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12 Questions to ask in consultative client meetings

December 17, 2015
Read Time: 0 min

When accountants go to client meetings they run the risk of either going in without a plan or failing to innovate their usual tactics for understanding their client. Since most business owners view accountants as a commodity, prioritizing the ways you communicate with your client during your annual or quarterly meetings is critical to displaying your value.

Providing services and insights are clearly the value that accountants add to clients, but without clear communication, these services and insights can fall short. Thought Leader Katie Tolin provides questions that can help CPAs maximize the value they provide to clients:

“As you strive to understand what issues your client is concerned with, don’t ask what keeps him up at night. Yes, that gets to the core of what you want to know, but the question is overused and frustrating. You can get to the same answers with probing questions—open-ended questions that get the client thinking more deeply about a specific issue.”

There is no list of questions that you can automatically ask to uncover this information, but you can use the following formats to come up with your own:

  • What do you think would happen if you _______?
  • What would have to change in order for you to __________?
  • Why do you think you have _____________?
  • What was your intention when you ________?
  • What do you think the connection is between ____ and _____?
  • What criteria must be met for you to _______?
  • What has been your experience with _______?
  • What challenges are you experiencing with _____?
  • Why did you say _____?
  • What is this problem costing you?
  • If you were to make that decision again, would you? Why or why not?
  • If you had a magic wand and could fix anything in your business, what would it be?”

For more information on ways to deepen client relationships, please download this complimentary whitepaper. Learn how ProfitCents is forming technology partnerships with accounting firms to help them differentiate their services, build client relationships and provide advisory services.

About the Author


Raleigh, N.C.-based Sageworks, a leading provider of lending, credit risk, and portfolio risk software that enables banks and credit unions to efficiently grow and improve the borrower experience, was founded in 1998. Using its platform, Sageworks analyzed over 11.5 million loans, aggregated the corresponding loan data, and created the largest

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