Not every bookkeeping client is going to be a perfect fit for your firm, but some truly terrible clients can make your job a nightmare. You probably have some client horror stories of your own (who doesn’t?) but there are ways to avoid another worst-case scenario. You just have to learn how to spot clients that should be avoided. Here are 5 red flags for bookkeeping clients that should make you run in the opposite direction. 

1. They’re Unhappy With Your Prices

When a potential client disagrees with your pricing, it may be a good idea to go ahead and jump ship. Your skills and expertise are highly valuable, and you’ve set your prices to reflect that. A simple question about pricing that can be answered with a simple explanation is fine. However, when a potential client starts trying to bargain with you or openly complains about the cost of your services, they are already showing signs that they don’t respect your value. 

2. They’re Unprofessional

Your time is precious, and any potential bookkeeping client who arrives late to a meeting or doesn’t come prepared is wasting it. You should be on the lookout for unprofessional behaviors when first getting to know a client, from tardiness to passive-aggressiveness. It’s always important to keep in mind that you are looking for people you can work with long-term. If they seem difficult to work with, they probably will be. 

3. They Talk Negatively About Their Previous Bookkeeper

This partially falls under the umbrella of “unprofessional”. Imagine you’re on a date with someone and, out of nowhere, they start badmouthing their ex in front of you. Weird, right? While there are certainly bad bookkeepers out there, this kind of talk usually reflects more on the speaker. Besides, word of mouth is important. What are the odds of this client turning around and talking about you in the same way? 

4. They Aren’t Communicating 

Good relationships are built on good communication. In your earliest interactions with clients, you should pay attention to how quickly they respond, how clearly, and whether or not there are any issues with your communication. As a bookkeeper, you often deal with time-sensitive matters. If you have a gut feeling that this client’s lack of good communication will cause you stress in the long run, it’s good to trust your gut. 

5. They Aren’t Even Real

There’s no bigger client nightmare than a scammer. In the digital age, scammers are pretty tech-savvy. It’s good to be aware of current scamming techniques and to be careful about responding to every email from potential “clients”. 

Bad clients can create all sorts of problems for your bookkeeping firms ranging in complexity and severity. Spotting red flags in potential clients not only protects you from bad days at work, but from legal ramifications, scope creep, and even fraud. Do you have any other client red flags? Let us know down below!