Jackie Meyer is a PhD Candidate who specializes in providing innovative tax strategies and coaching programs to executive clientele for a high return on investment. She’s a top rated speaker, business coach, and social media influencer with thousands of students and followers. She served on committees like the Intuit Tax Council and the Forbes Finance Council. Her recent honors include 40 under 40 with CPA practice Advisor and the tax planner of the year at the American Institute of Certified Tax Coaches.
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Meyer Tax, The Concierge CPA
Jackie has been a firm owner of Meyer Tax Consulting for a decade, more recently established the Certified Concierge Accountant program for tax planners, and just released a tax planning app called TaxPlanIQ™. She converted her firm to value pricing around tax strategies approx 2016 and later became a speaker and a coach from that success. Her effective leadership has been proven through a survey she conducted that compared her firm to others in the industry.
The results of the survey revealed an average rating of 9.4 for her firm, which translates to an NPS score of 81. To put this into perspective, the average accounting industry score is 24. So 81 exceptional! How did she do it?
Jackie explains that the key to such success is keeping her clients as her fans, using the F.O.R.E.V.E.R. method.
Jackie says that F.O.R.E.V.E.R. is the most concise way to share the lessons she’s learned along the way during her transition from a traditional tax firm over to a concierge CPA practice. In the talk she gave at our first Cloud Accounting Summit, she breaks down what this acronym means and how to use it to retain your clients.
F is for Fit
One size does not fit all in tax and accounting. You have to deliver the right product for the right client to maximize retention. The key is to find a niche you love and excel in that niche.
To do this, identify the clients you love to work with and why. Next, make sure that your best practices revolve around serving the needs of those favorite clients. Jackie explains that this was one of the key tactics she did in 2016 when she converted her firm from hourly to value pricing.
Most people stop at figuring out the people with whom they want to work. Jackie takes it a step further, advising us to identify our favorite clients’ ideal persona. She says, “Just like I interview a new staff member for being hungry, humble, and smart. I interview potential clients to be respectful, a kind person, and tech savvy.” These qualities act as qualifiers for potential clients.
O is for Outstanding
Next, figure out in what areas you are outstanding, and identify your competitive advantages as a firm. Sometimes it may help to find a coach to aid in realizing where your strengths lie. Jackie’s business coach, Chuck Bauer, helped her realize how to differentiate herself from other firms. Here are a few ways that Meyers Tax Consulting outperforms its competitors:
- Offer 24-7 emergency access.
- Have an ROI on tax strategies.
- Deliver video and recorded communication that clients can watch any time.
- Aid clients in managing their entire estate and financial teams.
- Use state-of-the-art technology like Jetpack Workflow.
Meyers Tax Consulting also offers free pickup and delivery scanning services for local clients. Make a list about what makes your firm different from the rest. Highlight what’s unique, as even the small things will add up. When in doubt, get feedback by asking your clients what they appreciate about you and your firm.
R for Resource
Be accountable to your clients, and have someone at your firm assigned and dedicated to their needs. As president and founder of her firm, Jackie had to let go of being the client's manager for every relationship. Many CPAs and leaders in the industry have type-A personalities, so the temptation of being a control freak in the shadow of perfection is very high.
However, in order to guide the business and maintain a leadership role, it’s simply not possible to manage every single interaction. Instead, use your resources, tax staff and project managers, to work with your clients.
To reduce the fear you might have about this, use workflows to standardize the work. For instance, be sure that your staff adheres to your company values and policies, like answering emails and phone calls within 24 hours, by making it a requirement. Take it up a notch by establishing these values and policies as key performance indicators (KPIs) that you measure with your team.
E is for Empathy
Tax accountants understand that we’ve become immune to that hair-on-fire feeling when an IRS letter arrives. This can translate into a perceived lack of empathy to the worries of our clients. The ability to make our services “human” can become a significant attribute when value pricing as opposed to hourly pricing.
While you may be familiar with IRS processes, the client, on the other hand, isn’t. Instead, support them through their worries, and show that you’re more than just a number cruncher. Jackie says, “Send sorrowful condolences when [they experience a loss]. Work through their fears, by training them to understand there aren't really that many true accounting and tax emergencies. Mail them handwritten notes; say happy birthday.”
V is for Valuable
Can you show your client their return on investment in you and in your firm? When developing tax strategies or outsourcing CFO work, any consultative service, you can easily estimate a cash value for that service.
For example, Meyer Tax Consulting won't work with a client if they can't find at least 200% return on investment upfront in its tax strategies. Jackie explains, “We point that out during our work, and we review that year to year with a client. It's way too costly, otherwise, to waste each other's time.”
E is for Engaging
Be someone a client wants to be around. Regulate your emotions, and put on your game face. A client meeting or a webinar isn’t the time to vent your frustrations. Instead, find the passion you have, and project that outward towards your clients. Jackie expressed that she does whatever she can to add joyfulness and positivity with both her clients and her staff.
This also means being personable and remembering that clients and employees are human too. When you come across a helpful article, send it to them. During the pandemic, Meyer Tax Consulting offered free virtual town halls weekly for clients to ask all those pressing questions that are pretty repetitive about PPP. One client after the meeting expressed confidence that they will be okay.
R is for Revolutionary
Michael McQueen, one of the keynote speakers at QuickBooks Connect last year said, “Think revolution, not evolution.” Jackie explains that there is a time and place for this kind of thinking, but several small firms may not have the resources or support to make that revolutionary move. However, receiving coaching can aid in reevaluating processes and holding firms accountable for positive change, eventually leading to revolution.
There was a lot of valuable information in her presentation that didn’t make it to the show notes, so watch the presentation to glean more knowledge! If you would like to connect with Jackie, visit her website at www.theconciergecpa.com, fill out the three-minute application form, and schedule a one-on-one appointment. You can also join her free Facebook group called Accounting Firm Influencers.
Share your biggest learnings from this episode and from the rest of the summit, using #cloudaccountingsummit on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter!