You’re an accounting superstar – detail-oriented, accurate and a deadline pinch-hitter. But if you want to take your career to the next level, your business partnering and client relationship skills are of paramount importance. Follow these 5 pointers to build better client relationships.
Lay a Solid Foundation
Accounting is a service industry and this means understanding where the client is coming from. Take time to sit down with your client and clarify what they need. Focus in on their expectations and explain how the results will be quantified. Determine what mode of communication they prefer and any immediate concerns that they might have. Having a conversation/meeting like this in the initial stages lays a foundation for a successful client relationship.
Warmth and Competence
Research demonstrates that people prioritize 2 key traits when determining value – warmth and competence. Warmth relates to how trustworthy or likable we see someone and competence refers to our perception of another’s ability in a specific domain. And here’s the kicker – technical competence without warmth can be perceived as threatening and untrustworthy. This means that a conscious effort should be made to build rapport with your client and to demonstrate technical competence in the early stages of the relationship.
Video: Watch this video for a quick look at how warmth and competence influence our judgment.
Educate and Share Knowledge
Nurture the client relationship by sharing your knowledge. Update clients on changes in tax policy, or provide them with seasonal tips. Most importantly, tailor all communication to the client’s specific business needs. By doing this you position yourself as a resource and business partner.
Break Information Down
Understand that your clients are unlikely to have an accounting or finance background– that’s why they have you after all. It’s important, therefore, to be able to break down complicated technical issues into digestible, actionable insights.
Offering your clients exceptional service is a surefire way to build a better relationship. Be available and responsive via email, social media and phone. Establish a secure, self-service portal for them so that they can share sensitive information with you throughout the year. A portal such as this offers increased convenience and exclusivity between the CPA and client.
Building better client relationships means taking additional time to lay a positive foundation at the start. Establish rapport and demonstrate technical competence to increase trust. Become a resource and share knowledge regularly. This positions you as a business partner and serves to reinforce your value.
Your Next Step
No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.
Clarity Recruitment, connecting exceptional people with remarkable companies.