The Practitioner: The boring profitable client

TELL ME I’m wrong, but do clients have a shelf life after which you begin to lose interest slightly and start to focus on other clients more?

I guess this is a natural cycle and that I’m not the only practitioner who has ever felt like this. What is slightly tricky in my situation is that the client in question is one of our biggest and most valuable.

To lose the business would be a big blow to the practice and a massive blow to my pride. As the client’s business has expanded from zero to hero, we have been involved all the way, helping him with business plans, obtaining up to £1m in finance over the past five years, building budgets and cash-flow projections and preparing monthly management accounts.

It has been a great story to be involved in, but now I’m starting to feel the need for a new one. I have tried to get other staff members involved to take over the reins on the day-to-day activity, but there is always the fear that the client will see that delegation as a reason to jump ship.

In many ways, I get the impression the client is ready for a change himself. I suspect, however, that he will probably stick with us until he sells out in the next three to five years, so all we need to do is make sure we don’t make any major errors between now and then.

So what can we do to make sure we keep the client/accountant relationship fresh and exciting? One of the most important things is to believe you are still doing a good job – and to make the client believe you are still doing a good job – and the rest will follow.

As soon as negative thoughts come into play then it’s a slippery slide down the slope to losing the client. I always remember a slide from a lecture at university days that said: “You move towards what you expect”. Little did I expect so many years on from that day that I would be an accountant quoting a slide from the lecture.

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