By Sandi Leyva
Some 22 percent of respondents are not charging their clients for PPP services, and the overwhelming majority are doing it to increase client retention, build goodwill, and do their part to help their clients and the economy, according to the new survey sent out by CPA Trendlines and Accountant’s Accelerator
MORE: PPP Traps: 1 in 5 Accountants Report Shady Dealings | Replay: How to Dazzle Clients in the COVID Age | Don’t Get Burned by These PPP Pitfalls | Three Ways to Leverage Today’s Uncertainties for Renewed Growth | COVID is Calling
With over 600 accountants responding, many give away services such as loan acquisition, loan forgiveness, review of Form 3508, tracing assistance, and risk management advice.
Goodwill and Client Retention
“I want my clients to survive” was a frequent comment when we asked why accountants decided not to charge them for PPP advice. Here are some other comments from survey participants.
“I was in a position to help. When a client’s house is burning down, how do you charge for helping?”
A few participants had a long-term agenda in mind. “Clients are already struggling and can’t afford any more fees. [Not charging them] builds loyalty, and I hope to increase fees later to compensate.”
“I did what I could to help my clients keep their business. This served everyone, even myself, as I kept them as clients.”
“My job is to do the best for my clients, and in these trying times, keeping them afloat, in the end, meant I stay afloat in the end.”
Other participants saw the big picture and served the greater good. “Clients applied for PPP because they were suffering financially and worried about the future of their business. This is my way of supporting the small business community.”
“[I was] trying to do my moral part to help the country.”
A minority of PPP survey respondents cited other reasons for not charging. One was that they had clients on fixed-fee monthly plans and considered PPP services to be covered under their existing plans. Another reason a few respondents cited was that they spent very little time advising on PPP, so it didn’t justify writing up an invoice.
A handful of respondents were confused about charging for PPP services. Some said they thought they couldn’t charge. One mentioned that they didn’t know what would be appropriate to charge. Another mentioned being concerned that the service scope might be outside their malpractice insurance.
A few others were just surprised by the time and scope of learning PPP. One said they “didn’t realize how much would be involved.” And another said they decided not to charge but now with the vision of a few months of PPP complexity hindsight, admitted, “Because I’m an idiot.”