The CPA’s Consultative Process
One principal talent distinguishes a CPA’s from the rest: top CPA’s skillfully diagnose and solve problems better than the rest.
The mindset of the consultative CPA is that of a problem-solver. He or she will be more effective in supporting the needs of the client if they act as both an Accountant and Consultant. We focus on proactive and responsive communication with clients, which lead to more productive solutions. Problem Solving Skills is a highly interactive and goes beyond vast majority of Miami Accountants standard practices.
The Consultative Process introduces a problem-solving mindset and presents an effective process for consulting with both internal and external clients. It helps Accountants become comfortable in their role as consultant and helps them generate greater alignment and commitment with the organization’s clients by using a win/win problem-solving approach.
The CPA’s Counselor Approach
- Become aware of a process for increasing consulting competence.
- Approach clients with a problem-solving mindset.
- Learn the four phases of the consultative process and understand the obstacles that typically accompany each phase.
- Understand the barrier of No Trust and how relating can address it.
- Initiate the consultative process in a way that communicates empathy and understanding.
- Learn how to build credibility with clients throughout the consulting process.
- Recognize client behavior that indicates a feeling of No Need.
- Understand the client’s problem as the difference between the Have and Want sides of the Gap Model.
- Use questioning and listening skills to gather information about the client’s problem.
- Understand and use the Discovery Agreement to summarize the client’s problem.
- Understand and recognize the barrier of No Help.
- Recommend solutions in terms of benefits to the client.
- Use task and personal appeals to communicate how the solution solves the client’s problem.
- Ask for agreement to the solution.
- Understand the barrier of No Satisfaction.
- Appreciate the difference in expectations between clients and the consultant after the solution has been determined.
Understand the four skills that support the solution: Supporting the Decision to Act, Managing the Implementation, Dealing with Dissatisfaction, Enhancing the Relationship.
The consultative accountant becomes a problem-solver. The client may come to see the presentation as an offer from an ally to help make his business better. The effective accountant-consultant customizes his approach so that the client doesn’t feel he’s getting a one-size-fits-all solution. The actual presentation of the solution may not come until the second or third presentation simply because the accountant must takes his time to fully understand her client’s dilemmas.
Today’s business challenges require better products, customized services, and complex solutions. As organizations meet their clients’ needs, accountants play a critical role in creating and implementing solutions for clients, whether internal or external.
While they are experts in their areas, many accountants are not equipped to handle the business side of the project. They need consultative problem-solving skills to create value for clients. Service providers need to integrate their technical skills into a consultative process.