The following is a guest blog post by Amy Vetter, the CEO of B³ Method Institue, a Vertical IQ partner organization. As a CPA, Amy is a key influencer in the accounting and finance profession. She is also a transformative keynote speaker, consultant, board member, author, and podcast host. This blog post was originally published in May 2023 on B³ Method Institute’s website, find the original article here.

When we think of accounting, we often imagine rows of numbers, spreadsheets, and data analysis. Indeed, the power of data analytics has revolutionized the industry, offering profound insights and precision. But, as AI and machine learning evolve, crunching numbers is no longer a unique selling point for accounting firms. So, what sets your practice apart from everyone else?

Enter relational accounting—building and nurturing genuine connections with your clients. By striking a balance between a data-driven and relationship-centric approach, you can offer comprehensive advisory services that put you ahead of your competition.

The Competitive Advantage of Relational Accounting

As computational capabilities become uniform across firms, your competitive edge lies in the relationships you cultivate with your clients. No machine can match the level of service you provide when you genuinely understand and connect with your client’s needs, goals, and challenges. Relational accounting offers a future-proof approach to your practice.

The Impact of Relational Accounting on Client Advisory Services (CAS) Practices

The testament to relational accounting’s effectiveness lies in the success of Client Advisory Services (CAS) practices. These practices reported a median growth rate of 16% in 2022, highlighting the power of focusing on client relationships. CAS’s core ethos is to add more value to clients, deepening trust and fostering long-term relationships.

Why Embrace Relational Accounting in Your Practice?

Trust and loyalty: By deeply understanding your clients, you foster trust and loyalty. This personalized approach makes clients feel valued and has the added benefit of expanding your network and increasing referrals.
Informed decision-making: Knowing the human aspect of a client’s business equips you to provide better guidance. Tailoring advice to specific needs and goals enhances your decision-making.
Future-proofing your practice: With AI and machine learning advancements, a relational focus helps your firm stay relevant and ahead of the curve by developing soft skills that will never go out of style.

Six Steps to Integrate Relational Accounting in Your Practice

  1. Be curious: Understand your clients beyond the balance sheets. Show genuine interest in their businesses, aspirations, and challenges.
  2. Communicate empathetically and clearly: Practice active listening and convey complex accounting concepts in relatable language.
  3. Offer proactive advice: Keep abreast of industry trends and changes that might impact your clients. Proactively offering advice emphasizes your commitment to their success.
  4. Adapt to change: Be ready to evolve your approach based on your client’s changing needs and business landscape.
  5. Be honest and transparent: Openness fosters trust. Be upfront about your fees, services, and areas of expertise.
  6. Appreciate Your Clients: Express gratitude for their business and trust. Celebrate their achievements and check in on them regularly.

Accounting is not solely about data and numbers. It’s about significantly impacting your clients’ lives by building meaningful relationships. This human-centered approach can give your accounting practice a distinctive, future-proof edge.

If you think your accounting firm would like to add advisory services to your offerings, Vertical IQ can help. Download our free eBook, 8 Ways to Use Industry Intelligence to Grow Your Accounting Firm, and learn how to use Industry Intelligence to develop a specialty, bring in new business clients, and grow existing relationships.

About Amy Vetter, CEO of B³ Method Institue

Amy Vetter, CPA, CITP, CGMA, MBA, is the CEO of The B³ Method Institute and B³ Yoga, which provide ongoing learning to help people in all industries and career levels to achieve their desired potential in work and life.

Amy is a transformative keynote speaker, consultant, board member, author, and host of the podcast, Breaking Beliefs. As the creator of the B³ Method® for Business, Balance & Bliss, Amy has inspired thousands of people at hundreds of events on the mindful use of technology, change management, connected leadership, mindfulness in the workplace, and work-life balance.

As a CPA, Amy is also a key influencer in the accounting and finance profession. She has been named one of the “Most Powerful Women in Accounting” by the AICPA and CPA Practice Advisor and a Top 100 Most Influential Person by Accounting Today multiple times. Amy also shares her accounting and business insights as a contributor to AICPA’s Journal of Accountancy, Accounting Today, CPA Practice Advisor as well as and

Image credit: Amy Vetter

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