For most businesses, accounting is just a part. For accounting professionals, accounting is the business. So, CPAs, to stay in businesses, must work on client retention and think on why they leave.
CPAs take care for all the financial transactions for its clients – be it businesses and individuals, which is indeed very critical information. So, before choosing a CPA firm, clients go through some serious analyses to make their choice. Even after such thoughtful choice, a good number of clients will not turn back to the existing CPA and switch to someone else. CCS Accounting Firm Client Survey in 2010 reported a significant number of clients are looking for a change. As per the survey, 36% of business clients and 19% of individual clients are likely to change their CPA firm.
As the tax season for the year has arrived, it is high time that you looked into the reasons that make a client leave their CPA to ensure that you retain the current clients for the next season as well. Top three reasons why clients leave their CPAs are:
1. Using Clients as Training Ground for New Staff
Your newly hired staff must be carrying a great potential, along with strong academic backing. But that does not mean he is all set to work alone on the accounting needs of the clients. Certain practicalities of the accounting are to be learnt under the guidance of experienced professionals without which statement generation and tax filing are only going to turn troublesome.
Accounting operations often require a direct interaction with the client and if a novice is attending them, the lack of facts and recent regulation updates will remain easy to spot. The client will take this as a representation of your business and the chances of them staying with you will diminish. Most clients are not familiar with the technical terms of the accounting and prefer listening to simplified explanations. An experienced professional is expected to offer more simplistic talks.
2. Not Keeping the Promises
Too much talking to win the clients is a pretty popular sales method and it pertains with the CPA firms as well. Clients are promised that you can prepare the return in an unmatched time with unimaginable savings and that too at immensely discounted rates. When it comes to execution, most of your investment advices are not able to support those promises and clients start to realize that most of the promised aspects are not practically possible. Being left high and dry, clients will move to some other CPA firm in the next tax season.
Study the factual status of the client to offer an honest and achievable guidance to them. This will ensure that client remains aware of what is to come. Eventually, it will develop more trust of clients on your services and the retention rate will grow.
3. Variation with Software and Technologies
The market is flooded with the accounting and tax software and there is a high chance that your client is already using one of them. In case your choice of software varies from theirs, working together might not be possible. Asking the client to switch to your choice of software holds a great potential of losing them. Purchasing license for their choice will cost you some good bucks in addition to affecting your comfort with the existing software.
As a CPA firm, you must have the licenses for most of the famous accounting software and train your CPAs for them. Additionally, cloud-based accounting can help with the user accessibility and price constraints. With the improving data security and usability features, the number of the cloud-based accounting are increasing at a good pace and shifting to it can influence some real positives for your business.
Client retention is a major challenge for almost all sorts of businesses. With accounting business, the challenges, such as pricing and support, are not equally noteworthy but experience and academic achievement of the staff earn client’s attraction. It is the timely and hassle-free service delivered that makes the biggest count of CPA firm’s muscle. So, it is better to concentrate on these factors while dealing with the clients. Moreover, ensure that you ask clients for regular feedbacks on your services because the chance of improvements comes only with the analysis.