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The Art of Managing Client Expectations in CPA & Accounting Industry

As the accounting and finance industry continues to evolve, CPAs and accounting firms are facing increasing challenges in meeting the ever-changing expectations of their clients. In order to remain competitive and maintain long-lasting client relationships, it is imperative for these firms to master the art of managing client expectations.

According to a recent survey by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), the top issue facing CPA firms today is the “Capability to adapt to changing client needs”. The survey highlights that these expectations span across a wide range of areas, including technology, service delivery, and regulatory changes.

In order to effectively manage client expectations, CPAs and accounting firms must first understand what their clients need and expect from them. This requires an open and honest dialogue with clients, as well as a willingness to listen and respond to their needs. Let’s first look at how client expectations change over the passage of time.

Client Expectations and Change

There are several different types of changes in client needs that can impact CPAs and accounting firms, including:

Business growth and expansion: As clients grow and expand their businesses, their accounting and financial needs may change. They may require more complex financial reporting, tax planning, and other financial services.

Changes in regulations: Changes in tax laws, accounting standards, and other regulations can impact a client’s accounting and financial needs. CPAs and accounting firms need to stay informed of these changes and be able to provide the necessary support to their clients.

Industry shifts: Changes in the business landscape and industry trends can impact a client’s accounting and financial needs. For example, the rise of e-commerce may result in changes in the way businesses manage their financial transactions. When this happens, client expectations change as well.

Technological advancements: The increasing use of technology in accounting and financial reporting can result in changes in client needs. CPAs and accounting firms need to stay informed of the latest technology trends and be able to provide the necessary support to their clients.

Mergers and acquisitions: Clients who go through mergers and acquisitions may require a range of accounting and financial services, including integration of financial systems, due diligence, and post-merger financial reporting.

Personal circumstances: Clients may experience changes in their personal circumstances, such as retirement or a change in their financial situation, that impact their accounting and financial needs. In this scenario, client expectations are bound to change.

Scope creep: Scope creep refers to the gradual expansion or alteration of a project’s objectives or goals, often beyond the original scope or intent of the project. In the context of accounting and financial services, scope creep can result in changes to the price, timeline, and scope of work agreed upon with the client.

Watch what the leading bookkeeping firm of South Florida has to say about Finsmart:

Now that we grasp the multiple forms of changes that bring about alterations in client needs, the next step is to efficiently manage clients’ expectations.

Managing client expectations in 2023

Here are some best practices that CPA firms can follow to improve their ability to manage changing client needs and expectations:

  1. Start with a client-centric approach: Your focus should be on providing the best possible services to your clients. Regularly engage with your clients to understand their needs and expectations, and tailor your services accordingly.
  2. Invest in technology: Embrace technology and utilise the latest tools and software to streamline your processes and improve the efficiency of your services. This can also help you provide value-added services to your clients.

Check out our article “Adapting Emerging Technologies in Your CPA Firm” which demonstrates how to adjust to new technologies and makes digital transformation simple.

  1. Build a culture of continuous learning: Encourage your team to continuously learn and acquire new skills. Invest in their professional development and provide them with opportunities to attend workshops, conferences, or take courses.
  2. Collaborate with other professionals: Building relationships with other professionals in your industry can help you stay informed of the latest trends and developments. Collaborating with other professionals can also help you provide a more comprehensive range of services to your clients. This way, you will be prepared better for changing client expectations!
  3. Be proactive in seeking feedback: Regularly seek feedback from your clients to understand their needs and expectations. This can be through regular meetings, surveys, or any other means of engagement. By proactively seeking feedback, you can identify potential changes in client needs and be better prepared to adapt to them.
  4. Stay up-to-date with industry trends: Regularly educate yourself and your team on the latest industry developments and trends. This will help you anticipate changing client needs and ensure you have the necessary skills and knowledge to meet those needs.

Read our article on “Navigating a Regulatory Landscape” which would help you in keeping you up to date with regulatory changes.

  1. Be flexible and agile: Be open to change and be willing to experiment with new approaches. This can help you quickly adapt to changing client needs and find new and innovative ways to meet their needs.

By reading “US firms scramble to hire accountants during Tax season”, you will gain the ability to use our support to be nimble and resourceful in terms of technology and resources

  1. Foster open communication: Encourage open and transparent communication within your team and with your clients. This can help you quickly identify and address any issues or changes in client needs.

Connect for Accounting Offshoring Support

By partnering with an experienced offshore accounting services provider Finsmart Accounting, CPA firms can access a team of professionals who are knowledgeable about the latest technologies, up to date with ever-evolving accounting norms, and also domain experts in US accounting.

In addition, offshoring can also help to streamline operations, reduce costs, and improve the overall quality of services provided to clients. Whether it’s digital transformation, financial reporting, or any other aspect of accounting, offshoring is a valuable tool for CPA firms looking to stay ahead of the game in an ever-changing technology landscape.

Share your thoughts

Would you like to know more about managing ever-changing client expectations and growing your accounting practice? Start the conversation below or check out our recent blogs on offshore accounting:

Ensuring data confidentiality & security 

Tips to engage the best bookkeeping outsourcing company in India 

2023 strategies to expand accounting business

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Maanoj Shah

Maanoj Shah

Director Growth Strategy & Alliance at Finsmart Accounting

1. Thriving in the Future of Accounting: Strategies for CPA Firms to Stay Ahead 2. The Art of Managing Client Expectations in CPA & Accounting Industry 3. Adapting Emerging Technologies in Your CPA Firm: 2023 Guide 4. Navigating Accounting Regulatory Landscape: A Challenge for CPA firms

Maanoj Shah is a finance and outsourcing expert with strong Business Strategy and Scaling-up experience. Over the last 20 years, he has incubated multiple businesses and helped build global enterprises in verticals as diversified as hospitality, technology, and healthcare.

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