D is for dross

When I ran my accountancy business we used to sit down once a year to run through our client list and tag everybody as A-D.

A = perfect client
B = potential to become a perfect client
C = bread and butter client. Profitable and easy to work with.
D = unsuitable for us

There might be all sorts of things which meant that we categorised some clients as D.

  • They no longer matched our ideal client profile because we had moved on but they were lovely people and worthy of a referral to a suitable alternative accountant because we’d be sorry to lose them and wanted to make sure that they were looked after. Not really dross as they would be gold for the right accountant.
  • They were rude to me or the team so they were out of the door before we even got around to our annual review.
  • They were always late, incurring extra time chasing them. Some we could help by doing more of the work for them (for a fee) but others needed a nanny rather than an accountant.
  • They required more work than justified by the fee they were paying. This may have been because I underestimated the work involved or they were just more needy than anticipated. These could often be turned into C clients just be adjusting their fee to match the workload.

Do you have clients or services which need to be overhauled?

It’s worth doing this exercise once a year looking at profitability, organisational fit and how much you enjoy the work.