What not to do! Client relationship management is key.

I have a story to share from an experience with one of my non-profit projects.  One of my responsibilities is to oversee the audit committee, hire the auditors, and manage the CPA firm relationship (the Board hires the Auditors, not the Non Profit).  It is amazing to me how much tangible and intangible value the CPA firm leaves on the table by not doing a few simple things.
Here is the background:

The firm is on the 4th year of the Audit and the Senior who had been running the job left the firm to take a job in private.

People leave, we know and accept this.

Here is the amazing part; no phone call (let alone a meeting) from the partner before or after the audit to see how the new team is working out!
The CFO called a meeting last week with the Audit Committee and wanted us to fire the CPA firm because the audit went so poorly. It was a clean audit but the CFO felt the firm didn’t transition any prior year information/general knowledge and over-audited. It is fair to say the emotional equity in the relationship was close to zero.
I know switching firms MAY not be the answer.  I do know the firm could have done a few simple (and not overly time consuming) to build emotional equity and value in the relationship:
*invested in the transition with the Partner explaining the background of the job to the new Senior.
*the Partner calling the CFO a couple of times to check in.
*a lunch or face to face meeting would have been icing on the cake!
Another interesting element of the story is the non-profit recently completed a few internal projects (systems integration, hired a new payroll manager, etc.) where the CPA firm could have been involved, added value and charged for it! Instead, they are about to get a phone call from yours truly asking them if they can get their act together!  The moral of the story:  a few simple yet critical touches can solidify your relationships with your clients.  In what areas of service can you improve?  Need help finding your blind spots?  Contact us for an assessment!

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