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Best Steps to Profitably Grade Accounting Clients

Rob Brown and Lucy Cohen discuss why it's hard for accountants to break up with their clients, even though it's the right thing to do.

On behalf of the Accounting Influencers Broadcast Network, this is the “Best Practice in Accounting” show, going live every Thursday.

Episode 15. In today’s session, “Best Steps to Profitably Grade Accounting Clients” with special guest Lucy Cohen, founder of innovative UK accounting firm Mazuma.

You can also watch this in video format on our youtube channel:

Key takeaways from this episode include:

☛ why getting rid of the wrong clients takes strength and a certain ability for many accountants

☛ the negative consequences for accountants who will not or cannot jettison their most unprofitable clients

☛ the importance of ‘intention’ for accountants in changing their client base and what stops them from making tough decisions

☛ why it’s hard for accountants to break up with their clients, even though it’s the right thing to do

☛ how accountants can define A-grade clients down to D-grade clients and the criteria for each category

☛ the need for accountants and CPAs to be continuously reviewing their client base and calibrating relationships

☛ the role of data and metrics beyond relationships that helps accountants segment their client portfolio

☛ what markers might dictate whether an accounting client is more prone to churn or leave than another

☛ what accountants who work for someone else can justify upwards the case for losing certain unprofitable clients

☛ best practice tips for accountants to have the ‘it’s over’ conversation with certain clients

☛ shout out to ProNation, a new coaching and mastermind group that challenges the limitations of traditional ‘one guru’ communities

Action – critically ask if each of your accounting clients merits a place in your portfolio. Is the juice worth the squeeze?

In this show, we focus on upskilling the accountants, bookkeepers, CPAs and commercially focused fintech vendors to better handle key challenges in their professional role like client service, closing deals, negotiating, pricing, hiring, reputation and differentiation. It’s all about developing yourself and your practice with real life examples, stories and case studies of what really works.

We cover topics like leadership, trust, performance, differentiation, employer brand, values, vision, strategy, talent, skills development, industry trends, growth, marketing, communication, succession, recruitment, retention, culture, M&A, business models, pricing, digitisation, winning clients, advisory, career development, gen z/millennials, ESG, DEI, CSR, CPE/CPD, professionalism and future proofing.

It’s important that you stay ahead of the game by knowing the drivers of change and disruption in accounting, the behaviours/demands of businesses requiring pivots/services from accountants, the strategies of tech/software vendors in serving CPAs and accountants, the directives, thoughts and influence of regulatory bodies, professional associations and accounting institutes, and the themes, agendas and topics being talked about at accounting and fintech events all over the world.

Two caveats for listeners:

First, what we’re giving you in this podcast are suggestions, hints, tips and strategies. Not necessarily recommendations, not legally binding, not mandated by regulatory bodies. just the thoughts, opinions and interpretations of a couple of guys with a collective 45 years of experience working with, speaking to and and training many accounting practices, vendors, networks, associations, alliances and event audiences.

Second, we’re not getting too technical or technological with these best practice tips. We’re not qualified accountants and there are plenty of sources for technical knowledge. We’re also not geeky, nerdy or product focused with the bewildering array of apps, platforms and technological solutions. We’re more soft skills, personal development, general business awareness, developing entrepreneurial thinking, boosting leadership and management capability.

Let’s not forget what a complex, fast moving and rapidly changing world we live in. Best practice is hard to put your finger on. What worked last week, last year may not work now. Advisors and accounting professionals must constantly reinvent themselves as experts and trusted guides to individuals and business owners in a complex world. We’re here to help you.

Ultimately, it’s just insight though. Knowledge is easy to find but not to easy to make sense of and make part of your offering, your authority, your expertise. You’ve got to take some action, share it with others, use it somehow for it to become powerful. Weave it into your thinking, your client interactions, your team meetings, your everyday conversations. That’s what’s going to move you from good to great in your accounting role.


A reminder of 5 great shows in the Accounting Influencers Broadcast Network:

❶ Success in Accounting – MONDAYS. Our flagship main show featuring panels, highlights, combinations, panels, topics, live interviews and best ofs.

❷ Insights in Accounting – TUESDAYS. The best news, analysis, commercial awareness, news under microscope, podcast mentions and recommendations.

❸ Influencers in Accounting – WEDNESDAYS. Deep dive 1-1 interviews with leaders, experts, influencers from around the world.

❹ Best Practice in Accounting – THURSDAYS. Practice development, growth, management, consulting, examples, stories and practical here’s what works stuff for accountants, bookkeepers and the fintech/software people who serve them.

❺ UK Matters in Accounting – FRIDAYS. A UK focused show featuring UK related topics, news items, events and interviews.

Find them all on your preferred podcast app, platform or channel. Thanks for subscribing, sharing and listening!


Imogen Allen