Change is the only constant in the world of business across the globe. Nowadays, with the help of technology, companies are becoming more and more aware of what their end consumers want. On the same line of thought, they do know what to expect from those who work for them.
Dealing with taxes and accounting tasks is not an easy thing. Therefore, most of the small and big companies hire CPAs to work for them. They know of CPAs as a professional who is very good at handling numbers and taxes.
Indeed, choosing the right accounting firm is vital for the continuing progress of their business. But as per their business-specific needs, their expectations from the hired accountants change, usually grow with time.
At the accountant’s end, handling clients with their unrealistic expectations becomes hard sometimes. If you are a CPA or are running an accounting firm, you should know what your clients would expect from you in extreme cases. It will help you stay prepared at your end and handle complexities at work.
What Do Clients Expect from Their CPAs?
The work-life of a CPA is not just limited to filing tax returns for their clients timely. You can put yourself in your client’s shoes and understand what they expect from you to build a long-term relationship with them.
As an accountant, here is what you need to know about the client’s expectations from you –
1. All-Time Accessibility
Accounting and finance-related needs of almost all businesses are critical and urgent. Unlike other less priority tasks, you can’t put the accounting tasks on hold for a long time. Even a small mistake in handling financial data of a company can cause a loss of thousands of dollars or even more.
This is why the clients want you to be available for them at all times. You never know at which point in time they would call you to make corrections in the finances or ask for specific reports.
At your end, this simply means you need to have access to all the accounting-related data all the time. No matter where you are, you should be able to work on the data as per the client’s recommendation. You can’t say you will get things done only in the office hours. Failing to work this way may strain your business relationship with your clients.
To be on the safe side, you are recommended to choose cloud technology to fulfill your clients’ expectations. This way, you will be able to access the business applications and data saved in the cloud environment anytime, anywhere.
Not just that, you can make changes in the data in real time on the go, and it will get saved in the cloud.
2. Clear Communication and Reassurance
No matter how small or big your clients are, this is something everyone seeks. They already have hundreds of things to work upon. One of the main reasons why they have hired you is to let you work on accounting tasks, while they can work on others.
For a business owner, handling finances and accounts on his/her own is most likely to cause more stress than anything else.
You might have also realized that your clients expect you to be clear in communication, about things to be done, complexities, if any. You should also come up with proactive advice related to filing taxes or handling accounting-related tasks, rather than just following a tax-only service model.
Your clients may not ask you about the ins and outs of how you are dealing with their companies’ finances. But they expect reassurance from your end that you are actively working for them the way you should.
3. Real-Time Collaboration
It is true that managing your clients’ data and sharing the required reports is a time-consuming task. You might have even faced situations wherein you need to send the same files to your clients a number of times because of the updates required.
Generally, accountants depend on emails to share files back and forth with their clients. Again, the multiple copies of the same files need to be saved at your end for future references. However, technology has done its part to make things easier for CPAs and accounting firms. To ensure real-time collaboration with your clients, cloud technology can be a real asset for your business.
Specific to your business needs, you can opt for private server hosting and store your clients’ data on it. You can give the clients, and their team authorized access to the data saved in the cloud environment. This way, they can easily collaborate with you for making updates in the data files, reports, etc. you send to them.
The real-time collaboration of data will not only make your clients happy with your services, but it will also improve your productivity at work.
4. Security of Their Business-Related Data
This is one of the most basic expectations of clients from their accountants. Their financial data is the lifeblood of their business. Loss of such data or even unauthorized access to the data can cause significant losses to them.
As an accountant, you may be saving the accounting data of all your clients in our office computers, expecting that it will be completely safe there. But it is also true that there is always a slight risk of data loss from the office computers, be it in terms of hard drive crash, cyber-attacks, or an attempt to steal the data.
If you want to fulfill this expectation in the best possible manner, keep your clients’ data hosted on the cloud. Look for a renowned cloud hosting service provider that will take the load of data security away from you.
It will then become the provider’s responsibility to ensure your data is safe on the cloud. The cloud service providers make use of hi-tech security features such as firewalls, data encryption, Intrusion Detection and Prevention, and many others.
So, you can be at peace that your clients will never question for the loss of any data.
5. A Long-Term Relationship of Trust
Just like in any other industry, maintaining good business relationships with the clients is very important in the accounting industry as well. If a client does not have enough reasons to trust you, he/she won’t hire you at all.
Once the clients have onboarded you to take care of the accounting processes related to their business, they want you to build a trustworthy relationship.
Other than just the tax filing and accounting processes, you may also be called by your clients to consult them in developing business growth plans or partner with their trusted advisors, attorneys, etc.
All such opportunities can make you build a good relationship with your clients. So, you should always be ready to make the most of them. Similarly, you can be proactive to interact with your clients, ask them questions about their business, tell them what more you can do for them.
Keep in mind that if you want to trust your clients to support your accounting business, you should give them reasons why they should trust you.
Knowing what your existing, as well as prospective clients, expect from you can lead to a win-win situation at both the ends. It gives you the opportunity to showcase what value you can bring in as a well-informed, professional accountant to their business.
So, be committed to delivering services that cater to a wide range of concerns. Give your clients a better experience to deal with you and relieves their worries.
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