Recently, I was on the phone with a new client who was about halfway through the onboarding process. As we were talking, I noticed that the client kept needlessly apologizing for things. She apologized for not having answers, for not having certain information she felt she should know, and for just about every time that she had to answer a question with, “I don’t know.”
I finally asked, “Why do you feel the need to apologize? You’re not a professional bookkeeper or financial manager. You know that and you’re ready to make some changes, which is why you’ve hired us to help. We are going to improve the situation and get your organization ready for the next level. Together.”
My client let out a big sigh and sounded tearful as she replied, “Thank you for saying that. Thank you for your kindness. I am apologizing so much because others in my past have not been as kind, and it’s been a huge frustration and slightly depressing. So thank you for being so kind.”
Sadly, I am quite used to hearing this sort of story. This person, a long-time, successful nonprofit leader, had been so beaten down by messages that were unkind that it had eroded her own sense of self and confidence in the area of finance.
There’s a lot of back and forth, give and take in the beginning of any new relationship, and especially so when we are in the early stages of a new client relationship. We must have honest, candid conversations with the client about things like: what’s working (or not working) in their existing finance workflow; what processes need improvement; what accounting systems are broken and why.
These early talks can lead to all sorts of difficult conversations about staff or board dynamics, cash flow issues, and other sensitive topics where leaders often carry a little excess baggage. If we’re not open and kind during this early phase, we could potentially miss out on information or insights that will help us serve you better.
There is more and more research out there that indicates exercising kindness makes for stronger, more effective leadership and teams. But that’s not why we’re kind. We’re kind because we care, not only about your business but also about you as a person. A great business strategy for us? Sure. But at the end of the day, we’re humans serving other humans all day long. And we’re kind because we believe, quite simply, that we should be.
About: Our team at Blue Fox provides customized, boutique financial and back office services for social impact organizations. Services range from standard bookkeeping and payroll services, to coaching and consulting, to full-blown virtual CFO services. Our mission is to disrupt the traditional accounting model through technology, innovation, and a radically client-focused approach that truly empowers nonprofits and social enterprises. For more information call (321) 233-3311, email email@example.com, and visit www.YourBlueFox.com.
Author: Founder & CEO, the Original Blue Fox, Chantal Sheehan, MS, CFP(r)
Welcome to the Blue Fox Blog! A fairly entertaining source of info and news related to our company, nonprofits, social sector trends, and, of course, accounting. Enjoy!
Double-entry Accounting Made Easy - Essential Desktop Guide, Free Download
Blue Fox CEO Named
As Keynote Speaker for Nonprofit Hub's Cause Camp 2020
The Ultimate Nonprofit Finance Checklist for Giving Season
5 Steps to Solving Complex Workflow Problems
The Hidden Cost of Wearing Too Many Hats
The Key to Workplace Success - Investments in Professional Development
Accounts Payable Made Easy - The Marriage of Bill.com and QuickBooks Online
Nonprofits - It's Time to Automate Your Back Office
How to Engage Your Board of Directors in Financial Conversations
How to Join the Social Enterprise Movement
Kindness Leads to More Profit & Productivity
Don’t Ignore This Nonprofit Management Advice
Building Blocks for A More Just, Equitable, and Inclusive Work Environment
QB Tip of the Month: How to Use Classes for Painless Grant Writing
Nonprofit Leaders - Talk Finance and Empower Your Staff
When to Hire An Accountant for Your Social Impact Org
Why Outsource Your Accounting?
That Time I Went to Cause Camp
Impact Investments in Yourself
Are You Paying Too Much for Payroll?
Financial Dashboards - Capture Attention, Create Conversations, Drive Results!
Don't Let FinTech Scare You - Our Top 4 Back Office Tech
The Wonderful World of Micro-Donating!
The Case for Kindness in Business
How Nonprofits Build Donor Trust: Be Transparent
5 New Year’s Resolutions for Sustainable Nonprofits
Why We’re on a Mission to Help Conservation Organizations
Money Matters - So Why Aren’t More Nonprofits Talking About It?
Tips to Get You A Clean Audit Every Year
Blue Fox Teams Up With Bloomerang to Develop Nonprofit Resources
Blue Fox Earns Better Business Bureau Accreditation
Blue Fox Launches Protected By Logo
Blue Fox - The Origin Story