FOCUS  SPONSORED

Your value to clients could be in the bank 

Debra Handy, CPA, is the senior commercial   She began her career as a CPA at Ernst & Young.  she has worked in the  She relies on her extensive experience in both banking  focusing on commercial  Bank. This gives her a uniquely informed  role from the banker’s viewpoint. She has been a 

steps to increase your value to your client. As technology expands your available time, place more emphasis on your true value as a CPA. One of the best value-added services you can develop is to enhance your clients’ relationships with their banks.


Improve the client-to-bank process. Help clients deliver financial statements and tax returns to their bank. Both your clients and their bankers value easy, secure transfer of financial information more than you might realize. Bankers see a wide range of willingness among different firms to deliver information, with security and privacy being the foremost concerns. However, don’t overlook the value of staying current and saving clients from costly omissions. Instead of waiting for a notice from the bank, for example, remind them when you’ve prepared their documents to submit them ahead of the due date. Most banks request a full tax return plus all Schedule K-1s for personal returns, but most clients don’t understand that K-1s are not a schedule in their personal returns. Add value by packaging their K-1 schedules together and submitting the file with the personal tax return. You’ve just saved your clients from having to find and deliver copies of all their K-1s with industry-standard, secure electronic transfer on which they can rely. (It won’t hurt to point out you’ve included this benefit.)

Solve client problems before they happen. Let your clients know you’re available to assist them in the planning stages of a credit agreement. Help clients work through pro forma scenarios of a term sheet or loan agreement so

22 CPAFOCUS September/October 2018

ith the industry changing all around us, now is the time to sell soft skills. You can take some simple proactive

“Think of value- added service   you can bring to 

they understand the impact of loan covenants on their financial statements. Study their covenants and touch base as transactions occur that might affect them. A couple of years ago, a large company made a very significant, very complex equity transaction involving several banks. Unfortunately, it wasn’t reported until the extended tax return was filed and it ran afoul of the loan covenant. Undoing this was, to put it mildly, disruptive to business and client relationships. If the client had simply had his CPA examine the loan document on the front end, he would have avoided any possible breach of covenant before structuring the transaction.

Know everything your client can’t– and bring it. Recent accounting

pronouncements will definitely impact some of your clients and their loan agreements. It’s often difficult for a client to stay on top of these. Savvy CPAs will reach out to clients to offer an assessment of the

changes and pro forma financials to help their clients determine any negative impact on their covenants. Be the hero; get your client out ahead of implementation and propose any changes or amendments up front.

Be the irreplaceable CPA. Above all, look at value-added service as something extra that enhances your appeal. Tink of value-added service as the essential difference only you can bring to your client. You’ll be irreplaceable. Form a close relationship with a bank that’s fully up to speed on accountancy and that has the resources you can leverage for your client relationship. Tis will make all of the value-added services much easier to achieve and more secure. And finally, take advantage of technology. You’re going to need it for your growing business.

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