Five tips to help accountants communicate with clients

Five tips to help accountants communicate with clients

In business, accountants’ relationship with their clients is essential. Clients trust their accountants to reveal embarrassing financial details and many of their business choices, both good and bad.

To achieve “mutual value”, we must start with practical and transparent communication. This is especially true when it comes to connecting with clients. Here are some tips to help you improve communication with your accounting clients to build a sense of community.

Why transparency in client communication is essential to tax and accounting firms

Transparency is the basis of your communication because communication is based on trust. Transparency builds trust by letting your client know you’re not trying to hide something.

Transparency can be difficult to maintain, especially when delivering bad news. This is the time when honesty can be appreciated. The same principle applies when you make mistakes. Transparency with clients shows respect for their intelligence and prevents them from feeling condescending.

Five tips to help accountants improve communication with clients

It is essential to put yourself in the client’s shoes and then craft your interactions accordingly.

Tip 1 – Let your clients know about any surprises.

Surprises are stressful for many clients. Unexpected changes can cause emotional stress, which induces anxiety, according to mental health organizations. You can minimize their impact and improve your relationship by letting clients know of unexpected developments in advance. Even adverse events, such as the pandemic, can be used to strengthen relationships with clients when they are communicated openly.

Keep these things in mind when trying to warn clients about surprises.

Be upfront about any potential bad news. It doesn’t matter if it is the amount of taxes they will owe, new regulations which may affect their filing or anything else; you should give them enough time to adapt and digest.

Do not be vague. Communicate surprises as clearly as you can. It allows clients to ask questions and clarify information as they try to understand it.

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It is also essential to share unexpectedly good news, particularly for strategic purposes. Imagine, for example, that a client will have a much smaller tax liability than expected. That’s great. Let them know in advance so they can strategically invest the money they are saving.

Tip 2: Ask lots of questions

Accounting questions are a powerful tool, as they provide you with insight not only into the way a business operates but also into what motivates its owner. These insights can be used to tailor your accounting services to each client.

You can ask questions about the following:

The company’s long- and short-term goals

How will they scale up or down the business if the circumstances are right

What they intend to do in response to specific financial events such as rising or falling interest rates, supply-chain issues or fluctuations in commodity prices that are relevant to their business

Why people might make certain investments

You can also ask questions about any higher or lower numbers than expected. This type of question may be introduced with the polite phrase, “I just wanted to double-check a few numbers …”

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As you chart your path towards securing a successful accounting career, it is vital to prioritize including errors and omissions insurance tailored for accountants in Georgia. This indispensable element safeguards against unforeseen risks, ensuring your professional endeavours remain protected.

Tip 3: Contact clients after business hours

It is essential to consider the time of day you call your clients. This can be a strategic decision to strengthen communication and improve your relationship. Calling clients after business hours, between 7:30 pm and 8:30 pm, can be beneficial.

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You can relax as you usually finish your work.

You’re making it easier for them. You should not interrupt their busiest time of the day.

You can let clients know you are working hard for them anytime. You can impress them with your diligence by contacting them after work.

Limiting this practice to individuals is preferable to businesses. Business clients don’t have enough staff to answer the phone, or the decision-makers prefer to receive calls at regular hours. Use your discretion here. To prevent burnout, you should also prioritize your mental health and disconnect when you finish work.

Tip 4: Include tax and accounting information in your feedback

Data-based narratives are both more persuasive and actionable. This also gives your history more credibility.

You should not just say, “You’ve done well in the past year, your numbers look good, and you are in a great position for the coming quarters.” Instead, you need to include specific data.

You could, for example, say: “It appears that the automation of your accounts receivables process paid off, as your percentage of delinquent accounts between 30 and 45 days dropped by 28% without negatively affecting your overall revenue, which increased by 13.7% over the past year.”

Both are welcome, but the second is more concrete and substantive. It also gives the client numbers that they can use to benchmark future performance.

Tip 5: Use visual aids

Visual aids and written communication are essential in meetings. If you bombard your clients with text or give a long speech, they may lose track of important information.

Instead, consider incorporating visual aids, such as:

  • Graphs
  • Charts
  • Performance comparisons side-by-side
  • The results are arranged by key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Stock images aligned with your presentation, even if they’re not original.
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Shankar is a tech blogger who occasionally enjoys penning historical fiction. With over a thousand articles written on tech, business, finance, marketing, mobile, social media, cloud storage, software, and general topics, he has been creating material for the past eight years.