Richard Woolley, our Senior Account Manager at A4G, knows more about why business owners leave their accountants than anyone else I know. Every year he talks to thousands of them about their relationships with their accountants. His job, and he is very good at it, is to unearth their concerns about the work of, and relationship with, their professional advisers.
So who better to spread the word on why Business Owners Change Accountants:
My name is Richard and I speak to about four and a half thousand business owners and directors a year. I also manage a team that speaks to tens of thousands of them a year, promoting our clients services.
Below are the 7 major gripes we hear from business owners leaving their accountants to work with A4G clients.
1. Great Expectations – The main reason for appointing a new accountant is the promise of improved levels of service: increased and proactive contact. If clients move to you for better service, and you fail to deliver, they will leave you for the same reason.
Accountancy Marketing specialist Richard Woolley
2. Unexplained Fee Increase – A lot of business owners & directors find their fees are stable for a couple of years and then suddenly there’s an “unreasonable” increase. If an increase is necessary, take the time to explain why. And, always get the fee approved before starting additional work.
3. Small Fish / Big Pond – We all like to think our suppliers value our business. But a lot of the companies we speak to think their accountants are only interested in their larger clients! Regular contact makes clients feel special. Get in the habit of sending clients press cuttings or links to stories that affect their industries / businesses.
4. Uncertanty / Fines – Even, if you don’t agree a completion date for work, aim to get it turned around in a ‘reasonable’ time. Business owners often moan when their accounts are completed just before the deadline, when they “handed the books over” months ago. Getting a fine for missing the deadline, even if the accountant pays it, is often the last straw.
5. Complacency – Similar to point number 3. Clients want to feel that you care as much about them today, as the day you appointed them. We are often told they were “great for the first year or two but then it fell away.” It is easy to take clients for granted, especially if you are focussing on growth. Consider regular client care research.
6. Lack Of Partner Contact – Most business owners we speak to dislike dealing with “junior” members of staff when they are used to dealing with a partner. Pick up the phone for a quick chat. Put a program in place to make sure Partners contact all clients within an agreed period of time.
7. Competitive Fees – Fees are always a factor but not as important as a good relationship or service. Clients will consider cheaper service providers if they don’t value their accountant. Every day we are told “I’m sure I could get the work done cheaper but our accountant really understands our business.”
I hope you find that useful? If you have any questions or feedback please do let me know below.