New start-ups and small businesses are relentlessly looking for ways to try and get ahead of competition and stay at the top of their game. More and more businesses are turning to Certified Public Accountants (CPA’s) to play a proactive advisory role in the business rather than providing a reactive service.
According to a survey by The Sleeter Group, 72% of small businesses changed their CPAs in the past at least in part because the firm “did not give proactive advice, only reactive service.”
So what do your clients need from you? They want up-to-date services; not just with their accounts but also with business advice to help drive revenue and flourish. Here are 5 things that every small business wants from their CPAs:
Know your clients better
Operating a small business can be backbreaking and tedious. To offer your clients a higher level of service, visit their premises as this will help you to understand their business better – and they will really appreciate it.
Schedule more regular meetings instead of seeing your clients just once a year when they turn up to you with invoices and receipts – show that you are interested and you care.
Educate on best practices
As a CPA, you know best how to set up accounting and bookkeeping functions for your clients. To stay ahead in the league, you should assist with reports that will allow businesses to check their financial status at a glance.
Frequent advice on best practice relating to accounts and expenditure will help your clients run their business smoothly.
Hone your technology skills
As a CPA, you will have a varied client base and each of your clients would want you to help them be hands-on with technology. It is only a matter of time before your clients will insist on new tools and if you are not already keeping up with these, you will be at a disadvantage. It is wise to continually develop new skills and be familiar with new software as this will significantly affect your ability to proficiently practice.
Operate tax efficiently
Small business owners are invariably ignorant about how much tax they need to pay and often end up paying more than they actually need to pay the government. Guide and counsel your clients on how much tax they need to pay and help them structure their business most tax efficiently.
Keep clients away from the IRS
Who enjoys tax audits and IRS inspections? Business owners want their CPAs to help them file correct forms in time so they do not panic if any IRS checks happen. If your client has an IRS visit, guide them appropriately and if required represent them – let them know you are there to help.
If you want to distinguish your practice do not wait for the tax season to meet your clients, spend some time during the off peak season to understand and enhance your client relationship. Meaning, this is the right time. Differentiate yourself from your competitors and strengthen your relationship with your clients. Why should they go somewhere else when you are looking after them?