What they’re not saying affects your revenue.
Now more than ever, clients are expecting clear communication from financial professionals. When a firm is lacking in its communication skills, that firm is missing out on revenue. The better a firm understands the value of good communication, the more likely it will implement and improve communication practices and policies.
Your firm has become a vital strategic business partner for your clients with increased visibility over the past year. Your ability to take advantage of this enhanced visibility depends on effective communication.
The accountant’s role has become increasingly complex and will only get more complicated in the foreseeable future. Gone are the days of accountants providing spreadsheets and financial statements. Accountants now occupy a strategic role for any business that wants to succeed. A financial professional with solid communication skills will impact their clients significantly now more than ever.
An accountant’s breadth of financial knowledge is valuable only if that accountant can disseminate that information with solid communication skills.
Financial professionals must be competent communicators to succeed at one of their main tasks: financial reporting.
With so much at stake today, businesses must align themselves with skilled accountants that can effectively communicate. Without proper financial communication, business owners are guessing when it comes to business decisions.
If you don’t take the time to help your clients understand their financials, you could leave them with wrongful, unfounded assumptions that will lead to bad choices.
You work with financials day in and day out, using language that means something to you and your colleagues but nothing to your client. You will need to train yourself and your staff to avoid using complex phrases and jargon when speaking to customers. The more clarity you provide, the better your clients will trust you.
Lack of clarity is troubling because you leave your client confused, and in time become frustrated and leave your firm. You need to make sure your firm focuses on providing a positive experience every time you communicate with your clients. In other words, make sure your clients do not have unanswered questions.
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4 Signs your client is confused by your reports.
The client does not use the report in decision-making.
We assume most of our clients know what we are talking about when they receive a financial statement. If your spreadsheet is complicated or cluttered, clients won’t know what to glean from the reports. Instead of using the report your clients file it for tax season, or perhaps they hope you will call to clarify numbers are significant. Either way, the time they give your spreadsheet is minimal when making their business decisions.
So, how do you fix it?
Go through your spreadsheet with a fine-toothed comb. Look at your multi-tabbed formula-rich spreadsheet from your clients perspective. What can you do to make this communication experience more understandable and enjoyable?
When your client see your spreadsheet, they should see it as a way to make better decisions. If they do not, something is wrong.
The client does not see the value of your reports.
If your clients are confused about the value provided in the reports, it is your job to set their minds at ease. It could be that they feel the spreadsheet does not provide them with the information that they need, or the reports are hard to navigate. Whatever it is, you need to ensure that the information they are looking for is easy to find and understandable.
Help your clients see that you are turning their data into information to increase their knowledge to make wise business decisions.
The client keeps asking the same questions.
If you constantly get the same question from your clients, the answer needs to be more precise. Your client should not have to call you for simple questions. It would be best to simplify your reports. Simple reports are easy to read and understand the data presented. The more simple and digestible your reports are the more satisfied your clients will be.
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The client is frustrated.
When your client is unhappy, you will hear about it. If you are getting lots of complaints or questions, there is something wrong with your reporting.
To avoid frustrated clients you need to get personal and find out why they are unhappy. Chances are, they are not your only client that is frustrated.
So what is it? Are your reports not giving enough information? Too much information? Confusing data? Or is it something more? You may be confusing your clients in ways you did not realize.
Communication, when it comes down to it, is about clarity.
Clients are not willing to jump through hoops to understand your financial reports. But if you structure your reports in such a way as to guide them through it, answering their questions along the way, their ability to make the right decisions for their business will increase.
When you build a report, make sure to deliver the information that will have the most impact. Boil down the financial statement into consumable visual metrics that will highlight the vital data of the statements.
Giving clients data-heavy spreadsheets leaves them confused regarding what the report truly means. Accountants have recently become aware of the need to provide consumable metrics and analytics to enhance the value of their financial reports.
Reach Reporting helps accountants turn complicated spreadsheets into financial stories that increase financial awareness and improves positive business decisions.