Managing Client Relationships in a Down Economy
There is no question that the current economy is putting the squeeze on many professional practices. While most accountants aren’t in danger of going bankrupt, there is heightened anxiety throughout the industry as professionals grapple with flat or falling revenues and rising costs. You, too, are probably feeling the effects of the economic downturn, as your clients also look for ways to cut costs.
During tough economic times, a familiar pattern occurs in small business. As production drops, profits drop even faster. Even a slight drop in income sets off alarm bells in the minds of many owners. To stave off a serious decline in revenues, the small business owner will often feel compelled to offer services to customers that might previously have been referred out to “specialists”, or to substantially discount products or services in order to obtain business. Additionally, the business owner will certainly seek to cut business overhead.
This last point has a direct impact on the livelihood of the professional accountant, bookkeeper or business consultant. When businesses tighten their belts, they may not necessarily do it in a logical manner. They may procrastinate by stalling on purchases or putting projects on hold indefinitely. They may buy smaller quantities of supplies, even if this means ordering much more frequently. And they may cut back on their reliance on accounting or consulting professionals.