4 Common Challenges in Accountant-Client Relationships

Customer satisfaction is one of the mandatory features of a successful accounting firm. If you can satisfy existing customers, they will refer new customers. Thus, your accounting business will grow and prosper.

But, satisfying a client is a difficult task for Finchley accountants and others. The counting forms need to consider a client relationship similar to a partnership.

Accountants meet with customers who are easy-going, calm, and receptive. But, some of them are difficult to handle. As a professional, you need to distinguish between

  • Who is truly difficult to handle;
  • Who is challenging but is extremely important for your firm.

Four common challenges in the accountant-client relationship

At times, accountants need to deal with burdensome clients. These clients can be of aggressive personalities or frequent complainers. Professionals can solve problems with better communication and clear expectations. Here are four common challenges that an accountant can encounter and solve:

1.   Different expectations from the service you provide.

As an accountant, you might be delivering monthly bank reconciliation. But, your client considers you a Chief Financial Officer. They expect weekly financial planning and advice from you, that too, included within the monthly bookkeeping fee.

This sort of problem arises when the engagement letter is not clear. Also, it may happen if there is no service level agreement. Poor communication between the accountant and clients may be a reason too.

You can find sample SLAs online that fit your needs. Also, have a clear conversation with the clients about your services, fees, and expectations. That will help you avoid headaches later.

2.   Unrealistic timelines.

You will face clients who wait until the 11th hour to deliver you information. And, they want you to complete the job within the deadline. Handling rush projects causes unnecessary stress. Therefore, you need to define your client the required time to complete their work.

Do not try to over promise or under deliver. Always try to keep your lines of communication open with clients, and set an expectation that is reasonable and attainable.

3.   Problems related to payment.

Clients are not ever about the tasks performed by the accountant. Therefore, they constantly try to negotiate a lower fee, even when you mentioned the service fees in the contract. Also, you may meet a client who does not pay you at all. To avoid such scenarios, you need to discuss the value of your services while talking about fees. Don’t reduce your service fee for them. But cut off unnecessary services that they don’t want. Clients who do not want to compromise with services will pay you for the whole package.

4.   Clients are not responsive.

Accountants need to deal with unresponsive clients, where they need constant reminders to provide you with necessary information. It disrupts your workflow and cash flow, as you need to wait for them. Accounting firms need to speak with clients about the consequences of such behavior and mention it in the contract.

Who are bothersome clients? How can you handle them?

A bothersome client creates an unwanted or uncomfortable experience for an accountant while offering services. These customers have extremely troublesome habits.

The types of bothersome customers are:

●      Aggressive: These customers try to impose different viewpoints on accountants and are very particular about deadlines. They get angry quickly and are verbally abusive.

●      Smart-aleck: These customers consider themselves intelligent and know the answer for everything. They are highly critical and are difficult for an accountant to handle.

●      Faultfinder: They complain about everything and even find faults in perfect things.

●    Hesitating clients: They can never come up with a decision and keep asking questions about the right services, prices, and quality.

It may be challenging to deal with such clients due to their demanding behavior. An accounting firm must ensure proper problem-solving skills to tackle hard-to-deal customers. An accountant needs to listen to what a client says. Then, try to understand their problem and come up with proper solutions.

Even after providing your best efforts, if you find the relationship between you and your client is not improving, it’s time to part ways. To fire a client, you can send an email and have a telephonic conversation. Then, you must return all the original documents of the client immediately.

Final thought!

Every business sector needs to deal with clients and satisfy them. You need to have an open conversation with them and find their difficulties. Your clients deserve a positive attitude and the best solution to their issues.

Lastly, try your best to maintain a proper accountant-client relationship. Always remember a good conversation is a key to closing the best deals.

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