Your role as an accountant is changing. Your clients need help with more than financial admin and compliance. They need guidance on growing their business and achieving their financial goals.
This makes the time you spend with them extremely precious. Because this is where you can deliver the most value and become a trusted strategic partner.
In this article, we explain how to make the most of every client meeting and provide you with a simple, powerful tool that will leave your clients feeling delighted by your service.
- Why consistency matters
- How to make discussions more focussed
- How to develop a meeting process (includes a free checklist template)
- Final thoughts
Why consistency matters
Every minute you spend with a client affects how they feel about you and how much value they think you provide.
Let’s say you get a new client. You want to make a good impression, so you spend some time preparing for your first check-in, get some reports ready, run some forecasts, and plan what you’re going to cover.
In the meeting, you dive deep into their finances, encourage them to share what’s on their mind, and give some comprehensive advice on what steps to take next.
Your client leaves feeling they made the right decision hiring you and they’re confident about the direction of their business.
After 3 months, it’s time for you to meet again. Only now, you’re a bit pressed for time because of other work. You manage to get the reports ready but haven’t thought about everything you’ll discuss.
In the meeting, you simply provide an update on their financial position, but don’t feel prepared enough to confidently give advice or help them make strategic decisions.
This time, they leave feeling deflated and unsure about the future.
This is what happens when the experiences you provide are inconsistent. You fall short of your client’s expectations, conversations go around in circles, and their trust in you takes a hit.
You can completely avoid this situation by building a structured agenda that is used for every regular check-in. For you, this minimizes how long it takes to prepare for the meeting, and for them, it keeps the experience positive.
Most importantly, though, a repeatable agenda makes progress towards the client’s growth and financial goals more trackable and proactive.
How to make discussions more focussed
For your repeatable agenda to be effective, it needs to provide a structure that forces the discussion to be extremely focussed. In other words, everything contained within it should be providing value. If an agenda item isn’t constructive, drop it.
Here are some useful actions you can take to keep your meetings focussed:
- Send the agenda before each meeting, so the client knows what to expect and can add extra items that need special discussion.
- Make sure there is an overall objective for every meeting.
- Have clear motivation for every individual talking point.
- Prioritize preparation. If you don’t have time to prepare, request to reschedule.
- Only prepare reports and forecasts that are relevant to talking points.
How to develop a meeting process—free checklist template
Having a well-structured and intentional meeting agenda will help you deliver a consistent experience and keep discussions on topic.
But the agenda itself is merely the foundation. Yes, the main items should be repeated in pretty much every meeting. But you need to leave room for questions, concerns, or any talking points that need to be covered.
We created an accountant client-meeting checklist to help you achieve this flexibility. As well as giving you a great starting point on which items should be in your repeatable agenda, it also provides some actions to take before and after every meeting.
Every minute you’re able to spend with a client is an opportunity to enhance the relationship and increase the value you’re delivering. To make the most of your (and your clients’) time, aim for consistency and focus for every check-in.
Pretty soon, you’ll change the way your clients think and feel about you, becoming a trusted strategic partner who is reliable, always prepared, and a vital instrument in their success.