Top 10 things SME clients want

From time to time I read material on the web that is very good. I came across a site for a business called Xero. I’ve never heard of them but one of their staff, Hamish Edwards wrote a blog post recently that I enjoyed reading and gives very good advice to accountants working in public practice everywhere. I’ve used the full text for the first 5 and just shown the headings for the 2nd 5. You can visit the full text of the post by visiting http://blog.xero.com/2011/09/top-10-things-smes-want-from-their-accountant/

In order of importance (according to Hamish)

  1. Get my tax done right
    Predictable perhaps, but for most SMEs this is their biggest priority. Your clients don’t understand tax so they rely on accountants to get it right and they prefer not to have issues with a tax authority, let alone be investigated
  2. Be proactive
    SMEs don’t really have huge amounts of time to sit back and think about how to make their business better. They want their accountant to keep an eye on stuff and alert them to things that can help. Hard to do when you have 500+ clients, I know. Luckily there are great software applications like Xero that make it easier.
  3. Wow me
    Everyone loves an unexpected service or result. We have to think of ways to Wow our clients. It can be anything from remembering their child is playing in an upcoming football tournament to being invited to a one-on-one breakfast for a catch up. Remember in the professional services game, the relationship is everything. It takes work though.
  4. Return my calls
    Okay this is customer service 101 and I know you’re busy, but you must communicate with your clients in a timely manner. If you don’t, no matter how good you are, they will get frustrated and start looking elsewhere. Make this a priority every day.
  5. Help me improve my cashflow
    Cash is King and the lifeblood of any business and yet it is generally the scarcest resource they have. Anything you can do to help your client to better understand how cash moves through their business, and ways to improve this, will benefit them. If you haven’t already, take a look at the Cash Summary report in Xero.
  6. Save me tax
  7. Don’t send me a surprise bill
  8. Know my game plan
  9. I wanna be treated well no matter how small
  10. Be nice to my staff

See you next time,

James E