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4 common client onboarding mistakes and how to overcome them

28 Nov 2023

Life’s big purchases are usually memorable... and exciting.

Take buying your first home; getting the keys is a photo-worthy moment.

But when a business owner buys your accounting services, it’s just as big an investment over time.

And there’s no way to sugarcoat it... investing in accounting services is boring.

It's up to you to wow them from the first point of contact, to signing on the dotted line, to making them feel right at home with you.

With so much importance on engaging clients, what could go wrong?

There are four common mistakes accounting and bookkeeping practices are making, stopping their dream clients from getting their feet under the table.

Here’s how to avoid them...

1 – Don't give them time to get cold feet

From getting a proposal and engagement letter signed to retrieving the correct ID checks, onboarding consists of a lot of back and forth between you and the client.

Any part of this process being manual is an extra barrier for your clients. For example, if they are still required to come to your office to provide a physical copy of their ID.

If your competitor down the road has this process digitised, there’s nothing to stop them sweeping your client off their feet.

The solution: Implementing software that automates manual tasks will keep you ahead of the curve. There’s a plethora of solutions out there, but few solutions that put your proposals, AML checks and engagement letters all in one place.

GoProposal’s suite of onboarding solutions does that, guiding you through every step required to onboard your client while they’re ready and raring to go, with auto-updates that ensure you’re compliant every step of the way.

2 – Ensure you have capacity to onboard clients

Onboarding often isn’t considered in day-to-day tasks, especially at busier times of the year. If pricing is only in the hands of senior staff, a bottleneck quickly slows down the engagement process, making your client feel home alone and forgotten about.

The solution: Whatever software you use, create an internal checklist, and train your team on that process. Removing yourself as a bottleneck is crucial for the growth of your business and subsequently your profits.

3 - Account for the costs of engaging clients

Human resource and software costs usually aren’t accounted for in client fees. When you consider how important this part of the relationship is, and how much attention to detail is required, it’s like signing up for a mortgage without paying the legal fees.

The solution: Some firms include an onboarding fee to cover the costs associated with it. Though some consider this controversial, it can be easier to implement than you think.

Start with a small fee with your next client who might be complicated to onboard. It’s ok to test and tweak until you find a price that fits.

4 – Inspect and improve processes regularly

If you aren’t reviewing and improving your process, you can guarantee that it’s getting worse. There will be members of staff who cut corners here and there, meaning this process will deteriorate.

The solution: Just as homes need regular inspection and maintenance, so do your processes. Start by reviewing your current process. Get feedback from clients. Then, create an experience map to envision how you want your process to be.

Need to overhaul your client engagement process, but don’t know where to start? This FREE, downloadable scoresheet assesses where you are and breaks down the steps you need to take to turn onboarding into a scalable asset.

GoProposal members completed this as part of an exclusive workshop. Catch the recording and download your scoresheet here.