It seems firms are stretching their resources further than ever. One easy way to free up some capacity is to fire clients. The other is to be very selective when accepting new clients. So what else is new? – everyone knows that. True enough. But what if you used your struggle for capacity to build employee morale?
At a time, when bringing in new clients is much easier than attracting and retaining talent to your firm, this new paradigm requires a new approach to client selection. You need a criteria for client selection that keeps firms from saying “yes” when a “no thank you” is better for the team and firm as a whole. Although many firms have an established selection criteria, the bulk of them are focused on financial outcomes. The approach below seeks a balanced approach to profitability and staff morale.
- If your answers total 80 points or higher, this client is a valuable asset to the firm
- If your answers total 70-79 points you should develop a strategic plan for improving the value of this client relationship.
- If your answers total 50-69 points you might want to revisit the list of questions and give weight to some of the questions that are more important in the overall scheme of things and adjust their score accordingly.
- If your answers total less than 50 points, this client’s needs may be better served by another accounting firm.
The selection criteria above places value on clients that are both profitable and desirable to the firm. Firms that involve their staff in the client selection process find it gives staff the opportunity to voice their perspective on a particular client. There may be a client that is easy for partners to get along with but not as polite to your staff. Your staff can also tell you which clients are easier to work with. Firing (or not accepting ) clients that take a toll on your staff sends a message to your team that they are more valuable to the firm than any individual client. It also helps team members set priorities (just as a partner or manager would) in their day-to-day workload; giving higher ranking clients the focus and effort they deserve. Ultimately, it’s a win for the firm, your team, and the clients that fit your selection criteria.
About the author: Edi Osborne, CEO Mentor Plus is recognized as a leader in the area of performance measurement and management to the profession. Mentor Plus’ Performance Measurement Plus and Strategic Performance Management workshops, as well as the $COPE Advisor and Firm Forward Program. Contact Mentor Plus for details: www.mentorplus.com 831-659-PLUS (7587)