Its that time of year to be talking to your clients. You will probably need to talk to most of them at some stage in the near future and we see this as a great opportunity to really understand the status of their business based on what happened last year as well as what is happening this year.
Here is what you should be asking them…
When you are finishing up the client’s lodgement from last year you will need to have a conversation with the client. Whether you need information or confirmation that the lodgement is complete, communication needs to be had.
If we were to ask most Accountants if they did provide any type of Advisory services to their clients what would that be? The first one that always comes to mind is Tax Planning. Why? Its because those clients that want tax planning advice from their Accountant want to save tax.
We digress. The telephone call starts by talking about last year’s tax and then moves on to discussing this year’s situation. Don’t run through it all on the telephone but rather get them in to talk about it. They want to hear your expert opinion.
The best part of the meeting is letting the client talk about their business. They would love to tell you what they are doing now and what they want to do in future. This gives you plenty of information for assisting them in greater detail than you do now.
We find that the good Accountants are very close to their clients & know exactly what is happening with their businesses. It enables them at the very least to provide some basic CFO level support right through to mentoring them about their strategy & goals.
During the meeting you should have not only access to what happened last year but real-time data on what is happening with their business right now. Cloud based software enables this information & the tools are very useful.
At the end of the day, client meetings are worth their weight in gold. Not only are you both giving of your highly valuable time, it is a chance to show a true interest in the client as a person and demonstrate your business value to their bottom line.
What Happens Next?
The client meeting should be about more than tax planning. It should enable you to develop more of an ongoing dialogue with the client and provide more in-depth support. In other words:
- Gain more information about what the client is trying to do. Look at forecasting & budgets.
- Have a few ideas on how they can potentially save tax. That is why they wanted to meet you in the first place.
- Create monthly or quarterly meetings with the client
- Change the way you do business with the client. Move to a fixed fee billing cycle rather than year end payments. You can always adjust the bill based on time spent on client support not considered in the original agreement.
- Send an email after the meeting to agree on what comes next.
Benefits on Both sides
Regular meetings and collaborative planning offer huge benefits to your clients and help to build stronger and more valuable business relationships.
Because you are offering more of your time and producing more relevant and helpful insight the perceived value as well as actual value of your services increases.
It all starts with a single phone call.
Would you like to gain further insights into building your practice. Call us on 1300 121 013