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In today’s episode of ‘From the eLearning Trenches,’ we ask one of our learners what they could do to better manage client expectations in relation to workflow.

“With recent staffing issues, our office has managed its best to proactively manage client expectations. At the same time, it all comes down to communication with both Team Members and Clients.

  • We have found that where expectations are not communicated clearly to both Team Members and Clients, issues/problems arise later. An important issue is that of fees. It is vital that Team Members communicate with clients what is involved with the job and if additional issues arise and/or the additional work is out-of-scope, it is communicated to the client at the earliest possible time.
  • Where the client is still using a desktop-based software, prepares their records on Excel or doesn’t use any system, we would clearly communicate to client the efficiencies that would be achieved with use of cloud-based software such as Xero.
  • An example is of a client in the building industry whereby we charged $16,000 in one year and he complained why fees were extremely high and why it was taking longer than usual e.g. 8 weeks. We explained that we charged based on time taken to prepare the Financials & Tax Returns. It was communicated to same client earlier (and in previous years) that use of a cloud-based software such as Xero would save them time and money. They did come across eventually and they can now check their financials in real-time.

It is important to note that ‘Communication’ is at the centre of everything we do. This is followed up closely by constant follow-ups with the client regarding requests for missing information and outcome of the work completed jobs.”

Feedback from our experts:

  • The learner has raised 3 great points in relation to client communication. How often do we make the effort to be proactive in communicating what we expect from the client?
  • Sometimes it seems that the client is running the show.A good example is in relation to giving the client options in relation to the scope and fee for service. If the client does not provide financial information in an efficient manner, then they should bear the cost of the additional time to process data. It’s actually a pretty easy conversation to have, just give the client options!
  • Finally, the learner raises the importance of proactive follow up of clients for information. Are your accountants on the front foot in getting information from clients. It’s not pushy to expect information will be provided in a timely manner. Pick up and put down of work is one of the most significant contributors to WIP issues.

This assessment task and response is taken from the Path to Partnership eLearning Course. Click here to find out more

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