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Make a Positive Impression on CPAs this Year—Especially at Tax Time

This time of year, CPAs face an onslaught of work:12-hour days are the norm. Their stress is at its apex—like a florist on Valentine’s Day. You might think tax season is not the greatest time to connect with CPAs to promote your advisory services—but actually, there are some very specific ways that you can make their lives easier during this hectic time—including pampering them with a few goodies!

Provide realized gain and loss statements for mutual clients. Do your client’s CPA a favor—with your client’s permission, of course—by sending them a realized gain and loss statement. A veteran advisor in Mississippi asks his clients whether they’d like him to forward their gain/loss reports directly to their CPA. He mails out the reports, along with a handwritten note and his contact information. Once you start sending the reports, the CPAs may come to expect them every year. This advisor actually ended up winning some new referrals this way. This approach saves him time, too, since it eliminates the possibility of clients misplacing their reports and requesting replacement copies at the last minute. One advisor likes to take his top 20 clients’ CPAs to lunch and hand deliver the 1099s and gain/loss info all in individual client binders,  segregated by entity.

Respond quickly to phone calls. Make sure to offer a prompt response when CPAs call inquiring about cost basis and other matters. They will be very appreciative and you can set yourself apart when you value their time with a quick response compared to other financial advisors.

Have breakfast or lunch delivered—or other goodies. Step in to show you care when CPAs are swamped, and you’ll ensure that they won’t forget you. One advisor in California sends a catered breakfast every April 15th and several bags of good coffee. One advisory team in Florida sends spa certificates to their favorite CPA’s office in April, and even hired a massage therapist to give neck rubs. Another team perfected an annual Tax Season Stress Relief kit that included aromatherapy candles, Chamomile tea, cookies, Band-Aids for paper cuts, hand creme for dry hands. Consider throwing in some gift cards for pizza for those late nights—and movie or ballgame tickets for relaxation after tax season. It solidifies the relationship. When they think of investment advisory firms, you want them to they think of your firm.

One cautionary note: You might want to do the pampering project only for CPAs whom you know and who know you. Don’t make it an overt marketing campaign—and don’t do it for CPAs you don’t know at all. If you’re just getting started, start with something basic like providing helpful financial information or other summary reports to make their lives easier. Always include your business card, and keep it thoughtful and respectful.