Many CPAs cannot articulate how they differentiate themselves from their competition. Most CPA websites look the same. If CPAs themselves can’t explain how they are different, how can they expect the average consumer of accounting and tax services to? Those CPAs that do not differentiate themselves are often selected by prospects based on the universal differentiator – price. This leads to practice commoditization, not a strategy for long-term success. The best differentiator is to become proactive and add value to every client relationship.
Not Understanding Client Business, Industry or Wants
Among larger companies, the primary reason for terminating the relationship with a CPA firm is due to a lack of understanding of the client business. This is likely not unique to larger companies. CPAs do not invest the time to understand a client’s business “well enough” because they don’t feel they can be paid for this effort and don’t see the value. The client wants advice and is willing to pay for it. You know what the client needs. You have to ask the right questions to determine what a client wants. This takes an understanding of the mission of a CPA firm – the reason you are in business is to help your client define and achieve success.
Not Connecting Others to Clients
A CPA is one of many who sell knowledge to a client. It is not important whether the CPA’s services are any more or less important than other providers, what is important is that CPAs have relationships with other professionals to refer to clients. Know the other professionals in your clients’ lives. If you understand your mission is to be actively involved in your client’s success, you’ll want to know and collaborate with other professionals to solve problems and help achieve client objectives. The true value of a CPA is not the “deliverables” but making the connections that benefit clients; being a trusted source of referral that earns the title of “Most Trusted Advisor”.
If the concern is recent slow or sluggish revenue growth at the firm, the CPA should consider establishing policies, practices, and procedures that address these deficiencies.
© 2012 BD Consultants