Do you think dealing with clients can be learned? or is it sort of innate within individuals? How’s being a senior on audits? I heard it’s way more interesting than as a junior. – paraphrased from DK
Both solid questions.
Dealing with clients
It makes sense that some people are going to be naturally more talented than others when it comes to dealing with clients. It’s a bit of an art and requires a lot of finesse at times. But, that’s not to say you’ll always suck at it if you’re not naturally gifted. It’s like anything else. You’ll start out mediocre and the more often you work at it the better you’ll get. And, there are many different ways to improve, which I’m sure you’ll find if you ask more people this question. However, I find it the easiest to emulate someone who is already really good at client interaction. I have one partner who gets along with everyone and I try to act like him when I’m dealing with difficult clients.
Apart from emulating, reading books – as lame as that may sound – can be pretty helpful too. I’m reading Cicero’s “On the Ideal Orator” right now for this very reason, but in a different context. I’m trying to improve my writing and speaking structure – most of my partners appreciate conciseness and brevity which aren’t my strong suits. But there are a lot of things in that book that you can apply to client interaction.
Yeah, it’s more interesting for sure. I don’t know about you, but when I was a junior my “work” consisted of performing audit procedures whose purpose I couldn’t tie in to any “big picture” my partners were talking about. So it’s nice to understand a client as a whole and strategize an audit with that perspective. Keeping this in mind, I’m not awesome at planning audits – yet. I’ve done maybe 4 or 5. But after each one I only reaffirm how much I still need to learn.
And the only reason I’m a senior is likely due to necessity rather than my accounting prowess. We’re a small firm so we don’t have that many people to spare when things get busy – like right now. So I’m almost a victim of circumstance.