Consulting is the best way to get your CPA firm out of the tax-services-only rut. It not only has the ability to make you more of an asset to your clients, but it can propel both of you forward in terms of performance and growth. Because you already have an established relationship handling a company's finances, you're in the great position to apply your expertise to help them achieve their goals.
Before you start, however, here are some tips on how the be the best consultant:
- Be prompt in communicating. There's nothing worse than someone going MIA during a time when you really need to be filled in on the details or are dying to set up an appointment. Be courteous, be prompt, be reliable.
- Remember to put yourself in their shoes. Sometimes clients' methods may not make sense to you, their constant worrying may seem excessive, or they may be clueless about things they're doing that're draining their funds or hindering growth. Have compassion and remember this is their livelihood and they've likely poured everything into their business. Be the person they can count on for counsel, helpful advice, and support, not scolding.
- Make all advice specific to each specific client. "One size fits all" does not exist in business. Make sure you're curating all advice and guidance to your clients' individual needs.
- Use the right tools. A craftsman is only as good as his or her tools, right? When it comes to consulting, look for a cloud-based platform that's automated, graphic-driven, and designed to make it easy for you to compare performance, share results and collaborate with your clients to figure out the best path forward.
- Repeat. Not every goal can be achieved, or problem solved, in one or two meetings. Meaningful change usually takes time. What most clients really need to make actual progress is on-going support and guidance, someone to hold their hand and hold them accountable for as long as they stay in business.