Jul 29, 2013

Confessions of a Mad Tax Accountant #2: Dealing With Bum Clients

"Every client you keep, is one less that you need to find."  -Nigel Sanders
I agree with Mr. Sanders' quote but only to a certain point. Some clients are just not worth the headache.
My parents taught me that "hate" is a strong word. I  rarely use the word "hate" because hating is bad for your health. Therefore, when I say that I hate bum clients, it's a real feeling. Luckily, most of the clients that I dealt with in the past and present are great individuals. However, it is always that rare one percent of clients that were bums. As an entrepreneur, there is nothing worst than dealing with a disrespectful clients. These bum clients can ruin a nice summer day. I will only give "bum" clients two chances to prove that I should keep them as clients. In some cases, two chances may be too much. Here are some reasons a "bum" client won't make it to the second chance:
  1. I can't keep clients that wanted everything done yesterday but you have to chase them down for your fees. I have no problem dealing with urgent situations but it is so disrespectful when the client decides to disappear when it is time to pay. All of sudden, your calls are not being returned like you are a ex-boyfriend!
  2. I can't keep clients that want a deep discount but you have to do double the amount of work. Even worse, they won't even give you referrals for your great service! I have performed deep discount services and almost always get burnt in the end. I don't know how I always fall for it. The clients comes to me very humble and appreciative. However when the work is done, it is almost like they forget how I helped them in a tight situation. Some bum clients even try to repeat the same action like nothing happened in the past. This can only happen to me once then it is "good bye!"
  3. I can't keep clients that think taxes are easy. These clients come into your office with an arrogant attitude. It is almost like they think that they are doing you a favor by coming to your office. Telling me that "taxes are easy" is a big slap in my face and my fellow tax professionals. I will not allow someone to disrespect my profession. If taxes are so easy then the client should save their money and complete their own taxes.
  4. I can't keep clients that will disregard the law because their friend got away with the proposed scam. These type of clients will only help you lose your professional license. When they get into trouble, they will blame everything on you. Don't fall victim to these bum clients.
  5. I can't keep clients that get mad at me for owing the government money. It is not my fault that they withheld too little taxes from their paycheck. I'm not dumb, most of these type of clients know exactly why they owe money. How can you claim six exemptions on your paycheck when you are single with no kids?
There is nothing wrong with firing bum clients. Life is too and complex to deal with them! Firing bum clients will give you more time to concentrate on your valuable clients.
Next confession: Dealing with the IRS
 Visit the new and improved Tax Factor blog: www.thetaxfactor.com


Brian Huber said...

I’m glad to see you join me in amending the quote of Nigel Sanders to “Every bum client you keep is a foregone opportunity to capture two new good clients.” In the future, I would enjoy seeing you write a separate post about each of these five example bums. Clients need to realize when they are one of these bums and tax professionals need to recognize when they’re confronted with bum clients.

Factors like client selection are as important to an efficient tax practice as conquering Enrolled Agent study material to pass the exam. I encourage people who want to enter the tax business to obtain their EA training at http://fastforwardacademy.com/enrolled-agent-exam-prep.htm because that course provider also delivers ongoing community interaction among tax professionals on its website. Now, I’m also coaching tax professionals to read your blog.

Jamaal Solomon, EA said...

Good idea, I may write about the separate examples. Client selection is extremely important. I rather have 100 quality clients over 10,000 ok clients. Thanks for the comment!

I have used Fast Forward for my CPE requirements and I love the company.