Not All Accountants Were Created Equal
In 2004, I was standing at the front door of my church and saw someone that I had seen many times in the past, but never really had a conversation. I introduced myself and she introduced herself as Tina. There was the usual small talk and then came the BIG question, “What do you do?” All I can remember as of this day is that I said the word “ACCOUNTANT” and by the reaction I got, I thought I must have said something obscene. Turns out that Tina was in a battle with Revenue Canada and she does not like anything to do with numbers and/or taxes. I told her that I would come over and take a look at her situation.
Over the next 2 years, I worked on this new client. I had many many down times and wondered why I agreed to take this on. I didn’t know whether I was coming or going and everyday seemed like I was going further behind. I can still remember the many times I wanted to quit. What in the world possessed me to take this on? Who was I kidding that I could solve this maze? Sound familiar to anyone?
My new client was without a doubt one of the greatest experiences of my working life. I learned so many valuable lessons that they are still helping me today. Some of them are:
- Working together with government representatives will get you further than you think. Just remember that they too are people and have a job to do that most of us would have nothing to do with it. Make sure you find out what they want and then do everything you can to provide it. ALWAYS stay in contact.
- When reconciling bank statements, make sure you balance to the penny based on the statements you have. This one piece of advice from my mentor at the time is what eventually allowed me to resolve this client’s case. I know, I know, this should be a no brainer, but you would be surprised how many times this is overlooked.
- Keep your client informed of your progress. This was tough for me as Tina wanted nothing to do with the situation and she also didn’t want to take my calls. How’s that for tough case – you’re trying to help and the client doesn’t want to take your calls! Regardless, do the right thing – KEEP CALLING!
- Before you take on any client, make absolutely sure you know the client is telling you the truth. Your task is to help them and the only way you can do this is if your client is on your side. Before they will do that, they must know you are with them. Look them square in the eyes when you are asking questions. And be kind in your approach!
- I know a lot of you will think I’m crazy with this next statement – your clients problems should be viewed by you as them being your own. If you don’t own them, you will not be able to solve them – PERIOD! I cannot stress this enough.
To me, the above items are the ones that make the greatest difference. We ACCOUNTANTS should view ourselves as the clients’ PARTNER. If we don’t, we should be doing something else. If we do, you will never regret it. This one client was the foundation of my current business and I have never looked back. How about you, are you your clients’ PARTNER or NOT?
On your “NUMBERS” team,
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