Many accounting firms let their clients dictate how the business relationship will work.
This may be evident in relation to:
- The scheduling and timing of work
- The quality of work received from the client
- Client responsiveness to queries
- How scope creep issues are addressed
- The invoicing and debtor collection process
Do you control client relationships or do clients control you?
The new financial year is the perfect time to ‘re-engage’ clients in relation to scope of work, fees, payment terms and the scheduling of work. By clearly outlining the terms of the relationship, you can actually significantly improve the quality of the client relationship.
The best way to do this is to send all of your clients a ‘re-engagement’ letter. This letter should simply and succinctly outline:
- The scope of work (detailed)
- The value of the work to be completed
- The expected fee (or fee range) for service
- Timing of invoicing and payment policy
- When work is scheduled
It’s also a great opportunity to outline mutual commitments in relation to delivery of information and ongoing communication. For example,
Our commitment to you is:
- We will give you all the guidance, systems, processes and information needed to help you achieve your objectives and business value.
- We will meet the agreed project deadline.
- Should the scope of this engagement change, we will discuss the proposed extra fees with you before we commence this work.
- If circumstances beyond our control affect this timetable, we will keep you informed of the revised timetable.
Your commitment to us is:
- You will meet the payment terms as specified.
- You will implement everything that you commit to, unless of course there are extenuating circumstances that make it impossible to do so.
- You will not disclose any information provided to you including this implementation plan that is intellectual property in nature to any other business.
- You will provide access to people or information as agreed or requested.
- You will respond to inquiries, information requests or communication promptly.
- You will inform us immediately if there are any internal or external changes which may affect the successful completion of this project.
What’s preventing you from implementing this strategy?
Managers and partners may express concern that a ‘new’ approach to annual engagement may unsettle or even disappoint clients. It’s important that clients are advised of the reasons for the changes – to improve the efficiency of work, to create more time to really add value to the client relationship and to be paid in a timely manner for work completed. These are all reasonable expectations.
Attend our upcoming online training session
“Your NFY Client Re-Engagement Program – How to effectively establish new ground rules for client engagement”
If you’d like to implement step by step process to really take control of your client relationships in the New Year through a re-engagement process that works, you may be interested in our recorded online session.
Take control of your clients, click here
Written by Dale Crosby – Training Beyond Accounting www.trainingbeyondaccounting.com.au