Accounting Firm Client Satisfaction Ratings Are Declining. What’s a Firm To Do?



I shy away from straight up selling in this blog, since few will want to read it, and it’s not all that fun to write either. But I couldn’t resist this opportunity.

Rick Telberg (@CPA_Trendlines) wrote an article for CPA Trendlines today entitled Client Satisfaction Ratings Show Signs of Decline that every accounting professional should read. He reiterates what I tell my clients on a regular basis, that measuring client satisfaction is vitally important. Here is an excerpt from his article:

“Just at a time when accounting firms are struggling to gain new clients and hold on to the ones they already have, client satisfaction ratings appear to be dropping. Preliminary results from a new CPA Trendlines survey show that only 16% of clients say they’d be “highly likely” to recommend their current CPA firm. That’s down from 23% in 2009, a loss of 6 percentage points, or, more graphically, a 26% rate of decline.”

Telberg goes on to say, “CPA firms appear to be running high risks in assuming their clients are happy. For instance, 35% of CPAs this year say that could get good recommendations from “nearly every client,” up from 29% in 2009. Compared to the 17% of clients who say they might actually recommend their current CPA, CPAs seem to be dangerously over-confident. But then, how would CPAs know? Some 52% have no regular system for checking on client satisfaction. On the other hand, 28% of CPAs wish they had a better system in place for tracking client satisfaction, up from 24% two years ago. So, despite the fact that awareness of the problem is increasing, more firms are failing to act.”

These are staggering statistics, and sticking your head in the sand isn’t a valid option. So with satisfaction rates declining, and firms trying to stand out from their competition, what’s a firm to do? BBR Marketing would love to help with our Client Relationship Check (CRC) program. By engaging your key clients in a meaningful dialogue about the services your firm provides, you will walk away with valuable information from which you can make adjustments, offer new services to retain – and improve – your client relationships.

Contact us to discuss how it can work for your firm, and  you can be one of the minority of firms that measure – and respond to – client needs.

One comment on “Accounting Firm Client Satisfaction Ratings Are Declining. What’s a Firm To Do?

  1. Robin Hensley on

    When it comes to client satisfaction, I often remind accountants that along with knowing the client’s industry, it’s also important to build your relationship on a personal level as well. Knowing what your client is passionate about, whether at work or away from it, will help establish a rapport that is beneficial to both parties. It will provide insight into how a client might react in different situations, which can keep you one step ahead. Another key aspect of client satisfaction to keep in mind is listening. While you may be the expert in accounting – which is why they hired you in the first place – understanding their needs is imperative to happy clients. This may not take care of being “too expensive” or ineptitude, but it may allow for more leeway within those areas.


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