Attention small business accountants: Here’s how you can develop successful client relationships
As an accountant for a small business, you don’t only deal with numbers, you deal with people too. In order for you to do the best job possible for your clients, it’s vital that you develop and nurture successful relationships with them. This requires time and effort on your behalf, but forming strong connections with your various clients will lead to happiness and overall client satisfaction, so it’s definitely something every small business accountant should strive to achieve.
If you’re just starting out as accountant and you’re about to get your first small business client, why not read on and familiarise yourself with what you can do to ensure you develop a successful relationship with them from day one?
Open lines of communication
Communication is key in any relationship, including business ones. As the accountant for a small business, you have to be able to communicate openly and effectively with your client to ensure that both parties are always in-the-know. With open lines of communication, it will be far easier to share information, discuss issues and find solutions to problems faster, all of which will make for the overall smoother running of the business. Having excellent communication skills is crucial and ideally you should feel confident communicating both verbally and in written form.
Gain trust by keeping your word
Nothing ruins the trust in a relationship like unreliability. It’s up to you to manage your time efficiently so that you’re always able to deliver what you promised on time. Meeting deadlines regularly shows your client that they can rely on you and in this way, you build up the trust within your relationship. In situations where you know meeting a deadline is going to be impossible, be sure to communicate that beforehand so that you can work out an alternative plan with your client, but most of all, so you can prevent them from experiencing more disappointment than is necessary.
Always be prepared
Show your dedication and commitment by being well prepared for all meetings. Create meeting agendas and bring any supporting documentation you may need with you – all of this will confirm that you’re on top of things and that you’re willing to go the extra mile for your client. Being prepared shows you take an interest in what you do and that you’re focussed on doing the best job you can. Also be sure to listen actively during meetings and take notes – this will further highlight your commitment.
Share your knowledge
Sure, your client hired you because you’re the expert, but that doesn’t mean you should keep all your knowledge to yourself. Your skills put you in a position to go beyond being a mere provider – you can become a teacher too (within reason). Your client will appreciate you parting with information and knowledge, and with them having a better understanding of things as a result, it could really help to make your work relationship better and stronger. Just remember to be patient with them.
Be approachable and flexible
Your client should feel like they can come to you with everything and anything. You should go out of your way to make them feel comfortable as this will not only do wonders for the lines of communication, but it can also help your client learn to like and appreciate you even more. Beyond this, it also helps to acknowledge that needs and goals of clients change over time, and therefore you should be open to new ideas and changing your approach to things as need be. Constantly learning new things that could benefit your client is a great way to stay adaptable as well as on top of the latest trends and news.
These tips can actually be applied to most employee-employer relationships across various industries – they’re by no means exclusively for small business accountants only. Having said that though, as a small business accountant it’s important to nurture and strengthen your relationships with your clients because after all, if they suffer, great work and amazing results will become increasingly more difficult to achieve. And no one wants that.
Featured image: http://www.nicshe.co.za