Everybody wants new clients and additional business, but sometimes the new client comes at a cost to you.
Based on 40 years’ experience in public accounting Edward Mendlowitz, a partner in Withum Smith + Brown’s office in New Brunswick, advises firms to check out the client first to determine if it is a good fit for your firm and if there are any danger signs.
He has devised a checklist that could help you in making a decision to accept the client. “Accepting new clients is a very subjective area. This listing should be used as a guide to identify particular issues you are concerned with before establishing a fee arrangement,” he says.
- Higher income amounts create greater responsibility for the preparer. We are responsible for our errors and with higher amounts, they can cause greater damages. To some extent we are “insurers” of loss from our human errors.
- How demanding the client will be. Consider whether the client is a call stalker, wants after-hours meetings or expects unreasonable turnaround
- How responsive client and his staff will be to information request
- Whether client overly mentioned fees and is looking for cut-rate fee
- Whether client says he has not been receiving everything he should get from his present accountant, and then wants you to charge less than he is presently paying. This is a totally illogical fee request that occurs frequently. If you fall into this situation, you deserve it. If you do more work you should be paid a higher fee and you should add to that amount because you are better and will be doing a better job of creating value for the client
- Whether payment terms will be reasonable
- Whether client seems litigious
- Whether client is in a category that you want to have, such as a celebrity, a leader in an industry, or a higher echelon executive that you feel could lead to better quality referrals.