Speaking at the Accounting Business Expo last month, My Accounts executive director Matthew Rowe referred to a survey done by Harvard Business School earlier this year.
“Harvard Business School undertook a review and a survey, and it looked for what are the attributes that clients value most in a professional services firm, from accounting to financial planning to law,” he said.
In order, the attributes were quality, low cost, delivery/turnaround performance, process driven, prompt communication, certification, reputation, strong management, skilled workforce and firm technology.
“Within the accounting space, clients see that quality is high – accountants rank very well. Cost is not so great, and neither is prompt communication,” Mr Rowe said.
“Accountants are excellent on certification and reputation, and the other things that clients believe are important rank somewhere in the middle.”
When looking at the response for financial planners, again some attributes ranked higher than others.
“The same survey was done for financial planners and cost was a positive attribute. [Quality and] prompt communications were excellent. Not so good on reputation or certification, and the other things sit somewhere around the middle.”
Mr Rowe said it becomes interesting when you compare the two professions, and see that they have almost completely opposite strengths and weaknesses.
“What’s interesting to me is when you overlay them both. What you can see is the relative strengths and opportunities for both,” he said.
“What it shows, I think, that when you put them together, they do complement each other, and I think that both of these services increase the willingness to pay for the service,” he said.
“Importantly then is what other services do you know that may be complementary in your profession, and then how do you offer them.”