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What Makes a Good Client

February 5, 2013

Last night we presented our annual Managing Tax Season update to accountants to help them kick off their tax season.  Peter and I have been doing this since 1989 and it is now part of the WS+B Partners’ Network.  Here, we support smaller practices with services they do not offer and practice-management guidance.


As part of last night’s program I presented a listing of what makes a good client.  It is always in the client’s interest to have their accountant, or any professional, spend as little time as necessary and for them to work as effectively as possible. The client/CPA relationship is a partnership to assure the client receives the greatest value from the interaction.  Here are some ways to help that collaboration.


The “What Makes a Good Client” Checklist:



Clients are our customers.  They pay our salaries and present us with stimulating opportunities that allow us to grow.  There is no such thing as a bad or nuisance client, although, there are clients that sometimes do bad or nuisance “things.”  Following is a listing of what makes a good client.


  1. Clients that do what they say they will do and who do not delay in sending us what we ask for
  2. Clients that do the work organizing their documents before they provide it to us
  3. Clients that give us estimated amounts, that tell us they are estimates and how they arrived at it/why they cannot provide the actual amounts
  4. Clients that understand the basis for our fees and the greater value they receive for it
  5. Clients that pay their bills promptly
  6. Clients that call the partner to discuss a bill instead of “complaining” by sending a note to our “bookkeeping department”
  7. Clients that complain right away to the partner when they are upset with something, and not to a staff person who happens to be at their office at that moment
  8. Clients that understand that we sometimes make a mistake, who accept a rational and reasonable explanation and who won’t keep bringing it up months and years later
  9. Clients that make us explain clearly what we tell them to do, and who don’t give the go-ahead without fully understanding what is to be done
  10. Clients who review the work we send them when it is received and who don’t sit on it until eight minutes before it needs to be filed or sent to a bank… and then call in a crisis mode
  11. Clients that use technology
  12. Clients that are not litigious
  13. Clients that understand that taxes need to be paid to maintain our society and that we do not make the rules that cause them to pay taxes
  14. Clients that realize that banks and finance companies need back-up and documentation when they lend funds, and that there is a cost to develop that data, and that it is not our “fault” the work is needed
  15. Clients that occasionally thank us for our efforts on their behalf
  16. Clients that appreciate the long-term benefits of our relationship and recognize that we will always “be there” for them
  17. Clients that refer potential clients
  18. Clients who are happy with their lives
One Comment leave one →
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