Seek and solve

Professionals tend to see themselves as solvers. Life is a never ending to-do list. As soon as one task is completed another will present itself and in this process, something critical to our relationship with clients will be missed.

Off the clock

When time was the master in accountancy practices – remember timesheets (?) – there was an imperative to produce the required number of chargeable hours each day, after all, this created our fee notes each month.

With the advent of fixed fee billing, the monthly accounts became a better guide to profitability than wrangling about time ledger write-offs. But the process still demands attention to getting work done.

Accounts and tax returns

According to research we have undertaken, many smaller firms are still nailed to the compliance imperative. Knocking out accounts and tax returns are the order of the day.

Obviously, this activity does solve problems, but it only solves problems imposed by government, albeit under the guise of HMRC and Companies House.

Which begs the question, don’t your clients have other financial or business problems that they are not sharing with you?


When was the last time you activity sat down, made a list of all your A and B clients and contacted them? In each case your opening gambit would be how are you? And get into the habit of repeating the process on a regular basis.

The time you invest in this process is like time spent panning for gold. Only its not nuggets you are looking for it’s problems.

The more problems you can uncover in this way will pave the way for you to discuss advice to solve these problems.

And the outcome you will achieve from the process, apart from increasing cross-sales, is a closer relationship with your clients. They will feel cared for and will begin to see that there is more to a relationship with your practice than keeping the authorities at bay.

Watch this space

Later this year, 1 August, our Fee Builder resources will be dedicated to this process, how to seek out and convert these conversations with key clients to sell additional advisory services.

Bob Edwards

Bob has been working with practices across the UK offering novel ways to improve cross-sales and increase new client acquisitions. He is also interested in "step changes" in legislation that offer challenges, and therefore opportunities, for practitioners to provide new recurring and one-off support services to clients.

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