How to Transform a Cold Call Into a Life-Long Business Relationship

by Michael Smith, CPA, Nisivoccia LLP | November 27, 2023

Top Ten, a fictional IT hardware maintenance company headquartered in Germany, needed an accounting firm that could keep pace with its growing U.S. business. Their former accounting firm no longer had the depth of expertise or level of responsiveness they required. Top Ten’s Germany-based CFO handled finances for Top Ten’s U.S. and European subsidiaries so, with an eye toward growing the U.S. business, he decided to visit the New Jersey office to consult with management and identify an accounting partner that could meet all its needs. After researching a number of firms, he narrowed the field to three and eventually selected one. Being the chosen CPA advisory comes with a lot of responsibility. How can the firm satisfy the immediate needs of the client but also build a long-term relationship?

The Challenge

  • Provide a more robust foundation of expertise that Top Ten can depend on as the business grows and diversifies.
  • Ensure that cash flow, U.S. tax returns and foreign tax filings are 100% accurate.
  • Help evaluate business opportunities and offer a sounding board for management to reach out to on financial issues.  

The Solution

While CPAs can often be only numbers-oriented, clients like Top Ten focus on sales and operations as well as the bigger picture. Early in the relationship, the CPA should meet regularly with Top Ten’s offices and commit to gaining a solid understanding of the company’s business model, operations and financials so they could offer business perspective and helpful financial advice.

Initially, the CPA should provide typical accounting services such as monthly compilations, business tax returns and foreign tax filings. As Top Ten goes through growing pains, the CPA should be right there to work through everything with them. As time goes on, the CPA will likely be sought out more often and in different ways. In fact, if Top Ten, for example, decides that it needs to find a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, the CPA should work with management and staff to evaluate and implement the new system.

Top Ten may also want to diversify into other business segments, and they are likely to look to their CPA for advice in those areas as well. Over time, for example, they could buy commercial buildings and would need the CPA to help identify opportunities and evaluate each property for profitability and investment value.

The Result

Like all companies, Top Ten has faced challenges during its two-plus decades in business.  With the right CPA relationship, Top Ten can overcome its obstacles and continue to grow.  Often times CPAs can end up handling the personal taxes and finances of the company’s leaders and even end up at family parties.

What often starts as a cold call can evolve into a strong professional partnership as well as a friendship.



Michael T. Smith

Michael T. Smith

Michael Smith, CPA, is a partner at Nisivoccia LLP, specializing in accounting, audit, tax and business consulting services for both nonprofit and private clients. He is a member of the NJCPA.

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