Friday, May 22, 2009

TX Young CPAs Conference: Client Relations & Practice Development - Kym Anderson and Roxie Samaniego

Kym Anderson is the incoming Chair of the TSCPA, and Roxie Samaniego is the Chair of the TSCPA's Young CPAs and Emerging Professionals Committee.

Oscar Wilde
"I put all my genius into my life; I put all my talent in to my works"

Much influence comes from the "people in between" in an accounting firm. The people that talk to the clients and the people that talk to the partners.

Clients are the same as you are, they want to deal with a firm they are comfortable with.

How do you want your firm to interact with its employees and clients? Employees have the ability to impact this.

Sometimes small firms take communication for granted.

You went to college not to be a CPA, but to learn how to learn.

Focus on:
Firm direction
Working better
Client needs
Client contact
Client development
"Bringing 'em in"

You need the right kind of clients. 80/20 rule. When this happens, your good clients can get neglected. A scarcity mentality can cause you to take clients that you should not accept.

Client Development:
Know your firm and what they are looking for. This is important for both employees and employers. Understand the core values of the firm and what type of clients you want to attract. Seek input from management.

Develop rules that the firm can live with:
Cold calling
Firm comfort zone
Concentration of work and deadlines
Relationships with other firms
Firm liability for client actions
Are you alone out there?

Develop rules that You can live with:
You are unique
You never stop learning
You represent your firm and your profession
Don't do anything you wouldn't tell your mother about
Know your environment
Know your MOJO . . . and share it
Develop an inner circle
Don't be afraid of failure

Pick your Comfort Zone
Sporting events
Clubs and Associations

Roxie shared her experience of leaving a large CPA firm and starting a new practice. In her prior firm, client management and contact was left to the manager level. This abdication made it easy for these clients to move with them.

Everyone in the company is responsible for marketing. Your receptionist is the first line of contact with your clients. This position is important.

What can you do to meet people?
Get involved. Volunteer - not for profit organizations, professional organizations. The TSCPA is a great organization to network with other CPAs. It is a great opportunity to meet mentors in the profession. Sometimes, you need advice from someone that is not local. The TSCPA connects you with other CPAs throughout the state. Non-profit organizations are looking for good people, and every one needs a treasurer. Attend social events - Chamber of Commerce, client gatherings. If you are not outgoing, it can be difficult, but take a friend with you.

Roxie attributes the success of her firm to their community involvement as well as her connections with other CPAs through the TSCPA.

What is the best way to bring in business?
Do great work and your clients will market for you. Listen to your clients, listen to your prospects. Pick up on common interests.

Word of mouth referrals:
Do great work
Tell people about it
Ask for their business

When meeting prospective clients, being interested about their business is important. Find out about their business, and leave yours for the last. Don't just say "I'm a CPA." You can get pigeonholed this way. Explain what you actually do. There are a lot of people who don't understand everything that CPAs do.

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