Many clients rely completely on their Accountant to assist them with finances. The most helpful advice will come from knowing the business’ real-time situation and from meaningful discussions with the client on a regular basis.
This year it’s more important than ever to talk to your clients about their business situation and help them put a plan together for next financial year.
Here are six important points you should consider:
1. Real Time Accounting
Your clients should be on a real-time system that will ensure you understand their financial position now. When constructing the client’s financial situation for the meeting, if you are relying on data from last quarter but don’t have data for April or May (or June) we suggest you:
- Use the data for the first ¾ of the year
- Get the data for the last quarter of the last financial year
- Talk to your client about the difference between this time last year and now
- Use 2 or 3 scenarios for what this financial year will look like based on the above.
Highlight the importance of having a real-time systems if they don’t have already. It makes your job a lot easier & provides everyone with a real time understanding of the business.
Have a standard template for your tax planning documents that you use for your clients.
Xero has a great webinar for their clients here:
3. Delegate Data
To help with your time management, have all your data collected before you prepare reports and supporting documentation. Why not get your team to help pull together all the figures and have them ready to go. Alternatively, hand off the raw data to be collated into a report by someone else.
4. Client Prep
Send a couple of key questions or prompts to your client before you meet, to get them thinking about specific areas of concern or opportunity. These can be generic prompts or client-specific.
A little preparation can give an obligatory conversation (that you’ve had many times over) so much more insight and value. In terms of planning, you’ll see a higher quality input in a lot less time.
5. Meaningful Meetings
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.
Make sure that meetings are booked well in advance, no need to wait for the client: be proactive!
If meeting in person is not possible, using Zoom or Google Meet enables you to still show the client their numbers, graphs etc in real time.
Consider including a secondary team member in your meeting. Once they have met a client face to face it is easier to delegate some of the day-to-day liaison activities.
6. More Than Just Tax
The client meeting should be about more than tax planning. It should include business continuity issues and strategy planning. It provides you with a great opportunity to:
- Turn these annual meetings into quarterly or bi-annual ones
- Provides you with a deeper understanding of their business particularly about the future expectations. Do they have budgets?
- Provides you with an opportunity to move from payment in arrears to quarterly billing.
- During the meeting you should suggest to the client that you meet once a quarter/bi-annually to discuss how the business is travelling compared to budgets. It’s also important for Business Continuity purposes.
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.
Are you interested in growing your business, understanding its real value or creating an exit strategy?
Talk to us today about boosting business value, gaining new clients or looking at your exit plans.