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Secure Returning Clients for the 2022 Tax Season


Even though you're still filing 2020 tax returns, you should also be thinking about ensuring your accounting firm's client retention rate is as high as possible. In his first article for AccountingWEB, CPA Ford Baker explains how his practice made sure every single one of their clients would be coming back for the 2021 tax season.

Apr 14th 2021
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As another tax filing deadline looms, CPAs across the country are going to deal with one of the harder parts of the business: retaining clients. As the usual loss of clients occurs, many firm owners begin to ask, “What can we do to keep our clients?” Rather, the question you should be asking is: “How can we better serve our clients?” And well, that’s simple in theory: Increasing your clients’ satisfaction is the main way to increase client retention. 

Let's start by talking about surprises. Surprises can be a good thing. Everybody loves the video of a perfectly pulled-off shout of “SURPRISE!” at a surprise party, and we’ve all cried at a video where a soldier surprises their family when they come home. However, when it comes to taxes and accounting, nobody likes surprises of any kind.

So, anything we as accounting and finance professionals can do to prevent surprises should be first and foremost in our minds. Creating a consistent, almost boring, relationship, without surprises is a good thing in this instance, and you’ll find your clients aren’t dissatisfied with it. In fact, eliminating unexpected occurrences is actually the best way to keep the magic alive when it comes to the relationship between an accountant and their client.  

Stop Creating Surprises 

One of the first surprises we eliminated at our firm was the bill. To do this, we went to a subscription-based pricing model several years ago, and we did this for two very good reasons:

1. Clients want to know. That really should be enough. If we want to keep our clients happy, it starts with a clear communication of the cost. Everyone wants to know what something is going to cost before they make a purchase. When you bill in advance and a client thinks the amount is too high, they contact you before the work is started. This is as opposed to reaching out to you after the work is done, when it is too late and you may be forced to incur a write-off. Most importantly, not worrying about billing and collecting allows you to plan ahead for clients who typically fall behind and help them get prepared for the deadline. Accounting and taxes are stressful enough for you and your clients, so eliminate the stressors that are completely avoidable. 

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