A word from the streets

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you will know that over the last few months I’ve been working on a book titled “What do Accounting Clients Really Want?” The book is scheduled to be published by Thomson Reuters in May/June this year. Its is a series of interviews of 25 people who buy accounting services.

When I’ve mentioned the book to friends, clients, business associates and people I bump into, almost without exception, they have asked me the obvious question, “Why?”

Since the why question has been asked of me so many times I have developed an almost scripted response that is built around one  statement, “Most advisers be they accountants, lawyers, management consultants or whoever, fall into the trap (more often that not) of assuming what their client or prospective client really wants”

I then go on to unpack with my audience at the time (usually consisting of 1 or 2 people who I have cornered somewhere!) why the above statement tends to be fact than fiction. Lets face it, the adviser in question may well be a partner in a big accounting or law firm, a director in a management consultancy or a principal within a marketing agency. They are, for all intents and purposes, a subject matter expert; they have deep technical knowledge, years of industry experience, well developed networks within their discipline, proven methodologies and processes and the list goes on.

It then becomes a little more understandable to my audience that advisers may, by default rather than be design, take on the mantle of “I know best” viz their client.

Set against the above  explanation, my audience start to nod their heads slowly in understanding. My business audience is usually one of two groups: a member of the adviser community or a client of that community.

If a thought bubble were to appear above the adviser(s)  heads it would read something like, “Oh … that’s what he means. Hmmm … have I fallen into that trap?”

On the other side of the coin, the client thought bubble reads, “Yep I know how that feels. Why on earth do they ask me questions and not listen to what I have to say?”

The above of course is a little exaggerated to make the point. If you’re an adviser, irrespective of the discipline, what does your thought bubble say? I’d love to know. Leave a comment and please tell me and others.

See you next time,

James E