4 What Do You Do?

So here we are at the second question on the Value Ladder™, which is “What do you do?” I’ve described this question as one of the fundamental questions of life. You meet someone and, invariably at some point in the conversation, one person looks at the other and curiously asks, “So, what do you do?”

“Well, I’m a CPA,” you might say. Or you might say, “I’m an accountant, and I work for one of the accounting firms in town (or in the area, city, community, and so on).” You answered the question, and you know that people are familiar with the work of CPAs. However, did you really distinguish yourself? Did you really explain or describe what you or your firm members do as CPAs? Did you give any sense of the value that you provide to your clients? Probably not, if you are like most CPAs.

Did you ever stop to consider how many CPAs there are in the United States? In fact, there are more than 350,000 members of the AICPA, and roughly half of them are in public practice. In the United States alone, all the CPAs would fill the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, the new Cowboys Stadium, the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, and Rich Stadium in the beautiful Buffalo area. (Forgive me for my hometown bias because I am a long term masochistic Buffalo Bills season ticket holder!) So, what’s the point, you say?

We’ve all agreed in earlier chapters that people perceive the business as more commoditized. You need to stand out. Many firms are offering value added services based on the specialized ...

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