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I’ve accomplished a lot, but I’m still thinking about what I’m going to do next.

When I leave a meeting with a client, my thoughts are always what I will do next for them. When I finish giving an important speech, the first thought I have is what my next topic will be. When I write an article, I draw from my experiences something relevant that I could share, always making sure that it is not only current but that it can push (or even push) the reader towards coming. I’m always looking for the next WOW, whether it’s for me, my clients, my staff or my business.

A long time ago I found out that no one cares what you did yesterday. They care about what you will do for them tomorrow. Tomorrow is far away. It starts the day after today but is open and may continue for some time. When advising a business client, I try to determine how many tomorrows suit my efforts and the client’s desire for growth and execution of plans. Here are 10 forward-looking tasks you can do for your clients to prepare them for tomorrow:

  1. Sketch a five-year projection based on the previous five years, but adjusting for unusual, non-recurring, expected or probable items.
  2. Review your client’s internal accounting system and set it up to generate reports that the client would receive regularly with the information they need to better manage and control their business in the future.
  3. Determine a company baseline and show your clients how to measure opportunities to create value from planned actions.
  4. Helping clients assess key personnel to determine if they are being utilized to their fullest abilities, desires and drive to grow and where they will fit into the business of tomorrow.
  5. Help develop KPIs that could give your client instant, actionable metrics.
  6. Develop key predictors that could help your client identify emerging trends.
  7. Help your clients formulate exit plans.
  8. Assist clients in developing contingency plans.
  9. Helping a sole proprietor client develop a contingency plan in the event of disability or sudden death.
  10. If a business client has multiple owners, guide them through the execution of a buy-sell agreement (which is a will for the business). If they have one, review it for current relevance.

There are many more, and this list is presented to provide you with a starting point or to help you think about additional services that your customers need and that you could provide.
I have done all of the above. Some were accomplished easily and quickly, and others were executed as special engagements. These are all essential and vital services with high added value for your customers.

If you want to be your clients’ trusted advisor, then be an advisor they can trust to guide them forward!

Do not hesitate to contact me at [email protected] with your questions about practice management or assignments you may not be able to complete.

Edward Mendlowitz, CPA, is a partner at WithumSmith+Brown, PC, CPA. He is on Accounting Today’s list of the 100 most influential people. He is the author of 24 books, including “How to Review Tax Returns”, co-authored with Andrew D. Mendlowitz, and “Managing Your Tax Season, Third Edition”. He also writes a blog twice a week dealing with issues customers have with with the Pay-Less-Tax Man Blog for the bottom line. He is an adjunct professor in Fairleigh Dickinson University’s MBA program and teaches end-user applications of financial statements. Art of Accounting is an ongoing series where he shares autobiographical experiences with advice he hopes his colleagues can adopt. He welcomes practice management questions and can be reached at (732) 743-4582 or [email protected].