The Practitioner: Scared of the Bogey Client

HAVE YOU EVER HAD one of those clients where every mistake you have ever made seems to happen whilst you are working on their files?

We currently seem to have a bogey client, and every so often when a mistake in the office is highlighted the client in question is the same. The bogey client.

I’m not foolish or proud enough to think that mistakes don’t happen, but it would be nice if they didn’t all happen to the same client.

I think it has actually got to the point now where we are so scared about doing something wrong that it is making it more likely that someone does slip up.

Fortunately for the firm the client is very understanding, and the mistakes have never been life-threatening. They still hurt however. Being the owner of the firm, I take mistakes personally and dread the conversation with the client that follows.

I’m sure I’ve said before that I can handle mistakes being made by staff, as long as an apology is offered. When it’s me that makes the mistake however, I only have the client to apologise to, and that’s not easy.

Letting go

Something else that hasn’t come easy in these past couple of weeks was letting a member of staff go. I knew that it had to be done, and it was deserved, but it still wasn’t easy.

In all honesty we probably need to recruit again to make sure we are able to produce the required output. The member of staff in question had a poor attendance record, and was starting to drag the standard in the rest of the office down.

I didn’t expect the person to be upset when I had the dreaded conversation with them, and it made it all the more harder to see their surprise and upset at being let go.

Talking of letting things go, we are considering relinquishing the firm’s audit status. We have told the institute of our intention and are waiting to hear back from them.

We only have a handful of audit clients remaining, and given the strict CPD requirements imposed on us in just seems like the right thing to do.

I’m convinced that the firm aren’t making a mistake with this, and I certainly won’t shed a tear when we make the final decision.

Related reading