Review the firm’s client list from the prior tax season. Consider terminating the firm’s professional relationship with unprofitable, high risk and "problem" clients, such as those who do not provide information in a timely manner. Our article, Clients: Knowing When to Walk Away identifies other factors to consider when deciding whether or not to continue a client relationship. If you’re still not sure, read Take a Hike: Ending Client Relationships for other considerations. If the decision is made to terminate the client, Client Termination Letters explains the importance of written termination letters and what to include in such a letter.

Identify high risk clients, such as clients creating a potential conflict of interest for the firm. Review the articles Managing Conflicts of Interest and Considerations in Avoiding Becoming a Casualty in the Divorce Wars. Establish protocols to address potential conflicts of interest that arise during tax season.

Update the firm’s client acceptance checklist and conduct due diligence on prospective clients, such as inquiring why they are changing accountants and conducting an internet search on the prospect. Request the prospect’s consent to contact the predecessor accountant. Consider obtaining a retainer from all clients, or, at a minimum, new and customarily slow-paying clients, as a condition of engagement. Our article, Is This Client the Right Fit for Your Firm? includes other criteria to consider in balancing the risks and rewards of continuing a relationship with an existing client or accepting an engagement with a prospective client.
What to do now … before the big rush
3 must-dos to review client acceptance and continuance procedures