Perfect time to Spring Clean your service offering to clients.

March is the perfect time of year to review what you are doing for clients, secure if not increase our fees and ensure you are offering levels of client service that make them want to stay with your firm.

Many clients have a March year end or are looking at the end of a tax year whilst thinking about planning for the financial year ahead. This is why more so than ever, clients will want to hear from you. It is also a time of year when your firm is likely to be less busy after the January rush and lull of February.

Many practitioners understandably don’t feel confident is contacting clients out of the blue and do not want to appear ‘pushy’ or trying to ‘sell’ services.

Here is a simple proven strategy that works week and one which you are familiar with. You are likely to be doing this with some of your larger clients and this process simply formalises a system so you can ensure every client receives the same service levels from you. For the purposes of this exercise we will ignore those clients you want to leave and are not worried about service levels- that’s another story (you should have already managed them out of your business by now and free up your time)!

Call, e-mail or book meeting s with clients with March year ends and those with yearends falling in the next three months. You should always be looking to plan three months pre client year end if possible. Tell them you want to talk to them about the following and send them an agenda;

  • What their estimated pre-tax profit is likely to be
  • What their projected business and personal tax liability is estimated to be and when those tax payments will fall due.
  • Cash flow- how they are going to plan for those tax liabilities.
  • What they can do to reduce their tax bills
  • Performance targets and projections for the year ahead- personal and business goals.
  • What they needed your help with last year and what they think they need help with in the year ahead.
  • Ensure they know all the services you can offer and not just those they use you for.
  • It is still common for clients not to realise all that you help other clients with. You therefore run the risk of them buying in these services from elsewhere.
  • Ask the client if they were happy with what you did last year and if there is anything you can improve on.

You will then be ideally placed to agree a fixed fee for the year ahead and monthly payment plan. You may also have had the opportunity to agree additional meetings (and fees) during the year for regular business strategy update meetings. It is this type of work and proactive approach that make you really valuable to clients. The basic compliance work and meeting filing deadlines is a given.

Obviously this approach will not be appropriate for smaller clients. I suggest you grade your clients and adopt this strategy with A and upper end B clients who have the potential to grow or need more support from you.

Clients appreciate when their advisor asks to talk with them and it’s not to chase outstanding fees or missing information in accounting records! They like to talk about current challenges and future plans. These pre year end meetings should take no more than an hour and are a good investment of your time in terms of client service and ‘soft’ marketing to increase fees with additional work for existing clients.

If nothing else, you will secure a client for another year. We tend to think of a client in term of their annual fee but in reality we should be thinking of the value of that client by looking at fees generated over a lifetime with your practice. When you calculate that figure you will be convinced it is indeed worth investing an hour of your time to ensure they want to stay with you!

April 2016 Copyright - Finola McManus, Practice Perfect

Helping accountancy firms to make their clients successful


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