Greathead, Damien, Vice President, Receipt Bank
Post Tax Season Follow-Up
When the tax return has been completed and filed, most accountants breathe a sigh of relief thinking the engagement is over. But we really make our living, and deliver value, by saving our clients money. So this year, when you notify the client that the return has been or is ready to be filed, try suggesting a date and time for a follow-up planning meeting. This is a great system for not only making sure that clients don’t feel neglected, but also for identifying additional ways you can help your clients.
Most accountants say “I’ll give you a call after busy season,” and never find time to make the phone call. With the client on the phone, or in the office grab you diary and schedule a time there and then. Typically in tax season the client is thinking about their compliance obligations, so a follow up meeting outside of tax season, maybe over lunch or coffee, is a perfect opportunity to talk more about what’s on their mind. There’s an endless list of things keeping your clients up at night, you just need to schedule time to uncover them. You’ll always come back to the office with more work.
Make sure you systemize this process so you have this opportunity with all of your ‘A’ clients, not just the ones you like. And use this meeting to move some of your ‘B’ clients up the value chain. You’ll also need a robust Client Relationship Management (CRM) system to collect all the information from the meeting and store it away for future use.
Don’t be offended if your clients say no, just move onto the next one and circle back in a couple of months. Given that perceived indifference is one of the main reasons clients leave their accountant, just asking for a meeting, or offering to take them to lunch, might be enough to show them you care.
Damien Greathead is COO of 2020 Group USA. 2020 Group trains and advises accounting firms on best practices for growth and profitability, including management, strategy, marketing and business development. You can learn more about their services by visiting their website at www.2020groupusa.com.