Complacency Kills Success

Recently, I was given an opportunity to be a part of proposing for work with a new client. I learned many things during this process, but my biggest takeaway was a comment made by the company’s CFO.

At this point in the conversation, we were talking through the process of them changing accounting firms. We addressed the fact that we would reach out to their former firm regarding the inspection of work papers. Realizing this could be an awkward process, the CEO asked if that encounter was typically hostile. In response, the CFO said, “Well no, because we aren’t switching firms due to issues with quality of the work, we are switching because these guys specialize in working with companies like ours.”

That comment immediately struck me as significant. The point the CFO was making is that although that firm met expectations, met all the timelines and they were satisfied with the status quo, they still don’t specialize in the construction industry. They don’t provide insight or new ideas with regards to our business, and we cannot be sure that they are prepared to move us forward into the future. The other thing that caught my attention was that the entire management team was in complete understanding with the CFO’s response. They all understood that having an advisor and partner on your side who knows your business as well as the challenges and opportunities that come with it is critical. Not a single member of their management team had any rebuke to the CFO’s comment.

I took several lessons from that day, but the primary lesson was that we must have a sense of urgency about delivering value to our clients on a daily basis. We cannot get complacent due to past or current success. Even if we have a great client relationship, meet deadlines and even meet expectations—if we aren’t focused on delivering anticipatory insight, leveraging our experience and depth across the firm, and being proactive in advising and guiding clients, we will not reach our Full Potential as the Wise Firm. At the end of the day, our clients need to know that we are always there watching out for their best interests on matters affecting them currently and on issues that could affect them in the future.

HORNE is not here to meet expectations, we’re here to deliver unrivaled focused expertise to help our people, clients and communities reach their Full Potential.


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About the Author

Nick is a supervisor in construction services focused on financial statement preparation, customer relationship maintenance and process improvement and evaluation.  Fueled by his passion to #beEvenBetter, he encourages team members to seize every opportunity to share a positive attitude and an ownership mentality with their team and their clients.  




Topics: People Development, Anticipatory, Client Service

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