New research into accountants’ attitudes into meetings with their clients has found different approaches to charging for strategic meetings says CaseWare, one of the sector’s leading auditing and financial reporting software providers.
CaseWare’s software is used by 50% of the top 100 accountancy practices, including 75% of the top 20 and many of the major International auditing networks. CaseWare undertook the research in March and April 2015.
It found that just over one quarter (26%) of practices asked do not charge for occasional meetings with clients to discuss their strategy, while 13% always charge and 58% sometime charge.
The research also found that 31% of respondents felt they met their clients enough. 84% feel they meet their priority clients often enough for important business and strategic issues (by contrast, 13% feel they don’t meet their clients enough).
About half (53%) meet with their clients twice a year to discuss important business and financial issues, over one third (38%) hold such meetings quarterly and 3% have monthly meetings.
Shez Hamill, Sales and Marketing Director of CaseWare, says: “One of the keys to keeping a client happy and selling additional services is to meet them regularly to discuss their business. At many accountancy practices this works well, but at others they need to work on this basic discipline.”
One of the largest obstacles that prevents lead partners from meeting clients is not having enough time (47%). About a third (31%) want to meet their clients more but just don’t manage to organise it, while 28% of those surveyed felt a lack of junior staff in the firm prevented partners’ freeing up time for strategic meetings with clients.
Hamill continues: “Delegating more work and automating routine activity to free up partner time is key at those practices that are struggling to spend quality time with their clients. It is interesting to note the variety of approaches as to whether to bill for such meetings – some firms are adamant about charging for them, others see it as covered by the audit fee and others take a case-by-case view.
“As for clients, they should be aware that most accountants see their priority clients at least quarterly or half yearly. If you see your accountant less frequently you may well draw the conclusion that you are not a priority to them.”
A complimentary copy of the research can be downloaded here.