Last week we had to let go one of our larger clients, who has been a client for almost 10 years.
The issue involved several issues, the main one being we were losing money due to scope creep on the services and an unwillingness to renegotiate based on increased scope of services.
Letting clients go is a skill we don’t usually deploy in our daily business, so I thought I’d add a few key things we learnt from the process:
Give the client fair notice of the issue, explain precisely the issue, then give them some time to absorb and consider. In our case the client kept handballing the response between partners, such that we could never get a decision or discussion on renegotiating of the fees.
Ensure your contract has a clear notification period, and indicate fairly early on in the discussions the existence of the specific clause. Both parties should be aware that ‘if discussions fail’, the fallback is to cease working. As part of this, be polite but firm. End it promptly and quickly.
Ensure a deadline for discussions is noted.
If discussions are not conclusive, stick to your guns. Give notice. As part of the notice period ensure that you continue to observe the excellent service level provided to the client, and work to the end of the notice period.
Don’t let them back unless your terms and conditions are met.
The firm we let go called recently and lamented the conclusion of the contract. But at the same time, they preferred the status quo as it was, declining to discuss working together at a price that works for both parties.
It’s never easy letting go clients, but it’s something all accounting firms should be doing on a regular basis.
Odyssey will shortly have a bit of surplus capacity, so if we can help with your Australian accounting outsourcing requirements please drop us a line.