Becoming a ‘trusted advisor.’ By Sandi Smith Leyva The Accountant’s Accelerator Here’s a question: What portion of your revenues are derived from compliance work – e.g., tax preparation and IRS representation; bookkeeping; QuickBooks setup, cleanup and training; payroll; and audit work – versus value-added work, e.g., revenue improvement, business consulting, profit margin analysis and workflow improvement projects? If you answered 100 percent compliance work and no value-added services, you’re not alone. There’s a lot of lip service about moving from compliance services to becoming a “trusted advisor.” There’s an equal amount of confusion in how to get started. Here are a few tips to help those of you who want to move in that direction.
By Sandi Smith Leyva The Accountant’s Accelerator How you welcome your new client can set the tone for a relationship that could last for years or in the worst of cases, just days. Start out on the right foot by looking super-organized (because that’s part of why we get hired anyway) and making it super-easy for a client to get on board with you. The best vehicle for this is a welcome kit. Here are eight things that should be in your kit at a minimum:
Plus five more clauses you might want to consider. By Ed Mendlowitz 101 Questions and Answers QUESTION: You state on the bottom of your invoice that you charge 1.5% for balances over 60 days. Do you actually implement that or is it just warning? Do you do it on all clients or just some? Do clients pay that or complain? If they send in payment without that, do you write off the finance charge or leave it open?
By Ed Mendlowitz 101 Questions and Answers for Managing an Accounting Practice QUESTION: A former client wrote me a letter threatening to sue me for bad services. I did nothing wrong and actually did a great job and they still owe me money. What should I do? RESPONSE: Walk away! Ignore the threat. Don’t respond. Stop billing them. And go about your business. Life is too short to get tied up in dissipating actions. It is rare to run a business without getting stuck from someone.
How to build a plan. By Ed Mendlowitz 101 Questions and Answers for Managing an Accounting Practice QUESTION: I want to start growing my practice but am having trouble defining my target client. I tend to accept every client I can and seem to have clients all over the place. Is there anything I can do to better target my “ideal” clients? ANSWER: To have a target client means you have a target. The target is the result of a plan. So, what is your plan?
The thought and calculation that goes into pruning a client list. By Ed Mendlowitz “Tax Season Opportunity Guide“ QUESTION: I want to clean out my client list of small tax clients because I am just too jammed during tax season, and don’t have enough business to hire someone. Should I just drop the lowest-paying 10% of my clients? RESPONSE: I never like dropping clients unless you just can’t stand them and are losing money on them and they never referred any new business to you. However, there are times when it is smart to prune your client list.
By Ed Mendlowitz “Tax Season Opportunity Guide“ QUESTION: I just suddenly lost my biggest client. They said they outgrew me. What could I have done to keep them? RESPONSE: Maybe nothing. And at this point it may not matter, but there are some things you can do to maybe get them back in the future and stop it from happening with another client. Losing any client is not pleasant, and losing a large client hurts. And when it is sudden it hurts even more. I will answer this in three parts. 1. How to try to salvage something from the loss. 2. How to stop this from happening in the future. 3. How to avoid being “suddenly” surprised.