Most of my readers are accountants. And a wonderful bunch of people they are too. So here are two guaranteed ways to create real value for you, your firm and your clients: 1. Partners, do not accept a file from your accountants unless there is a three year business performance review on the front of the file. Keep it nice and simple. What is the three year trend for sales, profit margins and cash locked up in receivables, inventory and payables. Present the three year review to your client at the end of year sign off meeting (you do have one, don’t you?) Have a quality discussion with the client around your observations. 2. Whilst you are having that discussion, ask the client what they are looking to achieve in their business? What are their goals and objectives for, say, three years’ time? Write down exactly what they say and place the note on the front of the file.
Many of the proactive accountants I work with use those two simple techniques to provide exceptional value to clients by identifying additional needs and delivering value based services to address those needs (predominantly planning, monitoring and profit improvement services.) I admonish you to do the same. But even if that is a bridge too far right now, imagine having a three year business performance review AND documentation of goals and objectives on the front of every business client’s file. What is the impact on anyone on your team opening the file? On your product development strategy? And ultimately, on the price you’ll receive when you ultimately sell your firm? I’d suggest it would have a dramatically positive impact on all of the above.