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CPA 10 Phrases for Positive Client Communication

CPA 10 Phrases for Positive Client Communication

CPA 10 Phrases for Positive Client Communication: Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is the title of qualified accountants in numerous countries in the English-speaking world. In the United States, the CPA is a license to provide accounting services directly to the public. It is awarded by each of the 50 states for practice in that state. Additionally, almost every state (49 out of 50) has passed mobility laws in order to allow practice in their state by CPAs from other states. Although state licensing requirements vary, the minimum standard requirements include the passing of the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination, 150 semester units of college education, and one year of accounting related experience.

Continuing professional education (CPE) is also required to maintain licensure. Individuals who have been awarded the CPA but have lapsed in the fulfillment of the required CPE or have requested to be converted to inactive status are in many states permitted to use the designation “CPA Inactive” or an equivalent phrase. In most U.S. states, only CPAs are legally able to provide to the public attestation (including auditing) opinions on financial statements. Many CPAs are members of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and their state CPA society.

State laws vary widely regarding whether a non-CPA is even allowed to use the title accountant. To illustrate, Texas prohibits the use of the designations “accountant” and “auditor” by a person not certified as a Texas CPA, unless that person is a CPA in another state, is a non-resident of Texas, and otherwise meets the requirements for practice in Texas by out-of-state CPA firms and practitioners.

CPA 10 Phrases for Positive Client Communication:

Services provided

The primary functions performed by CPAs relate to assurance services. In assurance services, also known as financial audit services, CPAs attest to the reasonableness of disclosures, the freedom from material misstatement, and the adherence to the applicable generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) in financial statements. CPAs can also be employed by corporations—termed “the private sector”—in finance functions such as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) or finance manager, or as CEOs subject to their full business knowledge and practice. These CPAs do not provide services directly to the public.

Although some CPA firms serve as business consultants, the consulting role has been under scrutiny following the Enron scandal where Arthur Andersen simultaneously provided audit and consulting services which affected their ability to maintain independence in their audit duties. This incident resulted in many accounting firms divesting in their consulting divisions, but this trend has since reversed. In audit engagements, CPAs are (and have always been) required by professional standards and Federal and State laws to maintain independence (both in fact and in appearance) from the entity for which they are conducting an attestation (audit and review) engagement. However, most individual CPAs who work as consultants do not also work as auditors.

CPAs also have a niche within the income tax return preparation industry. Many small to mid-sized firms have both a tax and an auditing department. Along with attorneys and enrolled agents, CPAs may represent taxpayers in matters before the Internal Revenue Service.

Whether providing services directly to the public or employed by corporations or associations, CPAs can operate in virtually any area of finance including:

  • Assurance and attestation services
  • Corporate finance (merger and acquisition, initial public offerings, share and debt issuings)
  • Corporate governance
  • Estate planning
  • Financial accounting
  • Governmental accounting
  • Financial analysis
  • Financial planning
  • Forensic accounting (preventing, detecting, and investigating financial frauds)
  • Income tax
  • Information technology, especially as applied to accounting and auditing
  • Management consulting and performance management
  • Tax preparation and planning
  • Venture Capital
  • Financial reporting
  • Regulatory reporting

CPA10 Phrases for Positive Client Communication

Words can be very powerful. The right words can immediately put a client at ease. The wrong ones can raise their defenses and their stress level just as quickly. The following 10 phrases will help you lead the way to effective communication with your clients.

  1. How may I help?
  2. I can solve that problem.
  3. I will take responsibility.
  4. I don’t know the answer, but I’ll find out.
  5. There will be no unpleasant surprises.
  6. I will keep you updated.
  7. I will deliver it on time.
  8. It will be just what you requested.
  9. The job will be complete.
  10. I appreciate your business.

CPA 10 Phrases for Positive Client Communication – Practical Tips for Achieving Effective Client Communication

Published September 19, 2006

Maintain clear and reasonable expectations:

  • When the situation warrants, adjust your clients expectations promptly.
  • Report project status regularly.
  • Avoid surprises.

Avoid fee-related misunderstandings:

  • Discuss fees during the first meeting.
  • Furnish a written fee agreement.
  • Bill periodically and promptly.

Make time to educate your client:

  • Share your work with the client.
  • Involve them in the process.
    • Add value beyond the services being provided.
    • Create a positive experience for the client.

Show that you care about your client as a person:

  • Highlight potential personal implications of accounting and financial issues and situations.
  • Remember personal details such as names of family members, key milestones, birthdays, etc.
    • Write them down.
    • Calendar them so you remember to mention them.
    • Send cards and personal notes.
  • Be focused and actively engaged in serving your client.

CPA 10 Phrases for Positive Client Communication

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