Monthly Archives: June 2013
In the movie, “The Other Guys” starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, Ferrell plays the role of a police officer who is also a forensic accountant. Sounds exciting, right? A forensic accountant cop – who knew they really existed?
When people see or hear the word “forensic” they almost immediately think of C.S.I. (Miami, New York, LA – take your pick). The thought of cops probing through various evidentiary materials, using their fingerprint kits, and effortlessly solving the “big case” rush through your mind. Exciting, cool, suave – you get the picture.
When you hear or read the words forensic accountant do you have the same thoughts?…probably not. You might think boring, mundane, and monotonous. But, you couldn’t be further from the truth. Forensic accountants have been described as part investigator, part auditor, part attorney, and part accountant. Just like the C.S.I. guys, forensic accountants dig deep into cases, looking at financial fingerprints, and unraveling mysteries.
Forensic accountants are often Certified Public Accountants with additional certifications such as CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner) or CFF (Certified in Financial Forensics). This is a profession where knowledge, training, and experience are vital for the success of the professional and client.
When do I know that I need to hire a forensic accountant? In some cases, it’s fairly evident such as in situations where you think there may be fraud or embezzlement. But, there are other instances like divorce, bankruptcy, and mergers when a forensic accountant should be involved.
If you ever think you may need a forensic accountant be sure to do your homework – A forensic accountant should have a strong knowledge of accounting and financial analysis, curiosity, discretion, sound professional judgment and an ability to listen effectively and communicate clearly. They should be able to consider alternatives, scrutinize the fine details and at the same time see the big picture.
Remember, some of the most famous crimes were solved by forensic accountants – Al Capone, Bernie Madoff, Enron, Tyco, WorldCom – the list goes on. I can see it now…CPA CSI on CBS.
Business Development Director
Morey, Nee, Buck & Oswald, LLC
Great Expectations can be a Drag – Don’t Let Them be a Drag on Your BrandBy Kenneth C. Bator, MBA – Owner, BTC Small Business
At its core the primary tenet of any brand is perception – much like the old saying “perception is reality”. With perception comes expectations. When those expectations are continually exceeded it has some wonderful effects on the brand. When expectations continually fall short, it can be devastating.
The subject of expectations was a central point of a discussion I had with a colleague about a year ago. My wife and I did business with a company I met through one of my networking groups. This particular business regularly received accolades from other members of the group. Unfortunately, our experience was quite different from the reviews I heard and read. After a series of interactions that was quite less than positive, I made my displeasure known. I give my colleague, the marketing manager of this business, a lot of credit for addressing the problems head on.
He and I discussed our experience for over an hour. He explained how our experience was an exception and not the norm but was obviously irrelevant to our current perception. We also had a long conversation on how perception is reality in relation to the brand. Given his professionalism, he was truly concerned about learning the details of our experience. This was a sincere attempt to prevent these issues from happening again in order to preserve the company’s brand and reputation.
When closing our conversation, we discussed the key takeaways from our meeting. One of those key takeaways was setting the proper expectations. I explained that in our situation, the sales rep while professional set very high expectations for our experience. She continually commented on how easy our transactions were going to be. In reality they were just the opposite. Everything that could possibly go wrong did. In essence we were promised a beautiful tasty fudge sundae and what we received instead was a melted cup of frozen yogurt with a moldy piece of fruit at the bottom. Nothing hurts a brand more than broken promises and expectations that fall short.
My colleague and I agreed that any sales professional wants to earn the business. Painting a bleak picture of everything that could possibly go wrong would probably be contrary to closing the deal. Here are a few ways to maintain professionalism and the integrity of the brand while also setting realistic expectations:
Certainly paint a picture of the positive effects of using your product or service but also point out possible pitfalls. Instead of saying “This is going to be so easy for you” state “This is normally very straightforward. Every now and then we do hit a snag but we know how to rectify it if an unlikely event occurs.”
When something goes wrong be the advocate. The last thing a customer wants to hear is “This wasn’t our fault.” Even if it wasn’t, state “That’s unfortunate but it happens from time to time. We’re on it and we’ll make sure to work with you until this gets fixed to your satisfaction.” The former makes the client feel like he’s out on a limb by himself which creates nothing but animosity. The latter paints a picture that you are on that branch with the client helping both of you to get down safely.
Remember the old cliché in that problems really can be opportunities. It’s not uncommon for a customer to feel greater brand loyalty after a problem has been handled perfectly than if the transaction went according to plan.
Expectations are the essence of perception. Exceeding them consistently creates great brands. Teach staff to strive to create positive experiences in every situation to make your brand outshine that of your competition.
Main Number: 714-681-BTC1
Direct Line: 630-854-6380
How to Create Your WOW (your unique difference in the market place)
In my last installment I discussed understanding your ideal client . This month let’s talk about your WOW! What makes you unique and different from your competition.
What people really buy?
Your unique product/service
Your unique process
Your unique experience
Your unique people
Your unique guarantee
Your unique packaging/delivery
…..Against a problem
So when you are looking to differentiate yourself or trying to find your WOW it is not ;
The quality of your service – No one ever differentiates on bad service. Giving good service is something every business strives for
The depth of your knowledge with a product – When people are first out there looking for someone to work with, they have no way of experiencing your knowledge
Your longevity in business – While this may be important, it is not a differentiator. You could have been working with the same 5 clients for the last several years.
So the key to finding your WOW is to select one or more of these concepts
Do something that nobody in our industry is doing
Solve the greatest frustration of our ideal customers
Create an obvious innovation in our industry
Explore unique ways to package, price or deliver our products and services
Create a totally unique customer experience
Go back to the surveys you did with your existing ideal clients. Use that information along with the concept from above that you have chosen and create a description of your company.
Here’s what we have put together for Leading Results, use this as an example. :
Leading Results helps businesses stop wasting money on marketing and improve their business development results by putting POWER in their WOW. Your WOW is why you are different. The POWER is the Processes, Organizational Support, Why (you do what you do), Expertise and Refer-ability.
We work with both individual businesses and businesses related to a larger ecosystem, in helping you to be more effective and profitable. Our specialty is helping business-to-business product and services companies rediscover their WOW and then put the elements of POWER in place. You get strategy, tactics and execution.
Our client engagements are of two distinct styles. Corporate engagements; where we are working directly with you, the business stakeholder, to improve your business results. Or we are working with an ecosystem / network – working with a distributor or licensor to assist in improving the “last mile” results of their business partners.
In corporate engagements we work with you to support, refine and manage your business development efforts so your focus remains on running a profitable business and providing outstanding customer service.
For network engagements, we become an extension of the “home” office, helping the marketing team see improved results from programs and assets they have developed for partner use.
Leading Results is your marketing team. We are a passionate group that wants to help entrepreneurs and business owners be successful.
Our offices are in Charlotte, Boston, Philadelphia and Southern California and our clients are around the globe. For more information visit our website at http://www.LeadingResults.com.
You will want to take this 250 word description and pare it down to a 150 word description, a 400 character description and a 200 character description. Now you have great content to describe how you do things differently then your competitors.
You can use the larger description for your home page and the rest in different social media descriptions, etc.
Test them out on your ideal clients and friends. Amend as you need.
As always if you need help, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or pick up the phone and call at 484-313-4646.