Board of education: Client advisory board implementation action plan

BY JEFF DREW

Editor's note: Also read " Board of education: CPA firms, businesses can profit from clients' advice ," in the Jan. 2012 issue of the JofA.

Here is a step-by-step client advisory board implementation plan developed by the AICPA’s Private Companies Practice Section. More client advisory board tools are available to PCPS members at tinyurl.com/3m3tvqd.

Action Result
1 Obtain buy-in from the owner group on implementing a client advisory board (CAB). Sets the tone at the top and provides a consistent message through the firm
2 Assign a board champion and give him or her the tools provided in this section. One point person for the management of the system outside the partner group for a consistent result
3 Meet with the partner group to establish the date of the first board meeting, determine ideal board size and intended invitees. Assign partner group the responsibility of inviting members. Starts the planning process
4 Ensure that partners make appropriate invite calls (provide partners invitation scripts) and have partners forward contact information to the board champion. Creates a well-rounded board based on personal relationships
5 Establish proper venue to fit all attendees and determine proper number of firm representatives to attend the before and/or after reception. Provides for a well-planned event and optimal networking volume
6 Send confirmation letters (or emails) to all confirmed board members that include venue details, expectations of the meeting, length of meeting, etc. Ensures that board members have what they need to participate
7 Decide on outside facilitator or inside facilitator for the meeting. Meet with the facilitator to discuss their role and responsibilities and dates of meetings. Provide the facilitator meeting scripts and questions. Determines how the meetings will flow and who will be responsible for what during the meetings
8 Confirm firm personnel necessary to attend the before and/or after reception for all meeting dates. Ensures the correct ratio of firm members to board members will be present
9 Prepare for the initial meeting by taking care of all the details such as preparing the meeting agenda, having a tape recorder, securing a small gift for each attendee, and setting food and beverage, etc. Meets the essentials of event planning
10 Coordinate and hold the initial meeting. Ensure the table is set up properly, food and drinks are provided, people are networking and talking to each other and that each attendee has a copy of the agenda. Move attendees from the cocktail portion to the live meeting, where the facilitator will take over. Confirms all meeting details and ensures that the networking is occurring smoothly
11 Facilitate the initial meeting. Guarantees the appropriate direction and sentiment of the meeting, as well as allows all members to be heard
12 Review facilitator notes and tapes for takeaways the firm should look at implementing and set an action plan before the next meeting. Provides for discussion of acquired feedback, a place to start the next meeting and the ultimate result of the CAB, which is a plan to improve/grow/change

13 (see 9)

Prepare for the inside meeting(s) by taking care of all the details such as preparing the meeting agenda and action plan, having a tape recorder, food and beverage set, etc.
14 (see 10) Coordinate and hold the inside meeting(s). Ensure the table is set up properly, food and drinks are provided, people are networking and talking to each other and that each attendee has a copy of the agenda. Move attendees from the cocktail portion to the live meeting, where the facilitator will take over.
15 (see 11) Facilitate the inside meeting(s).
16 (see 12) Review facilitator notes and tapes for takeaways the firm should look at implementing and set an action plan before the next meeting.
17 (see 9) Prepare for the final meeting by having a firm presentation ready displaying firm accomplishments from the advisory board recommendations. Also take care of other details such as preparing the meeting agenda and action plan, having a tape recorder, food and beverage set, etc.
18 (see 10) Coordinate and hold the final meeting. Ensure the table is set up properly, food and drinks are provided, people are networking and talking to each other and that each attendee has a copy of the agenda. Move attendees from the cocktail portion to the live meeting, where the facilitator will take over.
19 (see 11) Facilitate the final meeting.
20 Conduct an after-action review of the advisory board process and make improvements for the next board, develop a firm implementation action plan and start preparing for the next board. Allows the firm an opportunity to evaluate the system and tweak any part of the process that should be changed

Source: AICPA’s Private Companies Practice Section’s client advisory board toolkit, tinyurl.com/3m3tvqd.

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