Delivering more than what your clients expect
May 10, 2016

Delivering on client expectations is key to the success of any bookkeeper or accountant. However, there are ways for accounting professionals to surpass expectations, bringing extra value to the client relationship in often surprising new ways.

Break out of the mold
Accounting software is helping accountants and bookkeepers redefine their roles and how they assist their small-business clients. While automation, algorithms and other technologies have taken over some of the traditional tasks associated with accountants and bookkeepers, they have also given these financial professionals the space and freedom to develop their analytical and communication skills. In other words, those traits and roles that computing power cannot perform.

"We need to learn how to race with the machines and focus on the skills that they can't do, like collaboration, creativity, anticipation, empathy and trust," Tom Hood of the Maryland Association of CPAs told Accounting Today. "These 'success skills' are increasingly the differentiators for CPAs."

Build a conversation
As accountants and bookkeepers shed some of the more mundane tasks, leaving various software suites to accomplish such tasks, they have the opportunity to step into the role of translator - taking the data points and analytics produced by technologies and putting them in a language that's understandable and helpful to their clients.

By speaking directly with clients, accounting professionals strengthen their understanding of these small businesses' needs, thereby making it easier to craft and present reports that enhance decision-making processes.

Leave the office behind
While communication occurs through a variety of means - email, phone, etc. - there's often no better way to build a strong long-term relationship with clients than through face-to-face interaction and out-of-office visits.

One strategy to enhance reporting analysis and worth is by visiting clients at their respective businesses. Understanding their everyday processes and problems can help accountants and bookkeepers tailor reports and recommendations to specific needs and decisions.

Outside their office walls, accountants and bookkeepers can take advantage of networking events to speak with clients outside the purview of business. During such occasions, it's easier to demonstrate business knowledge and acumen beyond just the numbers realm that can help transform the role of an accountant or bookkeeper into something more like an advisor.

And, as always, accounting professionals should seek to add the human touch. Inviting clients for coffee to touch base about how their firm can continue to be of use is an easy strategy for anyone to deploy.

Nexus: G-WEBCD6