"You got the new client, now what?" - Accounting Software Secrets
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“You got the new client, now what?”

You got the new client, now what?
Issue 2.37 September 30, 2003

A new client is always exciting, but what can you do to make sure the relationship remains solid? Use our approach to communicate with the client more effectively.      

For most bookkeepers and consultants, after the excitement of obtaining a new client is experienced, the next thought is usually, what did I get myself into? By having an organized approach to beginning the work with a new client, it eliminates any surprises for you. An added benefit is that it is very easy to explain to the client what your approach will be.

One of the first things following the intial conversation with a new (or potential) client is to have a written explanation of what work is to be done, on what time table, and at what cost. For a sample engagement letter, click here. This is extremely important to try to avoid any misunderstandings on the scope of the project.

Included in the engagement letter is the approach that will taken for the work. That approach is typically, assess the situation, develop a plan, execute the plan, double check that all the issues have been addressed. Having an organized approach for assessing the situation in a complete and efficient manner is critical to avoid surprises in the long run. Although the client is always in a hurry to “get things done” taking short cuts in the beginning will create bigger problems in the long run. Try to explain to the client that typically what they see is the “symptom” of the problem. You can best assist them by understanding the extent of the issue, as well as any others that they may not even be aware of, so your approach will be organized and efficient (i.e. less costly for them then doing the project piece meal).

For additional tips and tricks on working with the client’s file as well as ideas for marketing your services consider downloading our free 28-page eReport and attending our free tele-class.
As a resource for this and other questions, submit a question via “Ask the Expert” or attend our free, monthly discussion forum tele-class.

Bonnie J. Nagayama, CPA (925-247-0100) has been featured by Intuit in their QuickBooks Advisor Spotlight and frequently teaches and consults on using QuickBooks to its maximum advantage. For a FREE weekly newsletter of QuickBooks tips and tricks, plus many free and low cost QuickBooks resources visit www.4luvofbiz.com.

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For further information, visit the following articles:
Remote Accounting Solutions – Editorial Comment (Free!)
QuickBooks 2007 – Opening A File (Free!)
Intuit Client Manager (Subscription required)
Remote Accounting Solutions – Editorial Comment (Subscription required)
Documenting Client Consulting (Subscription required)