Client retention is critical to the success of an accounting firm after a purchase or a merger with new ownership. We offer tips for retaining clients when buying an accounting practice.
Communicate Immediately and Frequently
The most important aspect of client retention after an acquisition or merger is immediate and frequent communication. News of the accounting firm transitioning to new ownership can be unsettling for clients, especially those who have been with the firm for years.
Clients will likely have many questions about the new regime, potential changes, and how it’ll affect them and their relationship with their accountant. New owners must reach out directly to old clients and be available to answer their questions to put their minds at ease and assure them the new ownership is just as dedicated to providing quality services as the previous owners.
Emphasize Customer Service to Staff
During the transition period from the old to the new regime, customer service becomes even more important. Communication is the key to customer service, but it goes beyond that when retaining clients. This is especially true with staff changes. The new staff will have to go above and beyond with customer service to make up for the lost relationship between old clients and previous accountants. New owners should emphasize to their staff that customer service in the first few months of transition is critical to client retention.
Retain Key Staff Members
If you want to retain clients when buying an accounting practice, you’ll have to keep some key staff members from the old regime. While new owners may want to bring in their own people, the change could unsettle clients loyal to their accountant.
If a CPA leaves for another practice during the transition, they’ll likely try to recruit their old clients. With that established relationship, their clients will likely follow them. Keeping key staff members gives clients a strong reason to stick around and shows them you’re committed to the same quality service and relationships they’re accustomed to.
Gradually Implement Changes
While new ownership is bound to make changes to the practice eventually, new owners should be wary of changing too much too soon. The fewer changes to the practice, the easier it is for the clients.
It’s not that new owners should never change anything, but they should implement their changes gradually over months and years to avoid disturbing the day-to-day workings of the firm. Before every change, new owners should consider holdover clients and how they may perceive changes.
Where To Find Accounting Practices for Sale
If you want to acquire an accounting practice, you can find accounting firms for sale at Private Practice Transitions. Our team of brokers will help you find the ideal accounting practice that fits your budget and criteria and provide insight into closing the deal. Browse our listings or contact our staff to learn more about our services today.