The other week I had lunch with a delightful & engaging CFO based in Canberra. So as to protect the innocent I won’t use her real name, so lets call her Michelle as in Michelle Pfeiffer (one of her favourite actors). Here is Michelle’s response to one question I asked.
Tell me about a time when you received the best service from an accounting firm. What made it the best? How did it make you feel?
Michelle: It was in my last CFO role. I didn’t like the firm but I liked the tax advisor.
James: You didn’t like the firm?
Michelle: I didn’t like the firm, but I liked this particular individual. What made him stand out to me was that he was extremely good at what he did. He’d taken on some of the big firms over some particular tax matters and he’d actually won. So he was very good at what he did. But what made him so spectacular for us was the level of dedication to our business. It was as if we were his only client, even though we knew we weren’t. He communicated in a way that we understood. As soon as we had a need he was there to meet it. The level of service was simply outstanding.
James: So you felt supported as the CFO?
Michelle: I felt both supported and important. We paid him a fortune for his services, but it was so worth it. We definitely got our value add!
James: It’s not that hard is it? I mean just to show someone a little bit of care. It’s not always you phoning them up, but them phoning you and saying, ‘Look, it may be a crazy idea, but what about this?’ It may be a dumb idea, but it’s more about the act than the actual outcome, isn’t it, because they obviously have been thinking about you?
Michelle: That’s right. It’s like he’s in an accounting firm that provides a service, but he always came across as if he was part of our business and showed that he cared. I also saw the same thing for the other clients that he serviced as well. There’s a big distinction about how you make your client feel if you come in and show time and care which is like saying , ‘I’m part of this business,’ as opposed to, ‘I’m a service provider and I know it all!’
Tune in next week to read part 2 of my lunch with Michelle.
All my best,