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#AICPAtaxst
From Technician to
Advisor
Be THE Advisor to Your Clients
#AICPAtaxst
Vice President – Butler and Company
CPAs, PC
In practice since 2003 with a focus on
professional services, medical &
veterinary practices and high income
and net-worth individuals
Honored in 2011 as one of NM’s “40
under Forty”
PCPS Executive Committee – 2012 –
2014
2010 AICPA Leadership Academy
graduate
Was a Seattle Seahawks fan WAY
before they won (and lost) the Super
Bowl!
Hi – My Name is Jason
#AICPAtaxst
What’s the plan, Stan?
Take a critical eye to a number of elements in our
practice
Create a replicable process with new and existing
clients
Engage a new generation of CPAs within your
practice and attract quality employees
Elevate your status with your clients and within the
broader community
#AICPAtaxst
Wait, I’m already an advisor, right?
First, you need to take a look at:
• Yourself
• Your firm
• Your clients
You need to understand where you are today before
deciding where you’re going to be tomorrow
If you have partners, you need to do this exercise
together!
#AICPAtaxst
Personal Self Assessment
Who do you like to work with?
What are your personal strengths?
When are you at your best?
Where is your time best spent?
Why are you in this profession?
How do you like to work?
#AICPAtaxst
Steps to Take With Yourself
Do a SWOT analysis on yourself
Have those closest to you give you an assessment
Write down the top 5 things you love doing and the
top 5 things you can’t stand
#AICPAtaxst
Firm Assessment
Who is on your team?
What is the firm’s capacity?
When does the firm plan for the future?
Where are the areas for improvement?
Why should your clients do business with you?
How do you differ from your competitors?
What is your firm’s identity?
Check out the Firm Needs
Assessment section in the Human
Capital Center on the PCPS website!
#AICPAtaxst
Firm Assessment
What are your business beliefs?
Are these business beliefs consistent
with your firm?
What are your values?
What do you stand for?
• Passion
• Commitment
• Trust
• Respect
• Value
#AICPAtaxst
Steps to Take With Your Firm
Interview your staff (or if you are solo, have someone interview
you!) about what duties they have and what skills they may
have you aren’t using
Find a CPA you can confide in to keep you accountable
Create your Unique Value Proposition
#AICPAtaxst
Client Assessment
Who are your A/B/C/D clients?
What is the makeup of your client base?
When do clients refer others to your firm?
Where are your clients in their business life cycle?
Why do your clients work with you?
How profitable is each client
for your firm?
#AICPAtaxst
Client Assessment
#AICPAtaxst
Steps to Take With Your Clients
Let a bad client go – not in your or their best interest to keep
working together!
Develop a project for an underserved client
Implement a client survey to find out more about why they
work with you (and things you can change)
Create a tracking log of referral sources
#AICPAtaxst
Engaging Your Clients
Differently
#AICPAtaxst
What an advisor is…
One of the first people your clients go to when they
have issues – whether they are accounting/tax
related or not
Collaborative with other advisors – i.e. attorneys,
investment advisors, consultants
The “hub” for your client
• When they have a need, they go to you for a solution…whether
or not you are the one ultimately providing the solution
Your best interest is the client’s best interest
You want more than just making sure the tax return
or financial statement is “right”
#AICPAtaxst
How do you become an advisor?
Think differently about how you approach client
service
• Move beyond the billable hour
• Go outside your normal service “comfort zone”
Ask more questions – you’ll get way more answers
• No one will come to you for other advice if you only ask them
about their taxes
Build broader client relationships
• Get to know families, future plans, life circumstances, historical
background, etc…
• Remember it! If you can’t do it off the top of your head, consider
a CRM to document this type of information
#AICPAtaxst
How do you become an advisor?
Become a resource for other advisors
• Offer to help referral sources and other advisors when they need
it
• They will send business your way knowing you are the type of
advisor that intentionally helps others
Look beyond your current service offerings
• Explore new software vendors
• Find your niche
• Talk to other CPAs and understand their practices
- Firm Networking Groups (PCPS has these!)
• See what is going on in your market (and what ISN’T going on)
• Find an area you are passionate about and be the best at it!
#AICPAtaxst
Developing Your Firm
Identity
#AICPAtaxst
Create a Process
When you have a process, clients are likely to see
you as more than just a “tax guy” or “accountant”
This process is how you work, how you serve
clients and how you are different than other CPAs
Have a take-away for clients
First meetings – informational gathering
Have reasons to see clients more than once a year
#AICPAtaxst
#AICPAtaxst
Questions Questions Questions
This is the part where you ask a question and learn
to keep your mouth shut and listen
• Clients want to know you care about more than just their taxes
or financial statements.
Ask a question. Listen to the response. Easy, right?
• It’s not about selling services (which you will)
• It’s not about looking for problems that your services can solve
(which will happen)
• It’s about uncovering important issues that need to be
addressed and understanding the client’s needs
#AICPAtaxst
Questions Questions Questions
What types of questions can you ask?
• What are your long term goals in life?
• What is your estate/succession plan in case something
unfortunate happens?
• What would be a positive outcome with us working together?
• Who are the other advisors you work with?
• What can I do to help make our working relationship better?
• What is important to you in your life?
• What are you passionate about?
• What keeps you up at night?
• What is the best way for us to communicate?
#AICPAtaxst
Resources at Your Fingertips!
Trusted Business Advisor Workshops
• Available for firm owners and staff
AICPA Private Companies Practice Section (PCPS)
• Customizable practice management tools and templates
• Technical updates
• Firm advocacy
• Networking opportunities
• Benchmarking surveys
This conference!
• Educational sessions
• Networking opportunities
#AICPAtaxst
Why Do This?
Improved client relationships
Client and other advisors referrals
Improved brand awareness
Enhanced firm atmosphere
Strong professional network
Career advancement
Personal satisfaction
#AICPAtaxst
Contact Info
Jason Deshayes, CPA, CGMA
Butler and Company CPAs, PC
505-821-0893
jason@butlercpa.com
@taxguyjase

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From Technician To Advisor

  • 1. #AICPAtaxst From Technician to Advisor Be THE Advisor to Your Clients
  • 2. #AICPAtaxst Vice President – Butler and Company CPAs, PC In practice since 2003 with a focus on professional services, medical & veterinary practices and high income and net-worth individuals Honored in 2011 as one of NM’s “40 under Forty” PCPS Executive Committee – 2012 – 2014 2010 AICPA Leadership Academy graduate Was a Seattle Seahawks fan WAY before they won (and lost) the Super Bowl! Hi – My Name is Jason
  • 3. #AICPAtaxst What’s the plan, Stan? Take a critical eye to a number of elements in our practice Create a replicable process with new and existing clients Engage a new generation of CPAs within your practice and attract quality employees Elevate your status with your clients and within the broader community
  • 4. #AICPAtaxst Wait, I’m already an advisor, right? First, you need to take a look at: • Yourself • Your firm • Your clients You need to understand where you are today before deciding where you’re going to be tomorrow If you have partners, you need to do this exercise together!
  • 5. #AICPAtaxst Personal Self Assessment Who do you like to work with? What are your personal strengths? When are you at your best? Where is your time best spent? Why are you in this profession? How do you like to work?
  • 6. #AICPAtaxst Steps to Take With Yourself Do a SWOT analysis on yourself Have those closest to you give you an assessment Write down the top 5 things you love doing and the top 5 things you can’t stand
  • 7. #AICPAtaxst Firm Assessment Who is on your team? What is the firm’s capacity? When does the firm plan for the future? Where are the areas for improvement? Why should your clients do business with you? How do you differ from your competitors? What is your firm’s identity? Check out the Firm Needs Assessment section in the Human Capital Center on the PCPS website!
  • 8. #AICPAtaxst Firm Assessment What are your business beliefs? Are these business beliefs consistent with your firm? What are your values? What do you stand for? • Passion • Commitment • Trust • Respect • Value
  • 9. #AICPAtaxst Steps to Take With Your Firm Interview your staff (or if you are solo, have someone interview you!) about what duties they have and what skills they may have you aren’t using Find a CPA you can confide in to keep you accountable Create your Unique Value Proposition
  • 10. #AICPAtaxst Client Assessment Who are your A/B/C/D clients? What is the makeup of your client base? When do clients refer others to your firm? Where are your clients in their business life cycle? Why do your clients work with you? How profitable is each client for your firm?
  • 12. #AICPAtaxst Steps to Take With Your Clients Let a bad client go – not in your or their best interest to keep working together! Develop a project for an underserved client Implement a client survey to find out more about why they work with you (and things you can change) Create a tracking log of referral sources
  • 14. #AICPAtaxst What an advisor is… One of the first people your clients go to when they have issues – whether they are accounting/tax related or not Collaborative with other advisors – i.e. attorneys, investment advisors, consultants The “hub” for your client • When they have a need, they go to you for a solution…whether or not you are the one ultimately providing the solution Your best interest is the client’s best interest You want more than just making sure the tax return or financial statement is “right”
  • 15. #AICPAtaxst How do you become an advisor? Think differently about how you approach client service • Move beyond the billable hour • Go outside your normal service “comfort zone” Ask more questions – you’ll get way more answers • No one will come to you for other advice if you only ask them about their taxes Build broader client relationships • Get to know families, future plans, life circumstances, historical background, etc… • Remember it! If you can’t do it off the top of your head, consider a CRM to document this type of information
  • 16. #AICPAtaxst How do you become an advisor? Become a resource for other advisors • Offer to help referral sources and other advisors when they need it • They will send business your way knowing you are the type of advisor that intentionally helps others Look beyond your current service offerings • Explore new software vendors • Find your niche • Talk to other CPAs and understand their practices - Firm Networking Groups (PCPS has these!) • See what is going on in your market (and what ISN’T going on) • Find an area you are passionate about and be the best at it!
  • 18. #AICPAtaxst Create a Process When you have a process, clients are likely to see you as more than just a “tax guy” or “accountant” This process is how you work, how you serve clients and how you are different than other CPAs Have a take-away for clients First meetings – informational gathering Have reasons to see clients more than once a year
  • 20. #AICPAtaxst Questions Questions Questions This is the part where you ask a question and learn to keep your mouth shut and listen • Clients want to know you care about more than just their taxes or financial statements. Ask a question. Listen to the response. Easy, right? • It’s not about selling services (which you will) • It’s not about looking for problems that your services can solve (which will happen) • It’s about uncovering important issues that need to be addressed and understanding the client’s needs
  • 21. #AICPAtaxst Questions Questions Questions What types of questions can you ask? • What are your long term goals in life? • What is your estate/succession plan in case something unfortunate happens? • What would be a positive outcome with us working together? • Who are the other advisors you work with? • What can I do to help make our working relationship better? • What is important to you in your life? • What are you passionate about? • What keeps you up at night? • What is the best way for us to communicate?
  • 22. #AICPAtaxst Resources at Your Fingertips! Trusted Business Advisor Workshops • Available for firm owners and staff AICPA Private Companies Practice Section (PCPS) • Customizable practice management tools and templates • Technical updates • Firm advocacy • Networking opportunities • Benchmarking surveys This conference! • Educational sessions • Networking opportunities
  • 23. #AICPAtaxst Why Do This? Improved client relationships Client and other advisors referrals Improved brand awareness Enhanced firm atmosphere Strong professional network Career advancement Personal satisfaction
  • 24. #AICPAtaxst Contact Info Jason Deshayes, CPA, CGMA Butler and Company CPAs, PC 505-821-0893 jason@butlercpa.com @taxguyjase