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Lunch with Michelle Pfeiffer (2 of 2)

Another question I asked Michelle during our lunch was …

What can accountants do to improve their service to you?

Michelle:  First, find the value add and deliver it.  The second one would be the way you communicate to ensure that your client feels or sees or hears that you’ve got a vested interest in them, so that they feel comfortable and they know that you’re doing the best thing for them.

James:  How does one prove that?

Michelle:  It depends what you’re talking about, but it might be a phone call to say, ‘Hey, haven’t heard from you in a while.  Is there anything I can do for you?’  Or it might be, ‘Oh, you know, I was thinking about you.  Are you doing this in your business?  Can we come out and catch up for a coffee?’  There’s different ways of doing it that might be a phone call and nine out of ten times it might be, ‘Well, nah, we’re all good.  Thanks.’  But, you know, you’ve left a good impression.  It’s all about building relationships.

James:  Do you have a third pearl of wisdom?

Michelle:  I think the biggest is the value add, pro-activeness and communication.  They’re the three most important things an accountant can do to improve their service, not only to me, but the majority of clients I’m sure!

Like most CFOs I have interviewed over the last few months, they don’t want the sun, moon & stars delivered on a silver platter from their accountants and advisers. All clients like Michelle want is a relationship that is real and that helps their business in a tangible way. Is that too much expect? I think not 🙂

All my best,

James E

Lunch with Michelle Pfeiffer (1 of 2)

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,

James E