As a financial advisor, it’s always good to expand your connections and try to create relationships with new CPAs. In order to do that, it’s important to keep in mind just how hectic tax season gets for CPAs. This will allow you to respect their time and give you the ability to know how to best connect with them and work within their schedule. Let’s take a glimpse into a typical day in the life of a CPA.
The average accountant works 60 hours per week during tax season. Most CPAs start each day by reviewing tax returns in progress and statuses of anything they’re waiting for. Then the real work starts…
During tax season, about 90% of work hours are spent on audit and tax projects. Daily tasks include collecting information, performing audit and tax procedures and preparing financial and audit reports. Project planning and billing, along with other administrative tasks, take up additional time. In the midst of the piles of paperwork and the insanity of actually preparing taxes for clients, CPAs also have to make time to:
- Return calls from the previous day. Even if the messages aren’t emergencies, they feel urgent to the clients who depend on their CPA for all their tax needs.
- Return emails from the previous day. This could include communication with clients, service providers, coworkers, potential clients, etc.
- Make calls to prospective clients. Just like you, CPAs are constantly trying to bring in more business, whether they are self-employed or working for a huge CPA firm.
As you can see, no matter what actually makes the to-do list, the one thing that is always true about a day in the life of a CPA is, there is very little downtime. That CPA that you’re trying to connect with in order to gain more business? They’re probably working 10-12 hour days plus weekends during tax season. They’re busy, they’re overwhelmed, they’re stressed out, and what they need more than anything is someone who’s willing to come alongside and support them during this crazy stressful time of year.
In order to connect with a CPA and respect their time so they want to maintain an ongoing working relationship with you, you should:
- Be understanding. Don’t take it personally if they’re slow to return calls. Keep in mind that they are probably drowning in work. They are not ignoring you, they’re just busy. Be patient and give them the freedom to return your call or email when it’s convenient for them.
- Don’t expect to be able to meet out of the office. We know, face-to-face meetings are valuable when trying to create connections. But remember, most CPAs work through their lunch hour (or skip lunch altogether) during tax season in order to stay on top of their increased workload. Instead of requesting a lunch meeting, offer to pick lunch up and bring it by the office. This will give you the ability to chat face-to-face while showing that you respect their packed schedule and value their limited time.
- Let low priority tasks and questions wait. For the most part, CPAs are extremely deadline-oriented and priority-driven personalities. If you have a question that can wait until after tax season is over, don’t mention it in March. Trust us, they’ll appreciate your patience and respect for their needs during the craziest time of year.
By doing everything in your power to lessen their stress level, you will have the opportunity to create a lasting relationship with a CPA and be able to reap the benefits of that relationship for years to come.
Be sure and stay in touch. Next week we’ll be sharing tips on how you can help support CPAs by being knowledgeable in time-saving hacks, improvements, and technology.