CPA Client Communication and Service
CPA Client Communication and Service: 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 Client Communication and Service – Client Communication and Service
Client service and client communication are inextricably linked and are each components of the same mission to continually enhance the level at which you and your firm understand, serve and satisfy your clients.
When you communicate with your clients effectively, you are better able to meet or exceed their expectations because you have a clear understanding of their needs. Effective communication specifically asking the right questions and really listening to your clients also helps you to discover and take advantage of opportunities to serve your clients in new ways.
Just as quality communication enhances a CPAs ability to provide outstanding service, providing excellent client service brings opportunities for more effective communication. The more actively you service your clients, the more opportunities you will have to communicate with them. If you rarely visit your clients and only speak when they call you with an occasional question, there will be few opportunities for real communication. Frequent communications, on the other hand, create an ongoing dialogue with your clients, providing you with the opportunity to become more of a partner to them rather than just a service provider.
Listen closely for the subtle and not-so-subtle clues your client may be providing about his or her level of satisfaction with your firm or with other service providers. Picking up on these hints may enable you to revive a relationship that is going sour or generate additional business by addressing the client’s needs that are not currently being met to his or her satisfaction.
CPA Client Communication and Service – Principles of Outstanding Client Service
Building a reputation for outstanding service requires following several basic principles
Forthrightness helps to build strong client relationships. It tells clients something important about you and your firm and helps to build their level of comfort with and trust in you. A record of honesty also helps clients to see past any problems that may arise to the trustworthy person with whom they are dealing. Alternately, if a client feels the CPA relationship is more adversarial, he or she will be less eager to forgive any missteps.
Be careful to only make promises you know you can keep. Also, try always to under-promise and over-deliver. Imagine yourself waiting for a table in a restaurant. If the host tells you it will be a 10-minute wait, at 15 minutes you start to become agitated. But if he or she tells you it will be 15 minutes and seats you in 10, you are pleasantly surprised.
Availability is another crucial component of any service business. There is nothing more important than serving a client’s needs. While there may be more urgent concerns at a particular moment, clients are the key driver of any professional service business. Without them, a CPA firm can have the most talented, experienced people, the most efficient systems and the nicest office and it will not matter a bit.
When a client requests your attention, provide it. When a client opens the door to a conversation, walk through it. When a client has a question or concern, address it. If a client calls, call back the same day. If a client requests a visit or meeting, don’t put it off. Find the time and arrange it.
There is no more frustrating experience for a client than to be passed from person to person when they have an issue or problem they want resolved. Think of your own experiences of being transferred from one voicemail option to another, to a customer service rep, to a supervisor and back to another voicemail message when trying to resolve an issue with your health insurance, for example.
Never let a client stew – resolve problems as quickly as possible. In truth, every client problem is an opportunity to provide outstanding service. Deliver a solution that meets or even exceeds the client’s expectations and you’ll strengthen your relationship with that client.
CPA Client Communication and Service – 10 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.
- How may I help?
- I can solve that problem.
- I will take responsibility.
- I don’t know the answer, but I’ll find out.
- There will be no unpleasant surprises.
- I will keep you updated.
- I will deliver it on time.
- It will be just what you requested.
- The job will be complete.
- I appreciate your business.
CPA Client Communication and Service
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