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The Eleven-Star Client Experience – Accounting Edition

As accountants and auditors, we take certain things for granted. We generally plan interim fieldwork for calendar year-end audit clients in the fall, followed by year-end fieldwork in the winter. We roll-forward the prior year document request lists (lovingly referred to as PBC request lists because our client prepares the documents). We make selections, review documentation, and ask questions. LOTS of questions. It's no wonder why our clients might welcome us with slight trepidation for yet another audit and feel a bit worn out around the time we are finally ready to issue their audit report.

AuditDashboard takes a refreshing look at how accountants and auditors can go beyond delivering standard client service. Dave Mundy, Founder & President, encourages us to think big, to set our sights on providing an Eleven-Star Client Experience, borrowing a concept from the hospitality industry's well-known Airbnb. Dave recently shared his point of view with the Encoursa audience. You can listen in here: Beyond Client Service, Creating a Customer-First Client Experience. Some highlights are below.

The first step in exceeding expectations is to conscientiously evaluate your current offering, service levels, and touchpoints. Look in the mirror and contemplate what it is you have to offer. Reflection is critical to identify precisely why it is that someone should hire you.

You can engineer the process by analyzing your strengths and your areas of weakness. Another way to locate areas of improvement is to ask yourself, "If I were the client, why would I leave my firm and choose another firm."

"If I were the client, why would I leave my firm and choose another firm."

Pondering your current client service levels provides an excellent platform for upgrading your client's experience. This brings us to what an Eleven-Star Client Experience might look like.

Here are a few ideas from Dave:

  • Volunteer with your clients to support a cause THEY care about!
  • Co-deliver a presentation along with your client, perhaps to the Board of Directors or the Leadership team
  • Take time to schedule a whiteboard session to work through questions together
  • Set up a planning meeting well in advance of the audit to establish clear expectations upfront
  • Invest in being a trusted advisor by knowing your clients' businesses intimately

How powerful would it be if your clients said of you, "They know our business as well as we do." Go beyond the standard requests and deliverables by reflecting on the principles and behaviour required to deliver beyond expectations.

Even minor improvements can help you make a massive difference. If you'd like to hear Dave's full version of the 11-Star Client Experience, take a listen at the 53-minute mark. Remember, you probably have more to offer than you realize.

This article was written by Liz Briggson and first appeared on The Encoursa Blog.

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