Jargon-Busting: How to Speak the Language of Your Clients

A recent shift in the accounting industry has caused reverberations that have spread far and wide. With changes to the typical client offering, and an increase in fintech solutions, the modern world of accounting is a far cry from the old stereotype of pencil pushers and desk jockeys.

speaking to clients

But what has remained intact is the importance of establishing, and maintaining, good client relationships. Formed on a basis of communication and honesty, these relationships determine the character and reputation of your firm.

In order to have these conversations, it’s necessary to avoid using too much jargon – or overcomplicated language. But how do you avoid it? And how do you listen out for the everyday concerns of your clients?

What is jargon?

Linguistically, jargon can be defined as a sociolect – which means that it’s a language used by a specific class, group, or profession. So, by very definition, accounting “jargon” ostracises those that don’t speak it.

For most accountants and bookkeepers, it’s second nature to use technical language when speaking to clients or colleagues. And using acronyms just keeps things moving faster, imho. In a lot of ways, jargon can be a good thing.

But, being aware of the language you use is important, just as it’s important to know your audience.

Yet, when under time constraints, dealing with particularly tricky accounts – or even trickier clients – you can easily fall into the trap of using unnecessarily complicated language.

speaking to clients

It’s this language that can lead to feelings of confusion and disillusionment for your clients. This, in turn, can culminate in less engagement with you, your firm, and most importantly with their numbers.

It is the curse of knowledge that can often lead to the use of highly complex language. Terms that are commonplace to you, even particularly simple, can alienate a client. For some, when you use technical terms, you may as well be speaking in tongues.

In the past, maintaining the position as a financial savant was accepted – even encouraged. Clients wanted to to be in safe hands with someone that knew what they were talking about – even if they didn’t.

But the world has since moved on. Relationships between accountants and clients are becoming more balanced, and business owners no longer wish to feel distanced from their numbers.

How better communication can help your clients

Having a simple conversation with your client about their business, their finances, and their stresses, can be incredibly illuminating.

Being the trusted advisor means being an active member of your clients’ financial team. Spotting corners to cut, and cash-saving skills, are no longer enough in the world of modern accounting.

Instead, accountants must read between the lines. Concerns over payroll, making it to the end of the quarter, and everything in between could be masking other issues.

Speaking the language of your client can often mean that you understand their concerns before you even lay eyes on their forecasts or projections. It’s essential to understand that speaking your clients’ language is a form of data collection that can’t be replicated in any kind of cloud-based app, nevermind a spreadsheet.

How Float can help you to cut out the jargon

Float is an award-winning cash flow tool that can make forecasting far simpler, and more visual, than a traditional numbers-heavy spreadsheet.

Providing the ability to create ‘what if’ scenarios, Float can bridge the gap between the understanding of the business owner and the knowledge of the accountant or bookkeeper.

Float’s visual graph allows clients with little financial know-how, in just seconds, to understand the impact of their business plans on their cash flow. With an understanding of the cash they have in the bank now, and in the future, means more productive and effective conversations can be had about business finance.

 

Wanting to be heard and understood is natural. So make sure that your clients understand everything that’s being said to them. Don’t let miscommunication be your lingua franca.

To see for yourself what Float can do for you and your clients, sign up for your free account today!

 

Catriona Bane

Marketing Executive with an encyclopaedic knowledge of Harry Potter and a profound love of coffee.