A client named Elliot

The other day I was editing one of the chapters in the book I’m working on with Thomson Reuters titled “What do Accounting Clients Really Want?” I can’t tell you the name of the CFO or his organisation I interviewed (due to current release restrictions) but I can share some valuable insights to come out of the meeting. Lets call this chap Elliot.

Elliot, until about a year ago, worked with an iconic muliti-national corporation in a senior finance role; he is now CFO with an Australian-based business with lets say a $100m+ revenue. One could say the organisations Elliot had worked with were almost opposite ends of the business size spectrum.

Elliot is in his forties and has had more than 20+ years finance experience. He has worked with a wide range of professional advisors – accountants, lawyers, technologists, management consultants and the like. You name it, Elliot has worked with them. Elliot is no plebe; he is an assertive senior executive who has a wealth of expertise in the finance and accounting fields. He is certainly no one’s fool and know what he wants.

Set against this background I was both surprised and delighted to hear him express his delight when working with external advisers who “get it.” Elliot gets a kick out of advisers who do the following often and well:

1. Communicate early and often.

If there is a problem tell me (the client) all about it. The sooner I know about it the more options we both have to solve it. Towards the end of a project you & I have much less options to work with and I will be less happy.

2. Share new ideas freely

No idea is stupid. The more ideas the better. I want my advisers to share with me ideas they have learnt from their other clients in industries which may share common elements with ours. They actually do me (and other clients for that matter) a real disservice if they don’t share their thoughts and ideas to innovate and improve our current processes.

3. Work together to achieve a common goal

I want to know that I have the full support from my advisers. Their fee should be a by-product of the relationship they have me (and the business) to work together to make our organisation better for the owners/investors, customers, management, staff  and suppliers.

This is what Elliot expects and when it is delivered he is one happy CFO!

See you next post,

James E