For The Good Of The Order

Sometimes Hard Conversations Are Essential

It's hard to receive less-than-glowing feedback about the state of your business. But if you really want to move the needle and drive continued results, the best thing you can do is bring in an advisor who can identify problem areas and help lay the groundwork for improvement. Those of us in the profession understand this concept because it's the cornerstone of our career. Even so, nobody said it would be easy. Keep reading for some tips that can help make the difficult conversations a little easier.

  • Be Confident

    CPAs tend to be afraid of broaching difficult conversations with clients because they don't have a clear understanding of where they stand - or feel that they could be risking the relationship. As a trusted advisor, you owe it to your clients to look them in the eye and give them your honest opinion – even if your opinion changes later. Conversations – even difficult conversations – are critical when it comes to finding your path to success. But to get there, you have to be confident enough to speak up.
  • Be Genuine

    You're not going to hit a home run every time, and that's OK. What really matters to the client is that you are taking a genuine interest in their success. There have been times when I may have given my opinion to a client about a particular issue then, even before the meeting is over, I turn to them to say, "You know what, the more I've thought about this, I think I was wrong. I think we need to go in another direction." Being able to recognize an error and change directions effortlessly is critical when it comes to building trust. This type of transparency demonstrates the purity of your intentions and shows your clients that you're not there to be right – you're there to be helpful.
  • Be Ready

    You never really know when you'll need to speak up and offer your opinion – even if it's not "popular." You may be in the middle of a meeting, going over and over and over the same thing. At what point do you stop the meeting and confront the real issue? When working with clients, we have to strive to build a relationship that promotes trust and honesty. Without these characteristics, we will never be able to deliver the meaningful results we know are achievable. To be effective we need to be ready to say what needs to be said, when the time comes to say it and we need to know that the client is going to take it in the right spirit. When you are ready to take advantage of your role as an advisor, you can do a better job at driving meaningful results.

Mike Taylor, CPA a principal with Rea & Associates, spoke about these qualities and the importance of stepping away from the business on episode 18 of unsuitable on Rea Radio, a podcast produced by the firm. Not only did he touch on some fantastic points CPAs can use when working with clients, I think these lessons could be valuable when looking at the effectiveness of your firm as a whole.

How does this insight relate to LeanCPA? Because the LeanCPA team consists of advisors who work with firms nationwide to identify ways to improve overall effectiveness and efficiency. We are fluent in the language of difficult conversations. In our experience, we find that once we are able to establish trust with our clients and convey our genuine interest in helping them succeed, by the end of the engagement, everybody is ready to embrace the ideas and initiatives that support the organization's initiatives – while fulfilling critical Lean Six Sigma objectives. And once you accomplish your goals, amazing things start to happen. Want to find out how LeanCPA can help you? Email us to learn more. I also want to encourage you to listen to "This Is An Intervention – The Positive Psychology Of Hard Conversations" for more expert advice from Mike on unsuitable on Rea Radio.

Lean CPA
Contact Us

Contact Us

Security Check
5775 Perimeter Drive, Suite 200, Dublin, Ohio 43017-3224 phone 614.889.8725