What’s one of the biggest time suckers for every accountant?

Trying to solve difficult problems where there’s more guessing than actual work.

This is where clear communication with your client can help you.

In the end, why should you be doing all the guesswork, if a 5-minute phone call could save you hours of your time?

Of course, that doesn’t mean you should turn a meeting or phone call into a Q&A session. Nor do you want to make your client feel interrogated. Instead, focus on the following rules of asking questions for problem-solving:

  •       Make your questions laser-focused. This will help you avoid asking too many too broad questions, wasting the time of both you and your client.
  •       Solve complex problems by creating a mini-topic for each question. This makes it easier to encourage your client to go a bit more in-depth and helps improve the conversation flow too.
  •       Show your customer that you listen. Things like ‘I see’, ‘I understand’, or ‘Tell me more about that’ can go a long way towards letting the client know that you’re an active listener
  •       Always be confirming. In the end, you’re calling your client to solve a problem. Confirm every piece of data that you get. This prevents you from spending hours making (and then fixing) a mistake and sends a message to your client that you understand them well.

Effective communication has lots of benefits. It strengthens existing relationships, improves your reputation, and makes problem-solving more efficient.

Most importantly, it can help you reduce the number of hours required to work with every client. This, in turn, gives you more time to focus on growing your business.

Of course, as an accountant, it’s highly possible that your strengths lie elsewhere. But, if you’re just as passionate about growing your business as you’re about accounting, you’ll know exactly what to ask your clients about.