Charlie and the Client Relationship Factory: an Accountant’s Fable

As usual, Charlie wakes up precisely at 7am and instantly reaches the alarm clock that had just started going off. “I probably don’t even need this anymore”, they think to themselves while waking up, feeling slightly proud of their sleep pattern.

Not long after, with coffee in hand and laptop in the backpack, Charlie heads to the office. The way of working has changed since 2020, and Charlie now works most days from home. But the time in the office is still really valuable, and they enjoy the flexibility. Plus, they get to sit in a different part of the office each time, making it more fun.

Whether Charlie is at home or in the office, their first hour of work remains the same: reading and replying to emails, checking which information clients have sent and looking at today’s priorities on the practice’s management software. Dext Precision is their go-to platform, as its task feature makes it easy to see jobs that need to be done, clients’ assignments, which accounts are still waiting for info, which clients need to be chased, deadlines and so on.

The day’s first call is with a new client who Charlie offered to run a data health check through Precision. The platform highlighted a few issues with their bookkeeping that could have been missed. “Don’t worry, nothing I haven’t seen before”, reassures Charlie, whilst going over the report which also showed other areas of improvement. They want clients to feel empowered by their data, not intimidated, and it all comes down to this chat.

Charlie loves to build strong relationships with clients by keeping them up to date with what’s going on in their business. Numbers can often be overwhelming for business owners since their minds are elsewhere. But Charlie uses Precision to help them draw a plan to improve data quality and bookkeeping processes – and the rest just smoothly falls into place.

Learning the state of their accounts and a detailed analysis of transaction volumes is crucial for Charlie to quote the new client fairly and accurately. Precision has a great feature to help identify input tax that may not have been recovered. Charlie uses that and immediately identifies a cash flow benefit for the business, which helps them secure the client. Ongoing advisory conversations were scheduled, and Charlie carries on with work.

A familiar squeaky noise alerted everybody that it was already lunchtime. The lovely Mrs Beverley walks into the office dragging her sandwich trolley and announcing today’s specials. Usually, Charlie would go for a walk at this time and just grab a meal deal from the supermarket, but since they have a client visit in the afternoon, maybe lunch in the office’s kitchen is fine. Plus, it’s not every day that Mrs Beverley includes her homemade pesto and roasted tomatoes sandwich on the menu. “Better run before Brian snaps the last one!

With spare time, Charlie can leave a bit earlier and enjoy that walk after all, before heading to their client’s office. It’s refreshing to meet people face-to-face again – and it really helps strengthen client relationships. A report might be interesting, but a 1-2-1 catch-up with their accountant is what makes a difference.

Charlie remembers a time when the day was filled with compliance work, but since using Precision, the practice has freed up time and the team can now provide more value-added services. Moving into predominantly advisory means that, rather than a once-a-year accounts and tax, Charlie now has ongoing conversations with clients and almost feels like an extension of their business.

Plus, it always helps when the client has the best coffee in town. “Black Americano, no sugar, two shortbreads on the side?” asks the assistant, much to Charlie’s surprise – and slight worry they might have had too many biscuits last time.

They refocus on the accounts in front – time to catch up on more important things. Charlie always starts by explaining the current numbers and what that means for the business with bespoke reports created with Precision, and then moves onto the current year. Charlie will also use the time to discuss any provisional tax liabilities, when they are due and the options available to help reduce these – for example, mileage claim, use of home allowance, pension contributions.

It’s essential to understand what clients want to achieve to give them appropriate advice, and Charlie is a good listener. This time, the client also wanted to discuss some plans for the next 12 months, which included hiring more staff and increasing their take-home. Charlie had prepared that in advance by benchmarking what competitors are doing and forecasting cash flow for the period. They take a deep dive into the business performance dashboard to review together recent increases or decreases in revenue, assets that are up or down, and risks related to customer and supplier reliance.

There’s nothing quite like the feeling you’re helping make your clients more successful – after all, a successful business means a successful accountant. By using Dext Precision, Charlie knows these meetings are no longer a back-and-forth chase for information because their clients have excellent data quality. The precious time catching up in person is used for valuable advice that will make a real difference in their clients’ lives – client relationships don’t get much better than that. Everybody’s satisfied, and Charlie snaps another shortbread before leaving. “This one was well deserved”.

But the day isn’t over yet: time to get back to the office and fill up the timesheet for the week. Pull back from memory each piece of work they’ve done, work out who they’ve talked to, emailed… The list goes on. Charlie knows full well they should be doing this as they go along, but it’s always left for EOP Friday. And they know they’re not the only ones. “Well… Precision can’t do everything, I guess”.

Do you want to be more like Charlie*? Try Dext Precision today.

(*except when it comes to timesheets, maybe!)

DISCLAIMER: this is a fictional story. The benefits of Precision, however, are very real.

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