Your relationship with your clients is one of the most important aspects of running a successful accounting firm. Many small business owners seek after your expertise and support in order to propel their business forward and ensure they are managing their money well. In order to move from being a service-based firm to partnering with your clients and achieving wins together, here are five tips for collaborating with clients.
1 Set common goals
When you begin working with a new client, it’s important to discuss what their goals are for the future. In order to move into a more strategy-based role, where you can come alongside clients and work with them, it’s imperative that you understand the direction of their business. Start by setting common goals and achievements that you can work towards together. Work out a step-by-step plan with realistic time frames so you can both be held accountable.
2 Be transparent
In order to build trust and ensure you and your clients are always on the same page, it’s worthwhile adopting some form of progress tracking. Being transparent with your clients will help prevent any misunderstandings and is vital if more than one team member is servicing a client or working on a particular project. Make regular updates in real-time so the progress of a campaign or task can be accurately tracked on both sides.
3 Ditch email, opt for video call
At the end of the day, there’s nothing quite like face-to-face interaction. If you’re working on a large project for a client or dealing with a difficult matter, it’s worthwhile forgetting about email and going straight for a video call for clarity. It’s a great opportunity for both sides to ask questions, clear up any misunderstandings and streamline processes moving forward. After a call, follow up with a quick email outlining the key takeaways.
4 Play to your strengths
When working with clients, it’s important to play to your strengths of both you and your firm. Let your clients know how you can help and what services they have available to them. If there is a speciality area where one of your team members excels, be willing to delegate where appropriate. You may even need to outsource at times or suggest your client makes other arrangements if it’s outside the scope of your firm. Do what you do well and always showcase your firm’s best work.
5 Organise your project workflow
Juggling multiple clients and different projects, all with competing deadlines, can be a real challenge. Make sure you have some way to organise your firm’s project workflow, in order to better manage everyone’s workload. Try collaborating with your clients using QuickBooks Online Accountant. Using the work tab, you can not only manage your upcoming work and projects, but also organise, share and store documents and talk to your client without having to move from QBOA to your email.