We recently added a new section to the Revenue Enhancers department of Practical Accountant. It is called "Outside the Box," and its purpose is to encourage practitioners to think in different and creative ways.

Although we normally don't like to write how the Big Four operates, I came across a very interesting of how one of them obtained a client that would be perfect for that new section,

A Big Four's financial services division was competing to become the auditor for a major investment bank. The head of the division knew he would need to get a face-to-face-meeting with the president of the bank's Australian unit. Although the selection decision was imminent, repeated calls to the president's secretary proved fruitless as his secretary repeatedly explained there simply were no openings.

During one of the calls, the CPA asked, "What are his upcoming travel plans?" The secretary responded that in two days he would be flying from Sydney to Melbourne.

What do you think that Big Four CPA did? He got the president's seat assignment from the secretary and reserved the first-class seat next to it. The following day he flew 22 hours from New York to Sydney, boarded the 90-minute flight to Melbourne, sat down, introduced himself to the banker, and got off that flight with the engagement.

That CPA also wrote a book that opens with "I was blessed. I was told I had three months to live." That CPA was Eugene O'Kelly, the former CEO of KPMG, who died on September 10, 2005, at the age of 53.

Chasing Daylight: How My Forthcoming Death Transformed My Life, published by McGraw-Hill, details how O'Kelly dealt with the just over three months he lived after visiting the doctor and finding out that he had inoperable brain cancer.

The professional thought processes that he developed over his 30 years as a CPA stood him well. "I always preached commitment to goals; setting them, pursuing them, completing them. "Now that we [he and wife Corinne] completed our fact-finding with the doctors, I resolved to do three things:

1. Leave my job

2. Choose a medical protocol that allowed me to ...

3. Make the time remaining the best of my life, and as good as it could possibly be for those most affected by my situation,'' he writes.

He was remarkably successful with all three, just as he was in getting that investment bank as an audit client.

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