With accountants being introverts by nature, it is no wonder that some accountants struggle to connect with their clients meaningfully. Lynda Steffens, CPA, Queensland business coach, and accountant, has released a book called Accounting Revolution, which offers strategies to better communicate and engage with your clientele. In this blog post, we will discuss the six ways accountants can build stronger relationships with their clients and improve communication.
“The introverted nature of accountants makes client communication more challenging,” Lynda Steffens, CPA and Queensland business coach who formerly ran her own firm LS Accounting as well as management roles at Synergy Accountants and Smith’s Lawyers.
“Accountants are highly detail-oriented and enjoy being technical, but that may not translate to connecting with clients.”
However, some accountants lack the necessary communication abilities to resonate with clients. Lynda’s book offers guidance for better connecting and engaging with clients. The following tips are included in her new release, Accounting Revolution.
Build awareness understanding the operational objectives of a business is necessary to accelerate success.
“Being aware of who we are means we know what is genuinely achievable,” she says.
She argues that accountants often do not realize the value of connecting with their clients and therefore neglect this crucial role. Clients should be able to depend on accountants for more than just doing paperwork.
“Learn how to talk about more than just accounting and taxes with your clients.”
Maximize your “superpowers.”
Strategies in this book will improve the accounting department’s ability to manage clients without drowning them with too much data: Accountants can use analysis, Document management, and analyzing information to fulfill clearer client intentions; The book focuses on the importance of listening to your clients, finding creative solutions and using education and experience to help your client.
Steffens suggests using a story-telling approach rather than the “traditional bombardment of facts and figures” during discussions with clients.
Ask more questions
There’s a hesitation among accountants to ask questions for fear of not being able to answer. “Accounting is not a profession for the meek,” In the book “Accounting Revolution,” Steffens encourages accountants to try “asking questions to find out what that person needs.”
She suggests asking open-ended questions, such as: What else? If you knew what it was, How does that make you feel when you learn more about people and then find ways to help them?
Find out from your clients what their goals and aspirations are, which should help you do a better job of meeting or exceeding their expectations.
“In order to gain a deep understanding and connection with your client, it helps when you are able to explore those areas.”
Follow the script
Lynda Steffens aims to combine these two fields and provide a radically new approach.
The book acts as a tool for accountants to understand client engagement strategies. The goal is to help accountants prepare for conversations with clients by coming up with a strategy ahead of time. The introverted author offers advice on interactions and connections with clients, as well as tools to both open up conversation and comfort.
Aim for structure
Steffens is a proponent of structured client interactions, which elicit and build upon the client’s ability to come on a journey with their accountant.
“The five Ps” are used for placing the reader inside a cabin:
PLAN (to build a client’s strategic foundation)
PROTECT (to hedge against risk and safeguard a business through a better understanding of its financial numbers)
POSITION (to get clients ready for growth)
PROGRESS (to work with clients to keep their initiatives on track)
POWER (to give clients the sense that they are back in control of their business)
The power of the three Ds
Lynda Steffens, a Queensland business coach, and self-described introvert, say the best way to win over clients is through a three-step process.
Offer a free 30 to a 45-minute meeting at your offices for clients of all sizes. The time commitment will give you the opportunity to address their objectives.
Be more proactive with your client by using a deeper level of analysis.
Have a written proposal prepared that details the time frame and final cost of all services.
Why write such a book?
Steffens discovered when she started engaging with her colleagues that many wanted to quit their jobs.
One seasoned accountant reported to the author that she was feeling overwhelmed and overworked.
“Accountants tell me that some of them would prefer to be elsewhere.”
She hopes her book can impact the profession by keeping more accountants in it.