By: Dalia Cantor, CPA

I head west bound on route 408 early Monday morning and I am observing Morgan and Morgan paid billboard signs expressing nauseating repetitive “for the people” message saying to myself that I never want CPA Solutions to be a billboard material type of firm.

In today’s world as the marketing takes another level of creativity and customer service reaches new heights, every consumer is looking for the “one of a kind” experience. As we move into communication via text, Facebook, emails and tweets – what kind of experience does that entail? A personal relationship, more attention to detail or a virtual client connection and a false sense of care?

Besides the delicate personal relationship we share with our clients, we, as CPAs are often expected to be astute in banking, financial planning, insurance, real estate, law and other areas that we encounter in our day to day lives. As an owner of a CPA firm I face same challenges as my clients do – fee pressures, rising staff labor costs, technical resources and a lack of talent that forces me to examine the mix of services, industry concentrations, and my positioning in the marketplace. As firms continue to acquire consulting and advisory companies that complement their traditional services in order to become a one-stop shop I question myself if we are really adding value to our customers or simply becoming mediocre providers of everything….

So how do we rise above continuously increasing competition, offer excellence in customer service and truly add value to our clients? You see many advertising the “extra mile” loom but I don’t see many defining what does that actually mean to their clients.

My approach is seeing beyond numbers and understanding client needs without them telling me. We all know that a cookie cutter-template businesses will reap the biggest profits but in my opinion it is the individual attention and building relationships in an old-fashion, genuine way that will help you rise above others and cement a bond with your clients. As in life, the art of relationships is a match making process.