My accountant, Adam, is my hero. As a small business owner focused on his craft, I have neither the time nor skills to maintain the financial aspects of my company. My hero makes sure everything is taken care of for me. From taxes to cash-flow planning to monthly statements to year-end tax planning to payroll to line of credit to managing the assets in my Solo 401k -- it’s all taken care of. He also does the personal returns for Colleen and I and takes care of the payroll for my nanny, Jordan. Perhaps most impressively, he fights aggressive states trying to take more than their fair share of my income. He lets me do what I do best and “takes care of the rest.”
Clearly, I’d be in deep trouble without my accountant. Honestly, I cannot imagine how I could be successful in my business without him.
But, this isn’t about me; it’s about you. Can your clients live without you? I’d suggest you look closely at what you can do to make yourself an indispensable resource to more clients. To do this, let’s look at what Adam did over the course of our three-year relationship to earn his position as my hero.
When we first began the relationship, he spent considerable time getting to know me, my business, and my family. Despite being a four-hour drive away, he successfully closed the geography gap with effective communication that was targeted at understanding me and getting to know me. All told, I’d estimate he spent 3-4 hours doing this – without charging me.
Next, he used what he learned to make some meaningful recommendations that would help me and my business. (Despite this being a relatively new relationship, he’d built considerable trust and rapport with me already – so I was game for whatever he had to say.) He did not “pick up where my last accountant left off” rather he started fresh and recommended changes that could make a real difference to me. We started doing a quarterly tax analysis, and changed my payroll frequency to better manage cash. He introduced me to a fabulous payroll advisor named Sarah and she was the go to contact for my payroll issues.
In November of the first year, he called me again with some news. The news was that he was adding Randy to my team and Randy and he would be working on my account together. Randy became my point person for many of my day to day questions and Adam would remain as the primary tax advisor. They also discussed the estimated tax liabilities that I would have in the near future to the IRS and other key states in which I do business. Sensing the fact that I had stopped breathing – they discussed several options as to how I could deal with them.
A few months later he checked in with me to see how my billings and collections were coming along, as they had the possibility of greatly affecting my tax bill. I really appreciate that touch – it gave me great comfort that he was concerned, knew my pain points and engaged with me on them.
In the following Spring, we discussed several scenarios for setting up a 401k and 529 plan and how they would affect my tax bill and cash flow. He introduced me to a great 401k Advisor, Janice, and we set up a Solo(k) plan. I was finally able to save for retirement again which felt great because I hadn’t done so in the first two years of my business.
Looking back, at some point during this relationship he began billing me for his consulting and advisory services, but I honestly don’t remember when. He had begun to deliver so much value I trusted that every interaction was going to help me considerably it didn’t matter what it cost. He’s my go-to guy on so many fronts for my business and it all started with me hiring him to do my taxes.
Getting back to you – what are you doing to be an indispensable resource to your clients? How are you taking them from a tax return only client to a full-service account using several services from your firm and advisory team? As you’ve seen here, Adam is my hero and I can’t live without him. Can your clients live without you?