Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Client liaison: Dealing with your first EOFY

There’s only one date on the tax calendar that has the potential to frighten even the most seasoned tax professional: 30 June.

One of the biggest pressure points during these closing months is dealing with clients who are also feeling the pinch. Navigating this initiation into end of financial year (EOFY) can often become equally about client management as it is about the steep increase in your workload.

Here are our tips to help you handle difficult client relationships and come out ahead this EOFY.

Protect yourself from risk

While never a pleasant realisation, in the tax accountancy industry there’s always the potential threat of litigation. Complaints most commonly registered about tax advisors include those who do not lodge documentation in a timely manner or do not process and forward refunds to their clients promptly.

Of course, you can protect yourself by asking your clients a number of questions rather than simply relying on the documentation and information they provide. Ensure you have an open channel of communication with your clients – that way, should there be any delays processing their documentation you have an opportunity to provide a solution on how the situation could be rectified.

Be prepared and take the initiative

Tax mistakes are more likely to arise if your clients have not been in regular contact throughout the financial year. Whether this includes something as minor as miscoding bank transactions or more significant still, such as not keeping tax records up to date, errors in documentation can soon become time-consuming tasks to amend. Many firms now encourage their tax specialists to send reminders to their existing clients about the approaching EOFY. By prompting their hand, you’ll have an opportunity to better plan your schedule as well as make requests for additional information or timely fixes.

Be specific, not agreeable

When dealing with clients, they may be prone to unloading their undue stress on to you. In this case, while it may be tempting to offer advice, it is not wise to agree with them or communicate with them in vague terms that they can misconstrue. Offer your clients specific timelines for documentation processing and continue to ask them measurable phrases such as: “If this is completed, does it fix your issue?”

EOFY doesn't have to be a daunting time. By staying on top of your clients’ demands, you can sail through the period and grow as a tax professional.


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