Creating Client Value

July 8th, 2009

How valuable are CPAs to their clients? What do clients want their CPAs to do for them? These questions have puzzled me and frustrated me for some time. After giving this some thought I reached the conclusion that clients don’t receive value and CPAs don’t provide the value they are capable of delivering.Creating value lies in the pursuit and development of value propositions. Value propositions aren’t defined in the tax code or in generally accepted accounting principles, yet it is the secret to greater profitability which is created by providing needed and necessary services. Clients want more than taxes and accounting from CPAs. They want and need help with their businesses, especially when economic conditions are tough. This means defining customer value in terms of what services CPAs provide and how they do business with their clients. Here is where you can link price together with reliability, dependability, and convenience of the service provided.

Far too many CPAs provide a service, but miss out on providing and building client value. This occurs because they haven’t taken the time to develop the knowledge and understanding as to what clients really need. You need to ask the key questions of clients so you know what they expect of you and how they think you could help them address their challenges and opportunities. This most likely means the ability to provide them with management consulting in strategic and operational areas.

Developing a basket of services which provide value will allow you to value bill. This begins with understanding clients needs and translates into increased profitability for you relative to the hours expended. You now have a choice on what you charge because the client is receiving greater value from the services you provide.

You might end up servicing fewer clients and receiving greater revenue. Providing added value services to clients you truly want to work with ends up being a win/win situation. You can develop some ideas relative to the types of services by reviewing the list of services I offer both to clients and as resources to CPAs.

Employing a value proposition strategy to your practice is an effective way to re-engineer what you are doing by giving clients the services they need and want. Providing added value to clients puts you in the driver’s seat and lets you value bill in contrast to just being paid for the hours you charged to an engagement. It also creates a better overall client experience since it enhances the flow of communication and avoids difficulties and problems which can occur.

You can now start charging the maximum amount that a client is willing to pay which results in greater revenue and a more productive work environment. You will have happier clients since they now perceive they are receiving the value they wanted and are willing to pay for it. Your practice should grow because happy clients talk and this should translate into increased work. This is truly a way of working smarter and not harder.