to set expectations regarding timing and possible outcomes up front. Never make your client feel that they were blindsided or kept in the dark. If things change, inform the client immediately. Communication is key to maintaining good relationships and that, in turn, will result in happy clients.
Lewis Daidone is a Certified Public Accountant and a consultant to technology companies and financial services firms.