When You Must Fire a Client
Not all clients are equal. There are some you may not want to come back.
Independent practitioners have this concern due to lacking both time and the bodies to take care of every single person who comes in. There comes a point when some clients are so difficult to work with that it’s not worth retaining them.
Avoid clients who constantly balk at your fees and try to get you to lowball them. They may cite other practitioners they visited or retail tax chains in attempts to get you to reduce your fees or provide more services for free. It may be tempting to take a client like this when your practice is young and you need money, any money. However, in the long run it will only cause you aggravation. If they value something as important as their taxes and financial health that little, it’s highly likely they also won’t value a collection notice if their invoices go unpaid, which often happens with those who yell the loudest about rates.
Clients who are poor recordkeepers also tend to have firing potential. It’s not the end of the world to need more information from a client or consult with them when they have not yet received all of their pertinent forms. However, when they frequently are missing items, losing returns and other documents you already emailed them several times, “forget” to tell you important criteria about their financial situation until after their return was filed, and then once again balk at your fees because they didn’t take the time to sort their receipts-- it’s high time for firing that client because you could be getting far more work done and earning more fees from clients who are easier to work with. Not to mention, poor recordkeepers often pose a serious liability risk. Testing your E&O policy shouldn’t be on the agenda.
Lastly, a client who questions your credentials to the point that they cite people who are not in the tax profession need to be sent elsewhere. This is the “But my cousin’s barber’s astrologer told me I could write this off!” variety as well as “Taxes R Us down the street let me take this deduction!” Ask why they are seeing you and not these other sources.
No amount of personal touch from a consummate professional will help these types, and they are not worth your valuable time.