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Questions from the Intern: Importance of Communication in Accounting

Effective communication keeps everyone on the same page. In an accounting, tax an d consulting office setting with constant interruptions, it is extremely important that communication is concise, direct, and clear. Poor communication leads to assumptions, or worse, incorrect information. An assumption at one point can lead to a complete misunderstanding down the road, and incorrect information just accelerates this process. With so much expertise spread across different people, the only way we can deliver our service to the client is by pooling that expertise through communication. With poor communication, however, that expertise goes to waste.

When communicating with clients, professionalism should be the first priority. Clients expect us to have experts in accounting who have a thorough understanding of how to approach their accounting needs. Any mistakes in grammar, spelling, or information can tarnish any kind of reputation. Accounting is a profession keenly focused on details, so it is important that clients see that we are detail oriented.

In speaking with Trevor McCandless, CPA, CEO, he emphasized the importance of internal and external communication.

  • Internal communication - he likes to begin each week with an internal meeting with the entire staff to discuss priority projects and deadlines. As the week progresses, he stresses that it is vital that team members communicate questions, concerns, and provide each other with updates so that projects continue to progress timely.
  • External communication - Trevor also stresses the importance of keeping clients updated on project progress regularly. Sometimes this may be as simple as providing the client with a summary of Open Items and reminders therein. It also involves using project foresight to provide clients with expected completion timelines.

Trevor encourages the team to take the extra second to document research and communicate the insight. It is important that everyone understands the logic and treatment that is used in each particular situation.