Deeper Weekend 2014

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Choose your favorite writer

  • Greg Kyte
    Greg Kyte
  • Jason Blumer
    Jason Blumer
  • Jon Lokhorst
    Jon Lokhorst
  • Melinda Guillemette
    Melinda Guillemette
  • Toni Cameron


In the CPA firm world, there’s a disparity between two things. So my partner and I, we work a lot with CPA firms, with firms trying to grow, so we know them and accounting firm owners really care about their clients. That is just something that’s about these entrepreneurs, these service-based entrepreneurs, that serve in the accounting world. I think it’s just the types of people that become accountants, that run firms, I don’t know, but they really do care about their clients.

But here’s the thing we hear and I know other firms hear often when they get a new client, they always say, “That last firm never cared about me. They didn’t follow up, they didn’t lead me. I would’ve given them more money. They didn’t tell me new things I could purchase from them.” We hear this disparity often where we know accounting firm owners care about their clients, but yet when you hear clients change firms, they describe something that sounds the opposite where the other firm didn’t care about them. There’s this disparity and what is that?

Well, there are some client management strategies called onboarding where you can actually bring a client along to understand how to work within your firm. A lot of times the difference in disparities is really a lack of education. It’s a client not fully understanding what that firm intends to do for them and how it doesn’t match what the client wants them to do. There’s this disparity often in the knowledge or education in the service being provided. accounting firm owners think caring looks one way because they do it for all their clients whereas a client is looking for very specific care in another way. It takes education through an onboarding process for a firm to tell a client exactly what they’re buying, what they’re going to get, what they’re not going to get, what they can do, what that client can not do, these kinds of things help a client understand, “Oh, this is the kind of care I’m paying for,” and that clarity alone really keeps a client coming back to a firm over and over and over.

And they do. They start to understand. You allow the client to be a better partner of yours when you educate them on what the scope is that they do get or don’t get and then they’ll stay with you. Often a client will say, “Hey, I know this is not in scope, but I want to give you more money to do a new thing for me.” That’s when that client’s become a great partner, when they understand how they’re meant to inform you as their firm how to help that client grow.
But how do you lead these client management strategies? Well, that’s up to the firm. It’s the firm’s responsibility to build an onboarding process, to bring a client into their firm in a way that helps them understand how they’re going to be cared for. If that’s something you struggle with, we help firms with things like that in Thriveal. Hit us up at [email protected] and we’ll walk you through the complexities of how to figure this out. Thanks so much. Take care.


Do you ever consider risk versus reward assessments? That’s a strategy and a skill that firm owners have to adopt. They have to figure out if they’re growing a services based company, they have to do risk versus reward. And a lot of firm entrepreneurs actually operate their business on their gut. They just like make gut calls about things to do in the future. And that works for a little while, but when you get bigger and you have more people and you have more clients and there’s more things to care for, your growth has to become more methodical. It has to become more strategic and strategic just means intentional about the future. And so a risk versus reward is something you do when you’re considering something big. We were coaching with somebody not long ago about adding a partner and that’s a risk versus reward assessment you do. And you don’t just add a partner. You have to think a lot about the implications of that.

So let’s just define a risk real quick, and we’ve kind of talked a lot about risks on videos before. But a risk is basically committing some money or time or resources right now in the present for some hope of a future outcome. Typically, some return on the future and that return could be more time, more money, more growth, more clients, whatever it is you’re trying to make a current bet is what you’re doing. A risk is a bet on the future. And so you can’t make poor bets and keep failing and actually grow. It’s going to hurt you. So you have to become more methodical when your bets become bigger. And your bets, by definition become bigger, when you have more people that are relying on you, and there’s a lot more that can go wrong.

So what you have to do is go, all right, I used to make decisions and make risk calls just with my gut when I was a smaller firm. But now that I’m bigger, you don’t get to do that anymore. You don’t have the freedom to do it. So you have to prepare some data. That’s what you need. And then you go through a process of assessment from that data, which is a lot of sticky pad paper. It’s talking about the pros and cons. What happens if we do, do it? And assigning probability percentages to what if it doesn’t work? What’s the probability that this won’t work? 60%? 30%? 90%? Those things are part of it. And then you have to assess the third step. Do you want what that means? So what if it does work? Or what if it doesn’t work? Do you want what it means to either succeed or fail in that risk you’re trying to take? And then the fourth phase is to make a commitment. Do it. You have to expend resources, expend time, move forward.

And sometimes you can do this assessment, risk versus reward assessment. You can do it pretty quickly, but at first it takes time to learn this methodology. And it’s so intentional. We have a whole module that my partner and I teach in our Thriveal Incubator Series. It’s such an important thing to help you grow your firm and we just wanted to throw that out there. If you need help, hit us up at [email protected], and we’ll be glad to help you figure out if that assessment is right for you. Take care.

My partner and I have been learning so much lately about the beauty of minds. Not all minds are made alike, for sure, and we’ve been learning how each person’s mind is made depends on how those people are led, served, and changed.

In consulting, we often help leadership teams and owners understand themselves better, and then to understand the team they serve with, as well as the clients they serve. Everyone looks at their world in different ways. Leadership teams are often surprised to find out that the people they serve with (teams) or the people they serve (clients) don’t understand themselves very well. Humans don’t know themselves very well. Why is it important to know this? Because it helps you know what you can and cannot ask of these people in order to serve them well.

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Coaching, Leadership, Uncategorized