As the recession deepens for many small business owners, you may find yourself surrounded by fretful clients who worry where this economic downturn will take them. As their accountant, you may become akin to a financial therapist, alleviating their concerns whenever possible. If thus far you’ve wondered how you might calm your concerned clients and point their thoughts in a more positive direction, we have 5 suggestions:
1. Listen and acknowledge their concerns.
First, it’s important that you listen to and acknowledge their feelings. Allow them a few minutes to express themselves and release all those negative thoughts. With this step we suggest you don’t indulge their fears too much; obsessing about them will only cause them to expand in their minds, becoming more overwhelming and insurmountable. At some point you are responsible for turning to the conversation in a more positive direction.
2. Don’t avoid the monster in the closet.
While it’s important to be positive, you shouldn’t avoid their greatest fears. What happens if their cash flow decreases? How much can revenue dwindle before their business is in trouble? While addressing these fears, help them maintain a realistic perspective. What’s their current financial standing? And in looking at key indicators, what needs to change in order for their business to remain or become profitable?
3. Be positive.
Regardless of how frightened your clients may be, it’s your job to remain positive. If you indulge their fears and jump on the worst-case-scenario bandwagon, chances are the negative energy will propel you both towards failure. You must help them see that regardless of how bad things may seem you can always take measures to improve them. Remind them that the more positive they are, the more positive their situation will likely become.
4. Remind them of your value.
Thank heavens your clients have an accountant to help them through the recession! Who better to help lead their business as it barrels through this economic storm? Remind them that you’re there to assist them through any financial difficulty, watching those key indicators and informing them how they might use your accounting data to make more profitable business decisions.
5. Establish a Recession Plan.
It always helps to have a plan. And developing a Recession Plan may be just what your clients need to feel at peace regarding their business’s future. As you share their current standing, interpreting the accounting data in a way they can best understand, have them determine where they would like their business to be and establish some goals your client can work towards in order to see that happen. The more specific the goals, the better.
It’s important that you acknowledge your clients’ concerns and help them work through them, coming to terms with their current financial standing and taking measures to improve them. As you help your client better manage their business through this recession, you’ll find the efforts are well worth the customer loyalty you will certainly secure.
Secure Your Own Standing
You may be feeling a little recessional stress yourself. You can secure your own standing in these difficult times by earning professional designations that will put your clients at ease while enhancing your service offerings.
Professional Bookkeeper (PB)
UAC has designed a curriculum specific to the needs of small businesses, and Universal Accounting offers the most complete small business accounting course anywhere. The Professional Bookkeeper Designation assures clients that you have been properly trained in small business accounting and will help you know what those clients need most from you.
Professional Tax Preparer (PTP)
Many tax preparers make more money in the months leading up to the April 15 tax deadline than others make all year long! Since all individuals and businesses, small or large, are required to file taxes, tax preparation is a respected skill that will always be in demand. And many of your current clients would probably be happy to have you file their taxes as well as perform the standard accounting services you currently provide.
Also consider who your clients will trust to file their taxes. Countless individuals are scammed each year by people who claim to know what they’re doing. More and more are becoming weary of tax preparers without any credentials. The Tax Preparer Designation will put many of those individuals at ease, assuring them that you have been properly trained in tax preparation.
So consider securing your practice’s current standing by adding two professional designations to your name. Learn more by visiting Universal Accounting Center today!