4 things to avoid saying when talking to clients
March 02, 2015

These days, there are many ways accountants can help their clients. These professionals can take care of almost any financial need thanks to accounting software, from accounts payable issues to invoice recording. They also act as business consultants and help make important corporate decisions that greatly affect the path of the organization with ease. 

However, as with any other industry, there are certain things accounting professionals should and should not say to their clients. This is especially true near peak times, such as tax season. The emotions of business owners and consumers alike might be flying high, as their money is potentially on the line.

In these sorts of situations, it's best to tread lightly and avoid saying particular things. Here are four scenarios to try to skirt when speaking with clients. 

1. "I'll let voicemail take this."
An accountant might think that saying this will show the client in the office that he or she comes first. That particular person is getting his or her money's worth, and the one on the phone will have to wait. However, as AccountingWEB pointed out, that's probably not what the individual is going to think. In this scenario, a client could believe that if he or she were to call in an emergency, the accountant wouldn't pick up either. 

2. "It's only money."
The news source explained that when professionals are quick to say this, they tend to mean that if the client ends up owing money, he or she should put this outcome into perspective and realize it isn't the end of the world. However, again, money is a sensitive subject, and using this phrasing could seem like a reprimand or a brush-off. Instead, maybe approach it from a positive side - explain that while the client may owe money now, the government and the IRS are there to help when individuals are in trouble.

3. "What do you think is right?"
There is a time and place for the accountant to let the client take the reins - after all, he or she knows the business better than an outsider. But, approaching finances this way could shake the faith individuals have in their bookkeepers. Plus, Accounting Today said that while many clients know how to run their businesses, at the end of the day, they're not the financial expert in the room.

4. Nothing at all
On the other hand entirely, some accountants, especially when they're extremely busy with other clients, might assume individuals will come to them with problems so there's no reason to take the initiative and reach out. However, the source reported that this is the No. 1 mistake a professional can make, as it puts client relationships at risk and limits cross-selling opportunities. Plus, individuals might not know that they need help or be aware of the opportunities that lie in their path - which, if discovered too late, could mean a lot of work for the firm.

Nexus: G-WEBCD1