by Jean Caragher and Rick Telberg
Seven Keys to Successful CPA FIrm Management
Most CPAs get it wrong. Clients' No. 1 reason for dumping a CPA firm is not price.
It's “poor client service, inattentiveness,” according to seven in 10 clients surveyed by Seven Keys to Successful CPA Firm Management.To be sure, there is price sensitivity. Six in ten clients indicate “price, fees, costs, budgets” as a reason to change CPA firms.
But when the question is posed to CPAs in public accounting, the CPAs rank client service and attentiveness third. Only one in four CPAs admit that they might lose clients because of poor client service or not paying attention to them.
CPAs believe pricing to be the main reason clients change CPA firms. The loss of these clients will be passed off with a comment like “our services became too expensive for them.”
The second reason CPAs chose was a major change in the company: “they die, sell or go out of business.” While any firm might lose one or two clients due to a major change in the business or the business folding, this is not an issue CPA firms can control. Pricing also might be an issue that would drive clients away from a firm. Nevertheless, the leading reason clients would leave is client service.
Clearly, CPA firms need to pay as much attention to client service as to pricing.