Member Since: 24th Nov 2011
5th Jun 2014
Those early days are tough
I remember just starting out and dreading the phone call to the client part of the job. I hated speaking to the client as in reality I had know idea what I was doing and had no idea why I was asking the questions that my manager had got me to ask. The worst thing was using the phone in front of my colleagues. It was an absolute feeling of dread and was the thing I used to worry about the most in respect of my job.
I can remember having to call a client and slinking off to another (empty) office to make the call. I also recall being asked to phone a client and the thought of talking to them in front of everyone was that horrifying that I phoned my own mobile number which is was on silent in my bag and left a message as if I was talking to the client.
It seems silly now as I'm more likely to call a client than email or write to them as I find it a far more efficient method of communication and allows you to dig a bit more into their answers. Of course it is just one of those things that gets better with age, the more you do it, the more experienced you become in your role, it just becomes second nature.
Of course, calling a client to let them know their massive VAT liability is always a daunting prospect!
29th Oct 2013
We all make those mistakes
I can say I'm guilty of all the twelve listed mistakes, and have learnt, and am still learning from all of them.
In respect of winging it, a partner in a firm I used to work for was the master of winging it. He would accept work in which he or any other member of the firm had no knowledge or experience in undertaking, under quote for work with no knowledge of the details involved and accepting work that threw independence into question. I learnt the most from him and now have the confidence to be honest with clients. If I'm not sure or have a lack of experience in a particular area, I tell them but then say I know someone who specialises in this area and will consult with them. This has not failed to date.
I am also not scared to turn work away. If I don't feel able to do the work a potential client requests, I don't have faith in the client's desire to pay me or don't have confidence in their 'ethical mindset' I don't do the work and simply refer them to another local firm who I feel could help them.
I've possibly gone off on a tangent there, but failing to plan is the biggest mistake an accountant can make.
30th Jul 2013
Let them know
I constantly let clients know about the free work I carry out for them. For example I've had six new clients in the past year who have set up their own limited companies through Companies House. Of course the £15 fee was very attractive but they sought no advice on remuneration, dividends, bookkeeping, shareholding, VAT thresholds etc. I spend quite a lot time rectifying these problems and make the client aware of the fee I normally charge for company incorporations.
I have found in every case this has led to increased work from the client as they now value my advice and knowledge, and are happy to pay for it. Of course, I am probably very lucky as we all get those clients who know better than us.