One of the biggest mistakes I see Partners making is being too heavily involved with clients in day to day compliance matters. It’s a mistake to think that you’re giving clients the best service by doing this. This article addresses how to Increase Accounting firm profitability.
Having a partner’s knowledge & experience wrapped up in these activities is UNDERMINING the true value & service they have to offer.
Let me explain by looking at a definition of ‘service’.
Providing a ‘service’ means to provide solutions and advice in response to clients needs, at a reasonable price. This equals delivering value.
It’s simple… If a partner is answering questions about tax returns, financial statements or GST, then the client runs the risk of being over-charged. These queries can be competently answered by a senior accountant or manager instead, and charged to the client more fairly.
Let’s say your hourly rate for general business, compliance and tax advice is $200/hour. It would be fair to say that strategy and high end value add services could be valued at double this rate. Therefore, every hour you spend on a client’s daily compliance matters, your firm is losing $200/hour.
How to correct the mistake, and increase your profit margins
You can avoid this mistake several ways.
First is to ensure you have a clear service offering in the form of products & packages.
While products & packages have many benefits for firms, they enable systemisation so that the team can deliver standardised results for your clients. This means you can be sure that client questions are answered in the most efficient manner for both sides.
The clearer with your client about your offering, the easier it is for the team to look after them.
What to do with those clients who are used to talking to a partner?
If up to now you’ve been in the habit of giving clients personalised service, they will most likely have come to expect it.
To turn this around, you need to educate them on who in the team is best to serve them.
You may need to be strict & disciplined with this. Instead of taking the phone call or replying directly to emails, take a msg and get the appropriate person on the team to return the call instead.
Once you are clear on where your value to the firm is, it will be easier to defer day to day client interaction.
Next time a client asks to talk to you, and you’re tempted to take the call, remind yourself of your dollar value to the firm, and what you may be losing.
Plus, you should be too busy with business strategy to talk to clients.
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