With the year coming to a close, it’s time to take a good hard look at your client list and decide who’s getting left out of your 2022. Offboarding a bookkeeping client just can’t be avoided sometimes. What’s important is knowing when that time has come and how to handle the situation. 

Maybe you’re overloaded with work or maybe a particular client just doesn’t fit into the vision you have for the future of your business. Sometimes, clients are just a pain to work with. So here are some tips for deciding whether you should let a client go AND how to go about doing that. 

Review your client list

New year, new firm! In January, you might find yourself setting all sorts of new resolutions for yourself. People commit to all sorts of new challenges, from maintaining healthier lifestyles to learning a new skill. Alongside these personal goals, you might find yourself taking a good hard look at your business. This is the time to set goals for your firm, decide what’s working, and let go of what isn’t. That INCLUDES clients. 

There are many reasons you might consider firing a client. Do you have a client that’s missing deadlines, always waiting until the last minute to ask things of you, or just being rude to you and your staff? It may be time to reassess your working relationship and whether or not it’s worth keeping. Breaking up may be difficult, but sometimes it’s necessary. After all, both you and your staff are owed respect and professionalism. 

We suggest that you make reviewing your client list a regular yearly or quarterly procedure. You can assess your clients based on how much revenue they bring you, how pleasant they are to work with, how professional they are, and who referred them to you. If it helps, you can use a number or letter ranking system to order clients from most to least favored. Another good tip is to pay attention to the clients you really like working with and take note of why that is. Every firm is different. If there are certain characteristics or qualities you like in a client, be sure to use those to evaluate other clients as well. 

Offboarding a bookkeeping client

Should auld accounting clients be forgot come next year, you’ll need to have your documented offboarding procedures at the ready. One might think cutting a client off is as easy as snipping thread, but there are a lot of small steps that make a big difference. For example, you’ll need to do tasks like notifying all involved parties of the separation, sending your final invoice, and advising clients to change their passwords on accounts you have access to. At this stage, it’s vital that you review the terms of your engagement letter. Adhering strictly to those terms will prevent unnecessary legal trouble. 

Utilizing a bookkeeping client offboarding checklist is a great way to make sure parting is painless. Keep these checklists somewhere easily accessible so that each member of your team knows the proper procedures for offboarding a client. 

Lastly — and perhaps most importantly — you should always try to end on good terms. A smooth offboarding procedure can show former clients that you are trustworthy and still respect their business. Word of mouth is your most powerful networking tool… so it’s best if people have good things to say about your business! 

Goodbyes are hard. At the end of the day, what matters most is the success of your firm and the happiness of your team. Don’t be afraid to make the changes that make the difference at year-end.