Client Expectations don’t always align with Accountants


Ninety-two percent of North American accountants say that clients are requesting accountants play a more active role in shaping and executing tax priorities. And 88% are confident that their accountants have the skills and capabilities, according a survey.

How exactly that strategic contribution occurs is when accountants and clients are certain about the vision. Just 24% say that their company’s accountants has a clearly defined and communicated vision that sets the future direction of the function.

Accountants seem to have approval to take on a more strategic role, but not all of them are seizing that opportunity.

Accountants state that partnering clients, delivering data that can increase sales—creates far more for an organization than low-value, repeatable tasks that could be automated or outsourced.

And while finance still must be a leader in compliance, accountants should have more of a focus on strategic vs check-the-box activities. Telling the client that the tax returns were filed on time once again is not going to get you a pat on the back.

A company’s culture can also play a role in the strategic contributions of accountants.

Accountants function can enable a more enhanced vision for future strategic contribution. First is to seek input from other stakeholders. In the survey, respondents were asked who their most important stakeholder was, aside from the accountants: The top choices:

  • CEO, 34.1%
  • Business line leaders, 32.9%
  • Audit committee chair, 13.5%
  • Other finance leaders, 13%

These answers show that executive sponsorship is important, along with the desire of the accountants to be a better business partner. Next, accountants should assess existing skills and create the capacity to take on new responsibilities. Finally, accountants must communicate the vision and their value to the organization.



Gustavo A Viera is the managing partner of Gustavo A Viera, PA. His experience spans more than 25 years. He started his career in public accounting at PriceWaterHouseCoopers where reached the level senior audit manager. His Fortune 500 experience includes positions as CFO - Latin America Region for both Hewlett Packard and Telefonica of Spain. Gustavo also writes a blog twice a week that addresses trending accounting and tax issues. He is an SBA Advisor and teaches workshops for aspiring entrepreneurs. His office is located at One Alhambra Plaza Floor PH Coral Gables FL 33134, and is admitted to practice in the State of Florida as a licensed Certified Public Accountant. Gus welcomes questions and he can be reached at 786-250-4450.