This client applied for the role of Assistant Compliance Officer in state (NSW) government and gained a job interview. Six selection criteria required addressing; a statement of four pages in length addressing the criteria was developed. Following is a full example of one of the criteria.

Demonstrated interpersonal skills, including the ability to manage difficult clients and negotiate outcomes.

On one occasion, I prepared a quarterly Business Activity Statement (BAS) for a new client who used MYOB and maintained his own records. The first step I took was in examining my client’s MYOB files to obtain the necessary information for preparing the BAS, and I immediately identified numerous mistakes. I decided the next and best approach was to make direct contact with this new client. Prior to doing so, I thought it best to gain some understanding about my client and to prepare a solid communication strategy. Viewing his profile provided me with knowledge of his experience in business trading and that he lacked experience in accounting and tax. Therefore, I was expecting to touch on some sensitive issues as I needed to advise him of the mistakes made. To avoid any disagreement and to convince him to let me fix the errors and prepare the BAS for him, I delivered the outcome carefully and sensitively by sharing my own personal experience with a similar situation in the past.

Subsequently, in my initial meeting with this client, I deliberately informed him of changes in the BAS as a result of the mistakes in the MYOB file. He was upset when I informed him of the errors as he considered himself to be very experienced and knowledgeable in his business. However, after explaining and sharing my own experience regarding BAS preparation, and the common mistakes I had made when I first worked with GST, he became less upset and more understanding of the situation. Thereafter, he commenced communicating openly with me on the difficulties he was having in recording transactions into MYOB. I also explained why the errors had occurred and how I was going to fix these; and I advised that fixing the GST errors may reduce the GST refund and it could save him incurring a larger bill from the ATO. Subsequently, he agreed and was satisfied with the explanation and used my services to prepare the BAS as discussed. Importantly, he developed trust in me and the professional service I provided. Furthermore, moving forward, he maintained regular contact with me to gain advice prior to planning new business opportunities or investments.

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Annie Cerone