How to be a perfect client (or what your accountant wishes you would do differently but is too polite to say...)
Us accountants have a reputation for being quiet, unobtrusive types – and that’s pretty true most of the time; we like to get things done with a minimum of fuss, and we hate it if a client is unhappy or worried about anything at all. But sometimes there are things clients do that makes our job 10 times harder, and we can be pretty bad at just saying that outright – instead favouring the “oh well, I’ll just work over the weekend to fix that, then” approach. We know that you, as a client, aren’t doing that on purpose, so here’s our handy list of how you can make yourself our absolutely favourite, top of the list, client to work with (and hopefully save a few accountants from impending heart attacks at the same time!)
- Talk to us: if you have plans to buy some new machinery, employ someone else, sell your business – make an appointment and come and talk it through with us first. Very often we can point you in the right direction, suggest contacts we have who will be able to help you, or make sure that you’re aware of all of the implications of any decision you make. A quick chat can save a lot of unpicking later down the line.
- Give us some warning about mortgages: it’s very likely if you’re applying for a mortgage or a re-mortgage, your lender is going to contact us and ask for a reference, copies of accounts and/or very specific copies of your personal tax information in a format that needs to be ordered from HMRC (SA302s). Moving house is really stressful and being held up because you’re waiting on paperwork is no fun for you, or for us if we’re not prepared for it. If you can let us know in advance if you’re thinking about an application, we can pre-order those SA302s, and put your accounts production into our urgent workflow, so that we can help you as quickly as possible.
- Pay your bills on time: no one likes to chase for money, and we can’t work for free! To ensure continued service, if you can pay your bill by the due date, or set up a Direct Debit so you don’t have to remember, then we don’t have to stop and start work for you, and you get the best service possible.
- Help us to help you: let the person who answers the phone or your support chat know as much about what you need help with as possible – it’s really likely that anyone on our team will be able to answer your query, or direct it to the right person more easily if they know exactly what the issue is. There’s also lots of help on our website where we’ve got answers to our most frequently asked questions such as “How do I pay my tax bill?”
- Use our Urgency code: Red, Amber, Green – in your email headers: by tagging your messages it helps us to know how important it is and how quickly you require a response. For really urgent messages, the best contact is always by phone directly to the office on 01235 768561. If you need a fast response to an email, always copy firstname.lastname@example.org
- Complete a change request if you want to change the services that you get from us – this is just a really short form but it ensures we all know what is expected, and how much it is going to cost. This can be for any new service such as becoming VAT registered, or moving from a 5 employee payroll package to a 10 employee package. If you’re in any doubt, just call the team and we can fill it in with you.
- Open your post! If HMRC or Companies House are writing to you, we probably want to know what they’ve said – a quick scan or picture on your phone of any letters you receive will keep us in the loop and let us help you if there are any problems.
- Give us feedback: we send out client questionnaires by email and there’s a link to one here: https://torywagg.typeform.com/to/ZUxuiv - it really helps us to improve if you let us know what we’re doing well, or not so well.
- And lastly - bring us chocolates and you'll always be at the top of our favourite clients list!