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What’s Top of Mind for Accountants? It’s all About R&R

Here’s the thing about R&R: It doesn’t stand for Rest & Relaxation.

How about “Retention and Recruitment?”

I’m blogging “live” from the AICPA’s Practitioner Symposium/TECH+/Association for Accounting Marketing Conference in Las Vegas where all of the talk is about the “cloud.” Granted, the cloud IS important and one-third of this conference does focus on accounting technology. So far, my fellow bloggers have concentrated on talking about the cloud and its benefits – which, in my opinion, should be really obvious to CPAs and accountants by now. But, as we know, there will always be a group of any industry’s professionals who still need to learn what it’s all about.

I’ve had countless CPAs stop me in the halls to ask what I think the hot topic is; they expect me to say the cloud, but I say it’s R&R.

This profession doesn’t change a lot – 10 years ago, the same accountants were talking about the same thing: How do we increase our firm’s retention rate and how to we become more successful at converting prospects into clients?

I think it all boils down to several areas:

  1. You must make a concerted effort to form valuable relationships through networking, and if you do that, you will organically increase your referral sources. And, networking isn’t only for the partners or heads of any size firm. EVERYONE in the firm must network for optimal results.
  2. You have to maintain a service mentality. Of course, you must produce quality work to keep your clients – that’s a no-brainer. However, you also have to remember that you are in a service business, and while it’s not the same as checking out a customer at Wal-Mart, you still have customers (clients) who rely on you for advice and guidance. So many CPAs and accountants still only contact their clients a few times a year when it’s around a deadline. That needs to stop, now. Your clients want to hear from you much more often, even if it’s just a check-in to see how their businesses are doing.
  3. You must stay current on technology. Ok, so we’re back to talking about the cloud. I suppose I couldn’t get away from talking about it, right? Short and simple, as a CPA, if you’re not letting the cloud manage your technology, you’re going to trip over your own two feet. Again, I think this is SO obvious, but why wouldn’t you use technology in the cloud? You might bring up two words, security and availability – however, these are no longer a concern. It’s time you figure out how to move your technology to the cloud – and there are more than plenty of options out there. The bottom line is that if you spent less time managing your technology, you might have more time to spend on R&R, besides the fact that smarter uses of technology makes you a more efficient accountant. In turn, you increase your R&R.

I look forward to attending this conference every year (this is the first year the Association for Accounting Marketing joined the AICPA’s conference) and I’ll probably be back next year to learn more about the profession, network with friends and colleagues I’ve now known for some 15 years, and make new friends. I would be remiss to say that this conference isn’t about R&R for me – of course it is – because you should be thinking about R&R 24/7.

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