Tax & Accounting Blog

It’s Time to Talk to Your Customers about Their Finances

Accounting Firms, Business Strategy & Development, CS Professional Suite April 20, 2015

Tax season is officially behind us, and accountants all over the US are flocking to their favorite vacation spots, dusting off their golf clubs, or simply taking some time to relax and catch up on all the things they promised themselves they would do after tax season.  While this time of year is great for all those things, it’s also the perfect time to reach out to your clients and talk about their finances. Fortunately, our customers will probably be even more receptive to these conversations than they have been in years past. 

American consumers are happier with their financial situations than they were a year ago, as reported by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Every quarter, the AICPA publishes the Personal Financial Satisfaction Index (PFSi), a measure of the overall financial happiness of Americans. The index rose considerably in Q1 2015, primarily attributable to decreases in inflation, loan delinquencies, and underemployment. The rise in the index indicates that the financial standing of the typical American has improved dramatically over the last year, and continues to rise each quarter. 

Accountants should capitalize on the improved financial happiness of their current and prospective clients by engaging them in discussions about their business and personal finances. Your clients may be more willing to talk about these issues, as they are likely already looking for strategies to continually improve their financial situations. 

Accountants have the opportunity to strengthen client relationships and reinforce their role as a trusted advisor by initiating timely discussions about financial planning and business advisory services. In a recent AICPA press release Susan Tillery, a member of the AICPA’s Personal Financial Planning Executive Committee, states that, “Now is an excellent time for Americans to be reviewing their own financial situation with a CPA financial planner. This relationship will help them feel more confident in their decisions and financial strategies going forward.”

The PFSi is composed of two sub-indices: the Personal Financial Pleasure Index and the Personal Financial Pain Index. The Q1 2015 rise in the PFSi is attributable to a sharp decline in the Pain index, which fell 12.6% from the previous quarter and 18.4% from the prior year. The Pleasure index fell slightly (0.4%) from the prior quarter, but is still 15.3% higher than it was one year ago. The AICPA provides a detailed breakdown of the PFSi on its website

Thomson Reuters can help you take advantage of the opportunity to offer new services to your clients. UltraTax CS‘s data mining capabilities can provide you with the information you need to provide timely recommendations. Practice CS offers CRM capabilities to ensure you are in contact with the right clients at the right time. Planner CS allows you to quickly jump from tax preparation into proactive tax planning. Contact us to learn more about how the CS Professional Suite can help you become a trusted advisor to your clients.