If you observe closely, you will realize there has been a paradigm shift in job profiles across industries. People are not restricted to following a linear approach to work but are constantly striving hard to evolve their scope and method of work.
The pace of change in the accounting profession is faster than ever. From cloud accounting to automation, a lot of technological changes have taken place in the last couple of years. Similarly, CPA work profiles have taken a different route – moving more to that of a consultant.
And now that providing advisory services seems to be the core of accounting businesses in the future, it is important for new CPAs to develop the art of consulting from the beginning. Here’s how they can do that:
1. Ditch the software As tax consultants, CPAs are required to make explanations to clients on how and why their return was prepared the way it was prepared in a specific way. And the best way to help the clients understand is by using pen and paper.
There are so many tax forms to be filled, so many documents to prepare. To avoid confusion and relay the information properly, it is better to sideline technology.
2. Be a people’s person A consultant’s job involves talking to his or her clientele which includes young people and older people. There are many old clients who still prefer to speak on the phone or meet for coffee, rather than exchange a long list of emails which can be a confusing affair for them.
Old or young – a consulting CPA must be able to please them all and get business like a pro. He or she should find the best way to stay connected with clients and remember that one size doesn't suit all.
3. Keep a positive body language A solid handshake, a sincere smile and direct eye contact are vital elements of building a healthy and trustworthy relationship with the clients. Imagine this – why would a client give you work if there is no trust?!
If a CPA shows genuine interest in the person’s business, obviously he or she will be more than happy to know that the state of affairs are being handled by a confident and smart CPA and not someone who’s body language states otherwise.
4. Always look for a bigger opportunity A new accounting consultant should get into the habit of “anticipating” the demand and needs of clients. He or she should prepare a list of specific to-do things or ideas for when the clients’ taxes are being filed.
A consultant’s job doesn’t end at “consulting”. It also includes getting more work from the clients by offering solutions to their specific problems.
5. Network with outsiders A study by 2016 BKR Americas Member Firm Survey revealed that 12.2% of new business came from collaterals of non CPA professionals. Most CPAs know how to network with outside professionals to serve their clients.
A consultant must have the confidence to make contacts and develop them with time, so that it is easier to grab the attention of more sophisticated and larger potential clients.
What other qualities should a new accounting consultant possess?