As busy season ramps up, it’s important to remember that amid the hustle of client work and late nights, taking the time to slow down and have a conversation with your clients is irreplaceable. After all, it’s not every day that one has conversations with leaders of some of the most amazing corporations — whether it’s a leader of a nonprofit organization or a large for-profit enterprise.
What will never be replaceable is the relationship you build with the people you serve. Just a few weeks ago I had one of the most profound discussions with a leader of an organization who was moved to tears discussing how much he loves the people his organization helps each and every day. His passion for the work he does could not be clearer or more infectious. It was at that moment I realized that our team was not just providing an assurance service, but the services his organization needed to continue feeding and sheltering the homeless. That relationship is irreplaceable.
Similarly, the first day of a new job normally begins with asking the client, “How have things been?” The excitement each client brings to the table about their organization’s growth or sometimes in expressing their own struggles is very real and raw. It is not a sugar-coated version but an honest and vulnerable expression about the state of their organization. A conversation with a member of the organization is the chance to show them that you are also passionate about their mission and the work they do. That meaningful conversation is irreplaceable.
The same also goes for colleagues and building irreplaceable relationships with the people you work with. Having a real conversation helps to build these, not just by sending emails or texts. Trust builds throughout a team when these relationships are built, a team that will make it through busy season together.
But all too often during busy season, CPAs and other accounting professionals can feel that they are not a valued team member. For example, in a recent discussion with a friend, who is a Texas-based CPA, she said at times people in her public accounting firm can feel as if they are very replaceable, as if any day they could be shown the door and someone else could fill their shoes and do the work just as well. That’s not an easy feeling to experience or change. I’m lucky to have never felt as if I was replaceable, but I’m aware that others have.