Financial advisors are required to know their clients to build investment portfolios for them. This is not a nice to have but an actual legal requirement. They must understand the risk tolerance, investment knowledge and financial position.
How does this relate to Accounting and Finance people? We are all serving clients. If you think that knowing your client is only for finance people in public practice but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Everyone is serving someone within their role. Some finance people are serving other finance functions, some are serving business support services, and some are partnering with the revenue generators of the business.
You need to know who your customer is. Next you need to know their financial knowledge and what they are trying to attain. If you are sitting behind the computer and pumping out reports that are irrelevant to your customer but mean something only to you, you are not providing value.
You want to ensure you know what your customer wants and how you are going to be able to provide what they want. You also want to know how changes in their business will impact the output of what you are providing.
Understand the business and your client to recommend investments that will change their bottom line. This could be recommending IT changes, equipment changes, adding shifts or paying overtime, and many more.
Knowing your client and having a relationship is imperative to being successful. It is not impossible but definitely more difficult to provide value if you haven’t built a relationship where you know your client. If you haven’t started yet, start today, know your client and begin to build value.