The importance of communication between the accounting office and the client
Each accounting office must contact more or less with the clients. This is an important topic because the clients of the accounting office contact the accountants, assistants and managers. Company’s overall success depends on that. This contact may be made most often by e-mail or by phone. In the following article, for the term of an external accounting employee, we use the word “consultant”, regardless of position – so that terms: a manager, a boss, a director or an employee refer to people working at the client’s company, not employees of the accounting office.
Correspondence in communication with clients
Let us consider the first type of communication, the issue of correspondence, as it is of the greatest importance. This is the basic method of providing information between the client and the company, that conservatively implements business correspondence norms previously assigned by the manager, head or president of a given unit. However, as practice shows, it does not always fulfill its purpose. A restrained and not very detailed model of conversation is often elaborated, which has been effective in the case of court or official correspondence. However, it can lead to disinformation of a consultant who is not usually familiar with these rules.
Telephone communication in the accounting office
It is not significantly better in case of telephone communication. Although it involves people more personally and does not distance participants, the quality and quantity of information provided may be far from ideal. Unfortunately, telephone conversations tend to lose sight of the subject and expand the statements. Especially the last one makes the conversation either interesting or burdensome, but certainly longer and then getting answers is much more difficult. We can be misunderstood. On the other hand, telephone communication is often necessary because it allows instant contact. We do not have to wait for a response to be sent by e-mail. It is worth developing the ability to conduct a conversation in the consistent and factual way. This is a very valuable skill – there are companies whose main activity is training in the principles of effective communication. It is important to avoid misunderstandings and mistakes.
Organization of communication between the client and the accounting office
As is known, at accounting offices we can have contact with many different professions. The consultant will certainly not know all the nuances of a given industry, which he will cooperate with and will be forced to ask for various documents and transactions. It is also extremely rare that a consultant is aware of the level of knowledge a client has regarding tax regulations and accounting principles.For the accounting office, as well as in ordinary life, the most important thing is to make a good first impression. During the first meeting with a new client, it is difficult to determine all the details regarding the liability of employees at the company. Most often, organizational chaos arises. The consultant is not sure which person to contact in a given case and that leads to unnecessary and time-consuming transmission of the same messages several times before it reaches a competent person. If at a company there is no fixed framework of action for messages received from the outsourcing office, as a result, information which is significant for the client may be overlooked. In extreme cases, it can have serious consequences for a company cooperating with an accounting office. For example, the most common situation is that by sending important information via e-mail (e.g. regarding an official letter) from an accounting office to a person or even several persons on the client’s site, the recipient, who should actually deal with this e-mail, does not know that such a document was sent and a case is therefore deadlocked.
Organizational chaos at the client’s company means for the accounting office: no contacts or frequent changes. Lack of proper contact with people responsible directly for a specific work is a considerable obstacle, especially when explaining specific issues concerning a given company. For companies, a situation when a dedicated person contacts the accounting office is convenient. Especially when they are well-oriented in a company structure, have a large scope of knowledge about: the products or services being sold, company’s activity and issued accounting documents. Such people are often directors or managers of given units. At the moment a contact person appointed by a company’s representative is not aware of responsibilities and duties of the employees, the consultant is being sent back from one employee to another. While clarifying tax issues, the delay may involve corrections of the declaration, which entails additional costs for the company.
Consultant’s questions – important or unnecessary?
In a situation when the consultant has doubts about a given accounting document, they usually prefer an explanation sent via e-mail. The response to a given query will depend on how the document will be posted. The consultant should not suggest to the customer an answer to the question, as this could affect the reliability of the answer. Printed e-mail correspondence can be treated as an accounting document and attached to a given invoice or other document concerned, so that in case of visit of financial controller could verify if the given document was well taxed. For that reason, do not underestimate the consultant’s questions even if the answer seems obvious.
Therefore, contact with clients is of great importance for the proper recognition of documents to the account books and, as a result, for the correct calculation of taxes. Well-asked questions as well as detailed responses to them are the basis for a good cooperation of the accounting office with entrepreneurs, which ultimately translates into efficient management and lowering the costs of accounting office services.
Author: Magdalena Hałasińska