Fiscal customer management isIt’s not always easy. Providing good customer service is critical to grow your tax and accounting practice But, as many professionals have found, dealing with difficult clients can be difficult.

Some tax clients may be overly demanding, disrespectful to staff, or fail to comply with company policies and procedures. The problem is that challenging or tough customers can make it difficult for a company tos job performance and profitability, and can negatively affect staff morale. ThatThis is why, when it comes to existing and potential tax clients, it is important to take a quality over quantity approach.

To help businesses learn how to deal with difficult customers,I will take a closer look at the behaviors of tax customers, the importance of managing expectationsand, if necessary, even fire clients.

Behaviors of challenging tax clients

The customer is always right. Or are? The short answer is no. Divergent opinions and personality traits will always come into play when dealing with tax clients, and knowing how to deal with difficult people is critical. However, there are limits that should nott be crossed and limits to what the staff of the company must have to put up with.

There are behaviors that are indicative of a challenging customer, and knowing the red flags to watch out for can be helpful. Some common behaviors that can be associated with challenging tax clients include:

  • They constantly try to get something for nothing”. These are the customers who will consistently want services that extend beyond the scope of the service, but notI don’t want to pay extra for those services.
  • They refuse to follow firm policies and procedures. These customers continually make exceptions to your company.s policies and procedures and can be a waste of staff time and resources. For example, these could be tax clients who insist on using email instead of the company.s secure portal for submitting confidential documents or business owners who refuse to accept a businesss tech stack and insist on using their own software.
  • they donI don’t see you as a partner. As a tax and accounting professional, she seeks to help guide her tax clients. The strongest customer relationships develop when your customers understand this and see you as their trusted partner and advisor. Those fiscal clients that do notThey are less likely to respect your professional advice, follow policies and procedures, and in some cases may even speak down or put down company personnel.

Manage tax client expectations

One of the most effective ways to deal with challenging tax clients is to manage client expectations. This means opening the doors of communication and clearly define in advance the services to be provided. There are a couple of reasons why this is important.

For starters, it is human nature for people to feel less anxious when they are informed. Therefore, when new legislation is passed, for example, proactively communicate with your tax clients (i.e. email newsletters, webinars, etc.) about potential impacts and let them know you are aware of the developments can preemptively answer any questions they may have. and ease your anxiety.

It is also important to clearly define the scope of service upfront in an engagement letter. This can go a long way in avoiding communication problems and potential disputes in the future.

Items to be included in a letter of engagement include:

  • The purpose and objectives of the engagement;
  • Scope of commitment;
  • Reports and other anticipated results of the engagement; and
  • Rates and billing arrangements.

Fire a tax client

Companies that continue to serve challenging customers just for the sake of the relationship need to think again. These are tax clients who have become too much work for the amount of income they generate, and in these cases it may be best to cut ties with the client.

Consider this: the time and energy you spend dealing with challenging customers it’s time that can be spent attracting new, more profitable customers. Staff will also feel less stressed.

Companies may want to start by classifying customers. Client classification can be a way of identifying those tax clients who should pay more for the extra attention and work they require. It can also be a way for companies to weed out challenging customers and break ties.

Questions to ask include:

  • How much time does the tax client spend with the firm?
  • How many services do you currently use?
  • Do they pay bills on time?
  • Do they dispute or argue about the rates?
  • Does the company make a good fee recovery?
  • Can the company add more value to your business?


Managing tax client expectations and clearly outlining engagement terms and policies up front can go a long way when managing challenging clients. However, if there isIf a tax client becomes a source of too much stress for staff and a waste of time and resources, then letting them go may be the only option. To read more about the accounting firm’s problems, see what The main themes are for 2023.

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