Although accounting firms historically refer to their "clients", we refer to our "customers". Why?
At BPA we have some very important "Core Values". They are documented, and practised.
One of the most important Core Values to us, if not the most important, is "Value to Others".
"Value to Others" is not simply a dollar/cost consideration (as you might expect from an accountant). On the contrary, as our Core Values document states, our "Value to Others" purpose is to "Constantly strive to be of value to our fellow team members, to our customers, to our suppliers, and to all with whom we come into contact through our work; and thus to be of value to ourselves".
Within our profession, it is common to hear accountants refer to "my client", or "our client", and often almost with a sense of "ownership" - they own the client - and with that, is a sense of expectation. That is, the client of the firm is expected to continually return.
And, frankly, this is a great profession.
Most accountants really want to do the right thing by "their client". And most are prepared to work very hard to service "their client" to a very high standard.
Our difference is that, our "Value to Others" Core Value requires that we don't just service our "client", but we strive to be of value. We have identified that this means a lot of things, but particularly it requires an understanding that we are dealing with people - no matter how big the business, what type of business it is, what structure it takes (individual, partnership, company, trust, super fund, etc.), how well it may, or may not, be trading - we are dealing with people. And our "customer", as opposed to "client", approach is that we must act in such a manner and approach as to "win" that customer each and every time we deal with them.
It is a mindset which is intended to combat any potential complacent expectancy, and to push us to constantly and consistently raise our standards. With every dealing, every point of contact, by having to win the customer back, we place the onus on us, rather than simply expecting people to return because they are "our client".