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Category: Advisory and Consulting

The Six Levels of Relationships: Where are Yours?

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By Andrew Sobel, Big4 Guest Blogger

There are six levels of professional relationships that you should be naturally moving your clients through.

The first two are pre-client:

Level 1: Contact

This is the starting point. We meet someone, have a brief conversation, and exchange business cards. We may stay in touch over the years, but there is little interaction. The individual is primarily [...]


The Importance Of A Doubting Mind

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By Andrew Sobel, Big4 Guest Blogger

“I used to work for an old-fashioned rainmaker,” a client of mine once told me. “He had that ‘take-no-prisoners’ approach to sales and customer relationships. His motto was, ‘Sometimes wrong, never in doubt.’”

Never in doubt, indeed. It’s one thing to have deep-seated conviction about your views, quite another to obscure the truth with overconfidence and [...]


Follow the Person, Not the Position

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By Andrew Sobel, Big 4 Guest Blogger

A client of mine was promoted to a very senior position in a large, Fortune-100 company. She had been the deputy in her area, and was now at the top. She told me that the day her promotion was announced in the newspapers, she got dozens of calls from suppliers wanting to do [...]


What Leadership Development Lessons Can We Learn From 9/11?

What leadership development lessons can we learn from how leaders at all levels responded on 911

On the morning of 9/11/2001 leaders at all levels around the world needed to respond to a situation unlike any before

On the morning of September 11, 2001 and the days that followed leaders at all levels of business and government faced a situation unlike anything experienced before. During a crisis people turn to their leaders, formal and informal, [...]


Your Business Has Only One Purpose—Are You Focused on it?

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By Andrew Sobel, Big4 Guest Blogger

Peter Drucker had an unparalleled ability to capture the essence of what’s important in management. In 1973, he wrote: “Because the purpose of business is to create and keep a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs.”

We all know, of [...]


The Three Types Of Independence You Must Cultivate With Clients

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By Andrew Sobel, Big4 Guest Blogger

You need to cultivate and exercise three kinds of independence from your clients:

Intellectual independence. Sometimes, advisors and service providers forget that one of the reasons they are being employed is to provide independent perspectives. They want to be supportive of a client at every stage of the relationship, and sometimes this desire compromises intellectual integrity. [...]


The extraordinary Harry Hopkins–President Roosevelt’s most Trusted Advisor

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By Andrew Sobel, Big4 Guest Blogger

In January of 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt invited Wendell Wilkie, who had lost his own bid for the presidency the year before, to visit him at the White House. Sitting in front of the fireplace in the Oval Office, Wilkie steered the topic of conversation to Harry Hopkins, who was Roosevelt’s most trusted advisor.

Hopkins [...]


The Secret to Winning Your Next Sales Pitch

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By Andrew Sobel, Big4 Guest Blogger

Clients hate sales pitches. You probably do, too. How do you like to sit still while someone presents PowerPoint slides to you?

Clients don’t like boring pitches, but they love to learn. So turn your next sales presentation into a collaborative, value-added session for the client. Role model what it would be like to actually work with you [...]


Values And Direction Generate Employee Engagement And Strong Organizations

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By Michael VanBruaene, Big4.com Guest Blogger

Focusing on having the best products/services and processes will not be sufficient for your organization’s optimal effectiveness and long term success.  You must also address the human element of your organization, i.e. how to fully engage your employees and their talents. 

For effective employee engagement with highly productive and committed interaction and [...]


Eight Reasons Why You Lose Clients – And What To Do About It (Part II)

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By Andrew Sobel, Big4 Guest Blogger

Sometimes client relationships end for appropriate reasons. But you never want a good relationship to end avoidably.

In Part I of this article I described four of the eight most common reasons why client relationships end. These were:

1. A reorganization or executive [...]


CEO’s/Executives – How To Evaluate And Improve Your Organization And Yourself

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By Michael VanBruaene, Big4.com Guest Blogger

CEO’s and Executives should annually evaluate their performance in key organizational areas and also plan for the upcoming year.   How did the organization improve in key areas and how do you plan to improve and move the organization forward in the upcoming year?

The results of self-evaluation can also be the basis [...]


Career Strategy Should Be A Dynamic Process And Focused On How We Want To Live

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By Michael VanBruaene, Big4.com Guest Blogger

Career strategy should be an ongoing process that reflects the dynamic nature of our personal lives, our work and the world.  It should not be something akin to an exercise resulting in specific objectives and actions, rather it should bring into focus how we might best live and be ready to [...]


Eight Reasons Why You Lose Clients – And What To Do About It (Part I)

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By Andrew Sobel, Big4 Guest Blogger

The playwright Oscar Wilde defined a gentleman as someone who “is never unintentionally rude.” Likewise, you never want to have a good client relationship end unintentionally and without a sound reason.

Unfortunately, relationships often avoidably come to an end. Clients usually just vote with their feet and don’t carefully explain to you why they [...]


The Beatles Principles: Lessons in Innovation and Client Loyalty from the Most Successful Band in History

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By Andrew Sobel, Big4 Guest Blogger

The Beatles sold over one billion records and forever changed the face of pop music. As a team, they were able to create a whole that was greater than the sum of the parts. Together, they composed better music than they ever could have or did as solo artists. What did they do to accomplish this, [...]


Specialists Do Better Than Generalists. But Deep Generalists Do Even Better.

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By Andrew Sobel, Big4 Guest Blogger

The new wisdom is: Become a visible expert in a niche. If you do you’ll command high fees and be sought after. You’ll get noticed. You’ll out-compete generalists.

All true.

But even more true is this: Add some breadth to your depth, and then you’ll really shine. I call it the deep generalist. (Actually, someone else suggested [...]