This time of year can be busy for advisers — especially this year, with the Labor Department's fiduciary rule implementation deadlines looming. But it’s also a great time to reflect on your accomplishments to date. Who helped you achieve your successes in 2016?

(Bloomberg News)
A coffee gift card can go a long way to showing your clients' kids you're grateful for their business. (Bloomberg News)

Sure, we all end our phone calls and e-mails with a thank you, but how can you go above and beyond to show your genuine appreciation?

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, here are five simple and impactful ways to demonstrate your gratitude.


In the age of e-mail and text messaging, the handwritten note is quickly becoming a lost art. Whether you want to thank a strategic alliance, a longstanding client, a referral source, or a particularly exceptional vendor, putting your sentiment in writing shows how much you value the relationship. (Bonus points for using festive fall-themed stationery or notecards.) For CPAs with whom you share clients, you could try a clever twist: send a thank-you letter on harvest-themed paper, emphasizing that you want to be on the same page for year-end tax loss harvesting.


December tends to be a busy month for holiday parties, so why not beat the rush by hosting a low-key fall event at your office? Invite clients to bring their kids or grandkids while they’re home for the holidays, and offer a Thanksgiving craft kit as a take-home favor. (Or, if you’re a real DIY enthusiast, set up an easy craft project that guests can complete during the event.) It’s a perfect opportunity to get introductions to clients’ family members and have them meet your team.


To show your gratitude to your community, consider donating food to a homeless shelter or nonprofit organization before Thanksgiving, or hosting a fall food drive in your office, inviting clients to bring in goods. When you deliver the donations, take pictures to share on your website or social media — or send them to local news outlets you’re familiar with — crediting clients, the team at the firm, and any local businesses that partnered with you for their generosity.


To thank your staff for all their efforts, brainstorm a fun fall activity to enjoy together outside of the office. If your employees are an outdoorsy crew, perhaps they’d like to go on a hike in your community or visit a local farm, wrapping up the excursion with hot cider and doughnuts. Taking a break from your daily routine is a great way to strengthen relationships among team members (and support other local businesses while you’re at it).


If your clients’ kids are home from college, send them a gift card from your local coffee shop to show how much you value working with their family. Attach the gift card to a note highlighting your top financial tips for millennials or to an article you think they’d find relevant. They may not need your services now, but it’s never too early to start building relationships (and good financial habits) with the next generation.

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