There’s a business philosophy “Small business owners are typically good at understanding the needs of their target audience, which is key to their achievement. Thus, learn what your customer desires and ensure you give it to them.”
Can accountants fathom the same belief? Being into any profession, you should know what services your client needs, however, asking them directly willsurprise at some of the answers you’ll get.
Do you regularly take your clients feedback? If not you might be thinking none of your clients have cause to complain but as per the research, clients mutter about their relationship with accountants. They say,
“My accountant doesn’t give me any clear pricing about the service and suddenly comes up with surprise fees”
“My accountant does not update me with whatever processes he has accomplished and most of the times I feel like he completes everything at the last moment, which disrupts my day-to-day activities”
So below we’ve explored some of the most common factors that small businesses expect from their accountants:
1) Understand your client’s well-
In this digital world, where technology is playing a significant role, there are few clients dealing with piles of invoices, receipts, and statements every week. Being an accountant you won’t make efforts to change this habit of your clients?
Running a small business requires a lot of efforts, so take some time and visit your clients at their place or suggest them a cloud-based solution where you can work together in real-time. In this way, you can help them eliminate increasing paperwork and the client would indeed appreciate your regular insights into their business that will eventually make them feel like they are getting a higher-level of service.
2) Quick responses-
Small businesses are typically quick and alert when it comes to dealing with inquiries. In the same way, they expect from their accountants as many business owners complain that their accountants are irresponsive when it comes to resolving any query. Accountants usually don’t answer the calls or forget to call back or give late replies to email, which makes them feel like they are not valued much.
So try to quickly resolve the problems of your clients and communicate timely as it is significant for them.
In case, if you were unable to respond them, you should call them back saying, “I got your message, I understand what you might need (you need to make sure that you understand the case or presume it) and we should have that for you in a few days. If not, we’ll let you know”.
3) Be zealous-
Overlook the ancient proverb “Give advice when it’s asked for- but today give it anyhow!” Your clients won’t feel bad. They’ll be pleased that you are taking interest in their small business and help them to overcome financial challenges that come their way.
Being an accountant, you need to be proactive and help your clients understand their books by providing them basic knowledge about accounting terminologies. This will eventually help them to analyze their profits through the statements and you’ll get lots of appreciation along with trust-winning.
There are many ways you can help your small business clients, some of which includes:
- Help to meet tax deadlines as per IRS
- Help to develop an effective business strategy by analyzing the financial statements
- Help to save the business from unnecessary penalties
- Help to close out your books with compliance
- Advice on various issues such as investing in new bonds or shares in the market, ways to squirrel money etc.
- Help you avoid getting audited by the IRS
- Set up the payroll and provide salary slips for all employees
4) 4 Enhance your technical skills-
Many small businesses are now becoming tech-savvy and embracing the latest technology to streamline their repetitive jobs. This is what they expect from their accountants as well.
Thus, accountants should be well-equipped with digital tools by offering cloud-based accounting solution, adopt accounting software’s like QuickBooks, NetSuite, Sage, etc., for seamless collaboration with clients, helping them to improve overall business efficiency.
However, some accountants are not so in-touch with the latest tools but remember one thing, the client sees you as an expert and keeping them updated about every trend is your responsibility. In the advanced world, you can take some online training for learning the tools and trends and fulfilling customer demand.
5) Offer additional services-
These day offering accounting services for small businessesis not where your works end as an accountant, which only includes handling books, taxes, payroll, etc.
Many of your clients who are in havoc related to financial matters might seek help from you as an advisor for business loan, pension plan, business insurance or somecan ask you to be their tutorfor learning the basics of accounting such as accounts payable, receivable, reconciliation, etc.
There are many roles you need to play when it comes to handling your small business clients in orderto retain them for a long-term.
These are some common expectation of small businesses from their accountants, if you are able to overcome these challenges that mean you can conquer the market. But few of you who are unable to do so, need to implement an immediate strategy for satisfying clients and helping them improve their business efficiency.
Alika is a business development manager at Cogneesol- a leading online bookkeeping service provider. She is passionate about giving business advice and finding alternative ways towards simplifying finance and accounting procedures including accounts payable & receivable, accounting and bookkeeping, reconciliation, invoice processing etc., for businesses. She likes to write on the latest development in the business industry and help entrepreneurs to grow in the agile market.