Your First Meeting with New Clients

A sophisticated group of business people enjoying work in the officeMany of your clients may not have worked with a financial professional before and are unsure what to expect.  The rest have worked with financial professionals and may be running on old expectations. 

It’s important to have a preliminary meeting where you define the relationship and your expectations, taking special note of what your clients expect from you.  You may need to negotiate some of these expectations so that both you and your client are satisfied.  Here are 5 things to consider when defining those expectations.

1.   Determine the information pipeline.  How will information be exchanged?  Do you prefer email?  Does your client prefer hardcopies?  This is something that should be determined before your first official correspondence.

You should also make it clear what information you need from your client, what format it should be in, and when you need it.  You don’t want to compromise your own work by reducing the time you have to do it in or by accepting confusing or faulty data.

2.   Methods and acceptable times for interaction.  When you have your own business, it’s important that you not place yourself on-call 24/7.  In order to preserve your own personal time, you should set up acceptable times for correspondence.  If the client calls after 7pm, and you’ve told them you’re off-duty after 6:30pm, he/she won’t be offended at being asked to leave a voicemail or call back during your business hours.

3.   Set boundaries and keep them.  If you tell a client not to call after 6:30pm and you still take the call, you’re sending mixed messages.  Set your boundaries and honor them.  Also respect any boundaries your client establishes.

4.   Determine the services they require. Do they just want you to manage their books, or are they interested in having you submit their taxes come April and give them advice on what they can do in the future to increase productivity?  Obviously, the more work you do the more you get paid; but you don’t want to assume your client expects typical accounting services only to discover they expect you to act as their tax preparer as well.

5.   Be realistic.  Don’t overpromise.  Be realistic when estimating the time it will take you to accomplish their requested services.  Significant underestimation of time and cost will result in client dissatisfaction once the invoice arrives.  Also be realistic in estimated deliverables.  

Building healthy relationships with your clients depends on clarity: they should know what to expect from you, and you should know what to expect from them.  Once those expectations are defined, you can work on fulfilling them.  And fulfilled expectations make for happy clients.  And happy clients make for happy financial professionals.  And who wouldn’t want to be a happy financial professional?

The Universal Practice Builder (UPB) Program 

If you would like to increase your clientele, we have the perfect program for you!  While financial professionals may be comfortable crunching numbers, they generally are uncomfortable marketing their services.  Wouldn’t it be nice to learn a proven system for increasing your clientele and your bottom line?

The Universal Practice Builder Program is designed to train you how to promote your practice in order to experience significant growth and profitability.  This program offers the following:

  • $30,000 in new annualized billings in only 12 months
  • Tactical goal planning and setting
  • The generation of 15 to 25 qualified leads per month
  • Phone marketing instruction and training
  • Training in the benefits of newsletters and websites
  • 12 proven marketing strategies
  • Financing options 

Build a stellar practice by enrolling in this program today!  Call 1-877-833-7908 today to make a positive change in your career!

What Small-Business Clients Want

client-centered-servicesIn a recent survey conducted by The Sleeter Group, small to mid-sized businesses were asked what they want from their accountants.   Over 1000 prospects were screened and narrowed down to 188 participants who were then questioned about the services they desired as well as what they believed their accountants could provide verses what they wanted to provide.

The results proved interesting.  Here is a quick summary of what they discovered:

  • Expertise and responsiveness were rated the most persuasive characteristics in selecting an accountant.  The article goes on to explain, “What may come as a surprise is that ‘proactive strategic advice’ was the third-highest-rated factor with an average score of 8.7, coming in ahead of ‘reputation’ and ‘low fees.’  The fact that proactive strategic advice rates so high shows SMBs want a CPA who is a partner in their success and often thinking about their business.” 
  • 47.8% of small businesses would prefer an accountant specializing in their industry while 37.8% don’t care either way and 14.4% require a specialist. 
  • 59% are ”highly satisfied” with their current accountant while 21% are “satisfied” and 20% are “dissatisfied.” 
  • The top five services SMBs are currently receiving include tax return preparation, tax planning, compilation/reviewing/auditing of records, representation at government audit, and bookkeeping. 
  • The top five services SMBs wish their accountants offered include business planning, business strategy, the creation of a business dashboard, business analytics, and tax planning. 
  • The top three preferred methods of communication with accountants are by (in order of preference) email, phone and in person. 
  • The top two reasons SMBs leave their accountants are 1. a lack of proactive advice as opposed to reactive advice, and 2. accountants exhibited poor responsiveness. 
  • SMBs want help in strategic planning and technology but don’t believe their accountants want to provide those services.  The article explains, “When it comes to technology planning, almost two-thirds of respondents said they ‘never’ seek out advice from their CPA, showing SMBs don’t believe accountants have the expertise in technology to provide such advice.”

So what does this survey suggest? Focus your efforts on providing those additional services SMBs desire, like strategic business and tax planning.  Also, consider the importance of becoming a Growth and Profit Expert, helping clients tackle problems proactively while making more strategic and lucrative business decisions.  And gaining expertise in technology will also help you respond to one of their most pressing needs.

UAC’s Training Programs Can Help

Our convenient and practical online training programs can respond to all these demands, helping you become a Profit and Growth Expert, provide tax planning services, and master QuickBooks, the leading software used by small-business owners.

The Professional Bookkeeper (PB) Program enables you to do what most accountants can’t: specialize in small-business accounting services.  After just 60 hours, you can become a Profit and Growth Expert, a financial advisor who enhances and/or turns around promising small businesses by providing direction in controlling cash effectively, reducing and minimizing expenses and increasing revenue.

Tax Preparation is just the first part of the Professional Tax Preparer (PTP) Program; you will also learn how to advise businesses to structure their organization to reduce their tax burden. You will assist them to strategically place themselves in a position today that will reap tax rewards next year. While tax preparation peaks around the tax return deadline, there is great money to be made all year long optimizing organizations to take advantage of tax benefits and exemptions.

The Professional Bookkeeper’s Guide (PBG) to QuickBooks will enable you to master this software program that over 80% of small businesses use to manage their accounting.  Once you do, you will be able to work more efficiently as you use all the features, functions, and shortcuts QuickBooks offers.  Not only will the PBG enable you to manage your own books more efficiently, but it can increase your bottom line as you add QuickBooks consultation, help and setup services to your offerings.  With hands-on training you can earn a professional designation as a QuickBooks Specialist that will give you the credibility you need to convince prospective clients that you are an outstanding bookkeeper and trusted technology advisor!

Respond to small business accounting wants and needs by enrolling in these three outstanding programs today.  Call Universal now at 1-877-833-7908 to become a full-service financial provider.

 

Resource

Sleeter, Doug.  “What SMBs Want from Their Accountant – 2014 Update.” 9 April 2014  www.sleeter.com

Start Your Day with 3 Questions

questionSo much depends on the mindset with which you start each day.  And a great way to begin is with some powerful questions that can launch you in the right direction.

Matthew Toren, in a recent Entrepreneur.com article, shares “3 Questions to Ask Yourself Daily as Your Roll Out of Bed.”  The purpose, he explains, is to help “you be prepared for opportunities throughout the day by keeping your eyes open to possibility when there are inevitable challenges.”

His three questions can help you focus your efforts as you move through each work day:

1. Who can I help today? Human nature finds most of us to be self-serving, beginning each day worrying about what we need to get done.  But when we begin the day with this question, our focus is immediately removed from ourselves and onto ways we can help others.  As Toren explains, “it is tantamount to you saying, ‘I’ve got something to offer.  I’ve got something to give.’”  And that idea—the idea that we can offer value to others—is as empowering as it is inspiring.

2. What can I do better today?  There are ways in which we can all improve, but how likely are we to follow-through without daily reminders of specific actions we can take.  This question reminds us about the importance of continual improvement and progress.  As Toren says, “It’s not about being perfect or fake—it’s about trying to make each day’s efforts a little better than yesterday’s efforts.”

3. How can I create value today?  While we talked about offering value in the first question, this particular question is designed to help you consider ways in which you can improve your work as an entrepreneur.  You want to ensure that the services you provide are valuable to all your clients.  Asking this question every day will remind you of client needs and how you can best fulfill them.

Your Options and Your Earning Potential

Becoming a tax preparer enables you to expand your service offerings, providing more value to current and prospective clients.  Universal Accounting Center’s tax training program can make that easy.

Our Professional Tax Preparer (PTP) program includes the following:

  • Informative video instruction
  • Full 1040 training
  • Full business return (1065, 1120, 1120S) training
  • One year follow-up Support from expert tax preparers

The PTP course consists of 20 hours of video training accessible online. Most tax preparation courses include books and some worksheets. Our training uses engaging and entertaining tax preparers who give practical advice on tax issues; they also provide real-world solutions that will give you the edge in productivity and profitability. Our instructors know what challenges you will face because they have been there themselves.

You can answer all these questions with one program. Call Universal at 1-877-833-7908 to enroll today!

Resource

Toren, Matthew.  “3 Questions to Ask Yourself Daily as Your Roll Out of Bed.”  10 July 2014 Entrepreneur.com

Getting the Most of Trade Show Connections

UPB-promo2Trade shows are a great way to acquire industry-specific knowledge and tips.  They’re also a fantastic place to network.  Unfortunately, according to a recent SmallBizTrends article, 80% of trade-show connections receive no follow-up.  What an incredible waste of valuable leads!

But it doesn’t have to be that way!  With a little planning, you can ensure that you take advantage of all those connections you make at trade shows.  Here we share 3 of Timothy Carter’s tips as found in his SmallBizTrends article entitled “5 Trade Show Follow Up Strategies to Boost You to the Next Level.

1. Start follow up preparation before the trade show.  Be sure you have easy-access to all the materials you’ll use to record contacts: notepad, pen, lead forms, business-card holder.  In addition, be sure to have plenty of business cards to distribute yourself!  It also helps to have a code for classifying contacts.  Carter recommends “A” for very important, “B” for moderately important, and “C” for less important.

2. Keep leads organized throughout the trade show.  Carter suggests a simple way to organize your contacts.  Staple their business cards into a notebook or onto a lead form and then describe your interactions with them on that same page.  It’s important that you be able to remember these people, including specific details from your exchanges, later when following up.

3. Add leads to existing contact lists.  Once you return from the trade show, be sure to add your new leads into current contact lists, prioritizing your next interaction.  If you have a newsletter or an email list, be sure to add these contacts to those communications as well.

When attending a trade show, you want to ensure that you get as much from the experience as possible.  Following up on all the leads generated there is a great first step!

Improve Your Efficiency by Mastering QuickBooks

The Professional Bookkeeper’s Guide (PBG) to QuickBooks will enable you to master this software program that over 80% of small businesses use to manage their accounting.  Once you do, you will be able to work more efficiently as you use all the features, functions, and shortcuts QuickBooks offers.  Not only will the PBG enable you to manage your own books more efficiently, but it can increase your bottom line as you add QuickBooks consultation, help and setup services to your offerings.  With hands-on training you can earn a professional designation as a QuickBooks Specialist that will give you the credibility you need to convince prospective clients that you are an outstanding bookkeeper!

With just one small initial investment, you can increase your income and your clientele.  Don’t wait to thank us.  Call Universal at 1-877-833-7908 to order now!

Resource

Carter, Timothy.  “5 Trade Show Follow Up Strategies to Boost You to the Next Level.” 21 May 2014 SmallBizTrends.com

Listening to Enhance Your Practice

Portrait of happy young businessman with colleagues in the backgroundAs a general rule it’s important that you actively listen to your clientele when meeting them about their finances.  But there are other things being said that you should be aware of.  What are small business owners talking about?  Taking the time to listen to these things could help catapult your business to the next level.

In a recent Entrepreneur.com article, author and Digital Media Marketing Expert, Sandi Krakowski details the process of “Boosting Your Business by Using Your Ears.”  Here we share three things you should listen for:

What do they need?  By browsing Facebook, Twitter, and business forums, you can determine what small business owners really need.  As Sandi explains, “The reality of being successful in sales is summed up in this principle: People are looking to have their needs met.  Period.”  When your services solve some of their biggest problems and award them with security and satisfaction, you have secured a client’s loyalty, and, likely, countless referrals.

What are they complaining about?  Small business owners can be a vocal group, sharing their biggest obstacles, disappointments, and complaints regarding business ownership. When you know what their struggles are, you can ensure that your services work to alleviate their most pressing concerns, improving your appeal.

Are they disillusioned and unaware? Sandi says, “Another great key to long-term profits is in becoming a resource that people can turn to and trust.  Revealing hidden information, making difficult things simple and serving as an expert is a great way to grow a company.” As a financial professional, you can prove very useful in helping them overcome misperceptions and misunderstandings regarding the fiscal health of their businesses.

While you could perform brand analysis, market research, and study historical data endlessly, you’ll still probably find the most valuable information by listening to your target market in order to determine how your services can best respond to their needs, complaints, and misperceptions.  Once you do, you’ll find that you’re able to promote your services more effectively as they begin to recognize just how valuable you are to their success and wellbeing.

Increase Your Options and Your Earning Potential

Becoming a tax preparer enables you to increase your competitive advantage and your earning potential!  And the training necessary to become a tax preparer isn’t as long and painful as you might expect.  Universal Accounting Center has made it easy.

Our Professional Tax Preparer program includes the following:

  • Informative video instruction
  • Full 1040 training
  • Full business return (1065, 1120, 1120S) training
  • One year follow-up Support from expert tax preparers

The PTP course consists of 20 hours of video training. Most tax preparation courses include books and some worksheets. Our training uses engaging and entertaining tax preparers who give practical advice on tax issues; they also provide real-world solutions that will give you the edge in productivity and profitability. Our instructors know what challenges you will face because they have been there themselves. Call Universal at 1-877-833-7908 to enroll today.

 

Resource

Krakowski, Sandi.  “Boosting Your Business by Using Your Ears.”  7 May 2014 Entrepreneur.com

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