Client management, staff management, and sales

It’s not billable and it’s not CPE, so if there is a burner behind the back one, thatis where this issue resides.  It is a training and development issue, but it is not technical training and development, it is the training and development of soft skills.  The skills that CPAs infrequently tout, but frequently utilize are among the most important but most neglected skills for any professional. 

The lifeblood of the firm is the client base and the engine that keeps that work flowing is the firm’s staff.  However, firm managers are just expected to ‘know’ how to attract and retain good clients.  They are just expected to ‘know’ how to attract and retain good staff.  These skills come quite naturally to some, and they are seen as the ‘naturals’ but others can acquire many of these skills as well with the right training and some work at it. 

Especially considering that accountants tend to be introverts much more than the general population, these skills might be more difficult to come by naturally when your entire group is made up of accountants in the first place.  Not that introverts don’t have good soft skills, but sometimes they need to warm up to you before you see these skills.

The point is that firms train the skills that get the work done as CPE is required to maintain licensing, but don’t pay nearly as much attention to training the skills that bring the work in the door and help keep good staff happy.  To have a healthy growing practice, both must be trained at all levels of the organization so that all client and staff interactions are as positive as possible.