I recently had a lengthy conversation with one of my most valued clients, confidants and friend. I was dreading having such a conversation since I new ahead of time that it would not be a delightful exchange. I also knew that my Team and mostly me had been a disappointment. And we all hate to disappoint those that depend on us, particularly a valued family member or friend.
As a professional, I have always prided myself on providing exceptional service that is valued by my clients and work that I can be proud of. Not to say that we have never had a compliant. You can’t be in this business for nearly 35 years and not experience your share of ups and downs. But this time it feels different because it’s coming from those that have trusted and even advocated for me and my firm over many years.
I decided to use this forum to share my thoughts and observations with those that I care about, my team, my colleagues and most importantly, my valued clients.
As auditors, we have a responsibility to report on the fairness of financial statements as well as the underlining checks and balances within the organizations that we audit. However, that does not mean that it’s our job to catch the client doing something (or everything) wrong or act as the accounting cops. My philosophy has always been to take on the role of a problem solver as well as an auditor. Of course, it’s always a balancing act to report our findings while at the same time treating it as a teaching opportunity.
Our industry has been forced to change the role of the auditor because of abuses of a few at the top. As such, we can no longer “clean up” the books or make routine closing adjustments or even prepare the financial statements in most cases. This has been a rude awaking for some of our clients that have depended on such services in the past.
When I got into this business many years ago, I made a conscious decision that I would serve the underserved, the underfunded and neglected minority community because they were and are in the most need of sound financial advice and education.
Sounds like I’m in the wrong business…. right? Well we’re not going anywhere!
I have a message for MY TEAM. I know it’s a challenge, but we most be diligent and at the same time be sensitive and helpful. We cannot come off as being punitive or insensitive to the environments in which our clients operate.
I have a message for MY CLIENTS. We will do our best to better communicate changes and/or disruptions in the accounting industry that impact you. We will work with you within the limits imposed on us by the industry so that you are well informed, well educated and positioned to be successful.
I have a message for MY COLLEAGUES. We are in a very competitive industry. There is nothing wrong with competition. It should make us all try harder. However, as we strive for increased revenue and profits, we should never lose sight of the mission and values set forth by the profession: Embrace the values of integrity, innovation, passion and collaboration while instilling public trust through exceptional client service.