Rethinking the CPA 150-hour requirement: There must be a change
business planning

How to deliver the services your clients crave

Small businesses have shown incredible resilience in dealing with the almost daily changes in their business environment. As partners in their business success, we accountants have been with them every step of the way: helping them get relief funds, keeping them on top of their financial results, and helping them apply automation to improve their business operations. But we can do more. Small businesses need help making better business decisions. They need to move quickly as market conditions change.

It is time we shift from having all the answers to asking different questions. We need to understand more about our clients and where they are trying to take their business. Do they want to create a family legacy, take their company public, sell it, or just create a lifestyle that supports them? We can’t be partners in their success if we don’t know what they are trying to accomplish. Often, business owners have a clear story in their own mind, but haven’t articulated it with their teams. They are the experts in their own business and by asking different questions, we can help them find different answers to the questions that keep them awake at night.

Ask them:

  1. Where do you go to see if your business is on track? If you were to check your results today, where would you look? What systems or reports give you timely insights?
  2. If you could magically solve one problem in your business, what would it be?
  3. How big do you want your company to be? Is the size based on revenues, number of employees, customers, and/or market share?
  4. What does your ideal workday look like? What activities take up the bulk of your time?
Businessman reviewing client advisory services on his laptop.

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Once you have asked the questions, get them to reconsider the business across five main areas. Starting with Financial, then Customers, Operations, People, and End in Mind. Have them describe what works, what needs improvement, and their ideal outcome in each of these areas. From there, you can help them identify areas of short and long term focus. Next as their advisor, you can help them connect their financial goals to critical success factors and then to activity- based measures that involve their teams in moving the business forward. Helping a business owner move the needle in the direction of their dreams requires clarity of focus and the participation of everyone in the company. It is our job to be facilitators who guide the discussion and educators who remove the barriers to understanding financial concepts.

Our clients crave the kinds of timely proactive insights that enable them to make better decisions, motivate their teams, and deliver consistent products and services to their customers. We can apply our skills in new ways to become a true partner in their business success.

Learn more at QuickBooks Connect 2022 and leave with tools you can apply in your business immediately:

  1. $COPE Assessment Document used for interviewing current and future clients.
  2. Interactive spreadsheet used for showing teams how they impact revenue
  3. Tips on how to move the needle on different areas of your client business.

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