Now more than ever, people are turning to former clients and online reviews for recommendations on goods and services. Consumers are trusting evaluations by others simply because large numbers of favorable reviews are a quick and easy discriminator, separating a product or service provider worth considering from those who are not.

With almost all consumer marketplaces showing product reviews and vendor reviews, service providers (including accountants) need to “up” their game and demonstrate that other clients have already used their services and liked what was provided to them.

Testimonials should always be written by the clients themselves and not edited for spelling, grammar, and reading level. Shortening a testimonial is not a problem as long as the overall tone of the testimonial is not changed by eliminating sections. For example, if your accounting practice appeals to the average individual, the language showcased by former clients will convey to others that the author of the testimonial is a regular person, not a business school professor. If, on the other hand, your clientele is highly technical and holds advanced degrees, then the vocabulary used in the testimonial will convey that.

Potential clients have become skilled (in part because of personal experience on Amazon, eBay, Walmart and others) at deciphering real testimonials from those that are fabricated. Seek out those who are genuinely your greatest fans and ask them to write a testimonial for you and your business. Many clients will be honored that you asked… and depending on the circumstances, they may even share their moment of in the spotlight with others, effectively referring you to their friends and family.

Because of the confidential nature of tax and financial matters, great care must be taken to protect the identity of the person providing the testimonial as well as the details of their situation. An effective approach is to use only the client's initials or first name and their town or county. For example, - BR, Morris County, - JD, Parsippany.

Here are some sample testimonials (admittedly fabricated) to show you how we would present them:

  • We had dreamed of retiring and opening up a small restaurant. NJCW helped us plan for this moment. Our restaurant opens next month and we are so excited! Thank you so much and yes, I would highly recommend you to anyone looking for a CPA!

    - A&B, Parsippany
  • My partner and I were very uncomfortable discussing what would happen to our business if one of us passed away. John advised us that "creating a buy/sell agreement with two life insurance policies paid by the business would protect each other." I had always assumed that my wife would take over if something happenend to me. But that wasn't viable for my wife or my partner. Now both my wife and my partner don't have to face this.

    - LN, May 2017
  • When I received a certified letter from the IRS, I knew it was bad, I just didn't know how bad. Instead of paying our payroll taxes, my former business partner had used the funds for his gambling debts. I immediately contacted Jeff at NJCW, and in short order, he arranged a payment plan so we had the time to fulfill our obligation. I'm so grateful that this situation didn't destroy my business thanks to Jeff. We are forever in your debt.

    - JD (initials changed), New Jersey