The Immensely Valuable CPA
What are the characteristics of an immensely valuable CPA, one who clients cannot do without? The answer goes beyond degrees, designations, and even technical expertise. A story here not just for CPAs but all professional services providers.
John Ray: [00:00:00] Hello. I’m John Ray on the Price and Value Journey. Recently, I sat with an older business owner who is a 50/50 partner with a relative. They’re getting closer to that inevitable time when they are transitioning out of the business and there are problems. The relative’s behavior is erratic, and the business has some unique characteristics, which will make a sale challenging. This owner was wondering how he could navigate all this, a situation which could turn into a quagmire, if not handled just right.
I asked him who among their professional services providers could help mediate and walk through with the two of them this business transition. It had to be someone both he and his relative trusted implicitly. We agreed that having the right person there to smooth any friction would save a lot of hurt feelings, anxiety, and maybe a bunch of legal bills if everything descended into a legal fight. The business attorney had just passed away, but the long-time CPA for the business was still active. Do both of you trust – I’ll call him – Joseph? “Do you value Joseph’s opinions?” I asked him. Do both of you listen to him? How’s his bedside manner? I asked several questions like this about Joseph, and all the answers led to a conclusion this man agreed with, that. Joseph, the CPA was the ideal person, possibly the only person to companion the two of them through the looming transition.
Now, what makes Joseph not just important, but immensely valuable to these two business partners? What is it that makes Joseph seem irreplaceable at this point? Is that his knowledge of the tax code? His ability to help them craft a business transition, which saves both a large tax bill? His accuracy in filing tax returns? The fact that he’s been through 40 or more tax seasons? No, it’s none of these things, actually. All his experience and his qualifications are important, to be sure, but that’s not what makes Joseph more than just important. What makes Joseph immensely valuable here? What makes Joseph seem priceless as an advisor?
Joseph’s value as a professional services provider lies in his experience with these two partners. The trust he has engendered with them over time, his demeanor and his ability to mediate tough situations. All of these factors are intangibles. Intangibles that are not available with anyone else, it seems. Intangibles that these two partners can’t find with a Google search. It’s yet another example of why, ultimately, your content, your experience, your certifications as a professional services provider is not, ultimately, what drives your practice. Whether it’s your knowledge of the tax code if you’re a CPA, or social media platforms if you’re a marketing or branding expert, or the law if you’re attorney, your value lies in intangibles that, sometimes, you’re not able to see if we don’t understand what the client sees. Your value lies in more, much more than just your experience, certifications and the content that you give the world. So, what are those intangibles your clients see in you, which make you priceless to them? Do you know? If not, maybe it’s time to start asking them those questions.
I’m John Ray on the Price and Value Journey. Past episodes of this series can be found on your favorite podcast app, or you can find the entire show archive at PriceValueJourney.com. You’re welcome to send me a note, John@JohnRay.co. Thank you for joining me.
About The Price and Value Journey
The title of this show describes the journey all professional services providers are on: building a services practice by seeking to convince the world of the value we offer, helping clients achieve the outcomes they desire and trying to do all that at pricing which reflects the value we deliver.
If you feel like you’re working too hard for too little money in your solo or small firm practice, this show is for you. Even if you’re reasonably happy with your practice, you’ll hear ways to improve both your bottom line as well as the mindset you bring to your business.
John Ray, Host of The Price and Value Journey
John Ray is the host of The Price and Value Journey.
John owns Ray Business Advisors, a business advisory practice. John’s services include advising solopreneur and small professional services firms on their pricing. John is passionate about the power of pricing for business owners, as changing pricing is the fastest way to change the profitability of a business. His clients are professionals who are selling their “grey matter,” such as attorneys, CPAs, accountants and bookkeepers, consultants, marketing professionals, and other professional services practitioners.
In his other business, John is a Studio Owner, Producer, and Show Host with Business RadioX®, and works with business owners who want to do their own podcast. As a veteran B2B services provider, John’s special sauce is coaching B2B professionals to use a podcast to build relationships in a non-salesy way which translate into revenue.
John is the host of North Fulton Business Radio, Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Radio, Alpharetta Tech Talk, and Business Leaders Radio. house shows which feature a wide range of business leaders and companies. John has hosted and/or produced over 1,300 podcast episodes.