Growing your accounting firm is a tremendous accomplishment. Even better, more cash flow coming in gives you the opportunity to grow your team, and thus have more hands on deck to take on new projects. As you continue to scale, however, it’s critical to ensure you’re selecting the right clients for your capacity, capabilities, and values. After all, biting off more than you can chew can lead to repercussions that could cost you your professional reputation. Below are some key things to look for when accepting new clients.
Do They Fit Your Company Culture?
Yes, even though prospective clients are not going to be your employees, they should still meet your standards in regards to mission, values, and behavior. Many CPA firms have made the mistake of working with clients who are, to put it frankly, aggressive and mean. It’s important to understand that clients like this aren’t just a problem in and of themselves; they will impact your firm’s culture as well. For instance, if you have worked hard to build a small, collaborative accounting firm, and find yourself needing to hire extra staff to accommodate the client’s demeanor and demands, it will mar the vision you have already worked towards. (It won’t help office morale, either.)
Do You Have Shared Goals?
An ideal CPA-client relationship should feel like a true partnership, where opportunities are equally beneficial and there is respect and determination on both sides. No matter how big or impressive a prospect is, if your company goals are different, the relationship might be an uphill climb. Try to discover if a prospective client is purely cost-driven; if they have more specific objectives other than simply “growth”, and if they are open to new or innovative solutions. All these traits indicate a client that is worth your time and energy.
Do They Fit with Your Core Competencies?
As tempting as it is to accept every client that walks in the door, it’s important to give yourself an honest, straightforward evaluation, and accept that you cannot be everything to all people. If your firm specializes in one area, and not another, be honest with yourself and with the prospect. It may be better for you to only accept clients which you can serve with confidence.
Work with Clients Who Value and Respect Your Craft
Try to choose clients that see the value in what you do, and who understand why you do it. This will lead to a strong, thriving relationship where you can focus on the end goal rather than having to justify what you are doing every step of the way. If you are serving a client that sees your services as unnecessary or “easy”, it will only cause problems down the road.
Simplify Your Client Relationship with ImagineTime’s Client Portal for CPAs
If your firm is still communicating with clients via text or email, you are at risk for a cybersecurity breach that could cost you tens of thousands in legal fines. Instead, consider investing in an encrypted client portal that will protect your client data and keep it all in one convenient place. The Client Portal also makes it easy to communicate with your clients, and automatically records all communication for future reference. To learn more about ImagineTime’s client portal software, click here!
ImagineTime has provided practice management software solutions for accountants, CPAs, and attorneys for over 20 years. To learn more about who we are and what we do, please click here.