I lost a client today, got the dear John phone call this afternoon to say they were moving to a bigger firm, reason was that investors wanted to move to a bigger firm, time for a change, fresh look at the accounts etc. Initially I thought this wasn't bad news because the fee was too low but after thinking about it I was also left feeling disappointed. I had this client from the begining when they started five years ago. Tech company, first year t/o was about £30k and now they're due to break £1m this year. They've received approx £4m in funding in 2019 and head count has gone from 2 directors initially to 12 ft staff. The original fee was £1,500 for standard VAT, payroll and compliance but I could only marginally increase the fee over the years and this year I had been back and forth about increasing the fee to a monthly rertainer of £500pm. The relationship was always good and we went back and forth a few times on the fee but nothing was agreed.
In one sense I'm happy because the existing fee wasn't feasible but disappointed because they got a very good service and it's only until after they have left and gone to a big tier firm that they'll realise how much we did for them. On reflection I'm kicking myself for doing so much over those years because there was an informal understanding that when business picks up that the fee would be increased and they favour would be repaid.
It begs the question as to how much should we do for our clients? I once heard it said that "we could be the worst accountants in the world and our clients wouldn't know" but the opposite is also true, we could be the best accountants in the world and our clients wouldn't know.