I recently spent some time in California with a large accounting firm. We got on the topic of the financial statements. I asked them how their business clients embraced the financial statement discussions.
The accounting firm of roughly 100 people and 8,000 clients shared a common frustration with me:
“If we could just get our business clients to understand financial statements, we could have much better conversations with them about their business.”
I translated that remark to be:
“Our clients actually don’t care about our financial statements but we don’t know this so we keep framing our conversations around the financial statements. We don’t realize that all the business owners actually care about the financials is a) how much tax do I owe? and b) how much is your bill to prepare the financial statements?”
I was a little outnumbered and it wasn’t really my place to offend their reality, but what I really wanted to ask was:
“If there are 100 of you and you have 8,000 clients, why not consider talking the language of your clients instead of asking them to become speakers of the accountants’ language?”
Well actually I did kind of say that… and I got a ‘deer in the headlights’ response!
My experience as a business advisor is that business owners can relate better to the activities of the business. Financial statements report the results of the activities.
In summary, a lot of accountants speak the wrong language to their business clients and the business clients are only politely listening to them.
We at The Business Therapist, try to speak in the language of our clients. At least we think we do.
What are your thoughts? How are conversations with your accountant?
Good honest feedback is welcomed and appreciated!
Thanks for listening.
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