When people talk to each other they never say what they mean, they just say something else. Like being a good negotiator, effective communication is a learned skill. The more practice you put into it, the more natural and instinctive it becomes to communicate effectively.
Professional arrogance (or a personal sense of inadequacy) is often both the cause and effect of poor communications between the accountant and bookkeeper. Strange. After all, each are talking the language of business.
A primary skill, to be an effective communicator, is not to talk but to listen. In order to fully understand and connect with the other person, you must listen in an engaged way.
A great way to reflect back is to paraphrase: “What I’m hearing is…” or “Sounds like you are saying…”. Ask questions to clarify certain points: “What do you mean when you say…” or “Is this what you mean?”
By using the right questions in a particular situation, you can improve a whole range of communications skills: for example, you can gather better information and learn more; you can build stronger relationships, manage people more effectively and help others to learn too.
Poor communications = Poor trusted advisor
Since compliance work has become a commodity, firms must discover ways to strengthen client relationships and keep their clients from leaving as they grow into the role of trusted advisor.
What do business owners look for from an accounting firm? It’s worth noting that we could say (bookkeeping firm of the future; by not delving into tax advice).
A typical SME might need services including:
• Developing revenue, expense and capital expenditure plans, assisting in preparing break-even analysis and cash flow requirements
• Preparing end-of-year financial statements and determining monthly statement/report needs
• Reviewing present accounting system and assisting in establishing a cloud system, and a means to monitor both
• Meeting on a regular interval to evaluate and discuss business operations with a focus on the metrics that matter. Developing a business advisory role that is consistent with the skills, knowledge and qualifications of the professional. Assisting in the development of a practical business plan
• Providing tax planning and compliance, addressed on a regular basis as required, for the business, payroll. Determine best strategies to minimise personal income tax impact relative to the company
• Become the key business advisor (with great communications skills).