Is a new accounting client the right choice for your practice?

August 8th 2022 | Posted by Dave Cross

Any accounting firm wants to ensure that it has a client base sufficient to enable it to thrive.

For some firms, especially those that are newly created, this makes it tempting to take on any client who makes an approach.

This is not the best path to take as it can lead to unsuccessful and unproductive accountant/client relationships which can in turn have a negative impact on the firm overall.

When saying “no” is the best idea

There are times when saying “no” to a prospective client is the best course of action. This should always be done professionally and politely in order to maintain a positive reputation for the firm.

Top accounting professionals understand when this process of turning down a prospective client makes sense. This is the case when the requirements of the client do not align with the services or strengths of the firm or when the demands of the client cannot reasonably be met without undermining the service provided to the current client base. It may also be the case that the ethos or aims of the client are not a good fit with the culture in the firm.

Put simply, a judgement call needs to be made when the potential client first approaches the firm. The decision has to be an unbiased and honest one that is in the best interests of the firm and of those working within it.

How to know if a client is right for your firm

There are around 275,000 accounting professionals in the UK and Ireland and they all have individual skills and strengths. When an accounting firm is considering taking on a new client it needs to understand the strengths of its team of professionals. If these do not fit with the needs of the client than a new relationship is unlikely to be a good fit.

The same applies if the client is likely to need more assistance than the firm can comfortably offer. If taking on a client causes unrealistic time pressures this can be damaging to individuals and to the firm overall.

There will also be times when decision makers within the firm are not comfortable with the motivations and ethos of a potential client. In all of these cases it makes sense to say “no” rather than face the prospect of working with a client who has a negative impact on the firm and its progression.

Being able to understand whether a new accounting client is the right choice for the business is something that successful firms are able to do. They also recognise the importance of turning clients down in a manner that is both professional and respectful. Doing this allows a firm to avoid the potential damage of taking on a client that is not the right choice while also maintaining a good reputation for excellence in the accounting industry.

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