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How to Keep Your Accounting Clients From Constantly Following Up?

Maanoj Shah
Posted by Maanoj Shah on May 20, 2024 3:00:00 PM

Sometimes, despite you giving clear instructions and deadlines, your clients won’t cease asking for a “status update.” For accounting firms, especially when the team is under a lot of duress, following up can cause additional pressure.

Client relationships, just like any other relationship, can be challenging. Miscommunication, unrealistic expectations, and personality differences are bound to surface every now and then.

Both parties need to strengthen their relationship to avoid unnecessary follow-ups. This helps improve client loyalty, drives profitability, and reduces unnecessary stress.

Before getting frustrated with clients for following up, it is important to remind yourself that they are your paying customers and have every right to ask questions. To develop long-lasting client relationships, accounting firm leaders must build up an effective checking-in method so clients feel like you are serving their needs.

Managing client expectations to avoid extra follow-ups

Setting boundaries right from the beginning helps avoid miscommunication and stress and reduces the chances of a strained relationship. A disturbed partnership impacts clients and hinders a firm’s job performance, profitability, and morale.

A strong relationship is built on good communication and transparency so that when you inform your clients of any progress or bad news, they are not surprised. Proactive communication with clients helps ease their anxiety and need to follow up constantly.

Tips to keep your clients happy and off your back

Step into your clients' shoes when you decide how to keep them off your back. With the right strategies, you can keep your clients happy without tarnishing the relationship.

1. Set clear expectations right from the beginning

This process is important at every step of your relationship with your client. When you onboard a new one, clearly outline the services you will be providing, the expected timelines, any expected limitations, or any support you might need from them. Discuss payment terms and communication preferences to avoid misunderstandings. Remember, there will always be clients who want more than what they pay. Set strategies to tackle them right at the beginning and avoid any bitterness later.

2. Communicate regularly

Regular communication does not mean you must set up a long meetings or see them face-to-face on a daily basis. It means you keep them updated on the progress of tasks. Sometimes, unforeseen situations may come up, so it is important to update your clients as soon as they occur. Build channels of communication early on and nurture them. The key is not to wait for the client to ask for an update on their accounts, especially during peak season. Being proactive can put their minds at ease and strengthen the relationship. It helps build faith and gives them the confidence to turn to you during crises.

3. Maintain transparency in reporting

Acknowledge that you are not an internal member of your client’s team. You need to ensure better transparency with them so they can trust you. Consider introducing task management software that makes your team's work easier and enables clients to track your progress in real-time. If you are not yet equipped to go to such levels, start the process of reports—clear, understandable Excel reports. These should also answer the prospective questions your clients might have. Adopting a culture of transparency helps build a better rapport with the clients and alleviates last-moment hassle.

4. Make your clients aware

Your clients may not know everything, especially about the accounting side of things, which is exactly why they hired you. However, while not knowing practically is fine, the clients need basic theoretical knowledge. Take time to educate them on the basics and how you do what you do. You can hand out FAQs or create video tutorials that make understanding your business easier. Clients should understand the reasoning behind certain decisions, especially if you are an advisory body. When they have this basic understanding, they trust your judgment and don’t feel the need to micromanage.

5. Provide value-added services

If you want to stay ahead of your competition, it is important to do more than provide basic accounting services. When clients hire an accounting firm, most of the time, they are looking for someone who can provide holistic services—financial planning, budget advice, tax optimization strategies, and audit services being some of them. As an accounting firm owner, it is essential to employ strategies that allow you to demonstrate your expertise right from the beginning. This will help strengthen the client relationship and make them question your approaches less.

6. Provide proactive solutions to their issues

If you have been an accounting firm owner for a while now, you will know a thing or two about the issues that might arise in the foreseeable future. Instead of waiting for your clients to come to you with problems, you can help them stay prepared and ease your work by providing them with alternative solutions well in advance. If you continue to see a pattern of the problem, it might be a good time to rethink your strategies. Offering solutions before your clients have a chance to become frustrated or unhappy can go a long way in retaining them.

Keeping your clients happy the right way

Being an accounting firm owner is just one part of a successful business. Making sure that the clients are happy with your services is another ballgame. The amount of work you must do to deliver on time, meet all deadlines, and keep the clients happy can be daunting. By outsourcing your accounting practice, you can relieve your team from recurring, manual, boring tasks and focus on more important things, like client satisfaction. Outsourcing gives you abundant time and helps you pose as an expert in the field. Outsourcing experts come with years of experience, expertise, and different accounting niches that help you set up for success.

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Topics: Practice Management


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