The secret to any long-lasting company-client relationship is a great first impression. Regardless of what industry you’re in, your onboarding procedures will dictate if you’ll have a short or long-term engagement with your prospective customers.

For B2B and SaaS companies like accounting firms, maintaining a healthy relationship with their clients is necessary for their survival. Since their ultimate goal is to develop long-term contracts, it’s vital to have an effective onboarding procedure to prevent any potential issues later. The better beginnings you have with your clients, the less likely you’ll experience complications from them in complying with your contract.

The danger of committing onboarding mistakes

The best-case scenario you could have with a poor onboarding experience is having a prospective client opt-out of subscribing to your service. The bigger issue is maintaining them as a business partner and developing a poor working relationship afterward. This is why it’s necessary to establish the grounds of your business contract without committing major mistakes.

Onboarding New Clients: 3 Mistakes to Avoid

If you want to ensure a quality accounting client onboarding experience, here are 3 mistakes you should avoid.

1. Dealing with the wrong clients

As an accounting firm, you need to identify what kind of audience niche you want to service. Although it’s necessary to diversify your options, you and your team might not have the training or expertise to handle specific establishments in particular industries. You must affirm your compatibility with your client before you consider partnering with them.

For example, some firms end up accepting clients only for the potential payout. However, their inexperience in industry-specific taxation laws can lead to the company’s inefficiency and the client’s loss of trust. Mistakes in handling tax documents won’t just damage your reputation; it will also cost you a hefty fine in violations and fees.

2. Not asking about long-term financial goals

Collecting basic information is a necessary standard operating procedure. This includes the client’s name (or business entity’s title), phone number, email address, tax return forms, and more. Besides collecting these essentials, you should also be open to asking them about their long-term goals and plans. Doing so will ensure that you’re providing them the right service for these financial goals. Remember that your goal as an accounting firm is more than just about handling their taxes; you’re also guiding them toward long-term financial stability.

To avoid losing track of your client’s long term goals and plans, you can use accounting client onboarding applications that manage and oversee project management for accountants. These are specialized digital tools that can help arrange, proof, and submit any essential documents and paperwork you’ll need for your accounting processes.

3. Misidentifying capacity and engagement constraints

Remember that your client should be just as responsible as you are in your business arrangement. In any client relationship, it’s important to set expectations for both sides at the beginning of your contract. Doing so will ensure clear grounds for liabilities for both parties. This includes what kind of bookkeeping or accounting service you’ll provide together with the billing rates you’ll charge them.

Failure to clarify all the specificities of your engagement can lead to arguments or a client feeling disappointed in the services they receive. Instead, by clearly describing the scope of work and how often a client can expect to communicate with your firm, these expectations can be clearly set from the beginning of the relationship and create clear boundaries for your firm – which can be especially nice come tax season.


Having bad customers is an outcome you should avoid since it can happen to an establishment of every industry. Any corporate relationship needs to start with promising beginnings since it’s easier to manage minor issues with a positive outlook. If your clients have their trust in your service, they’re less likely to make outrageous demands or respond negatively to your contract arrangements. With a well-made onboarding process, you can steer your relationship’s flow to ensure you and your clients’ simultaneous growth and success.

Part of ensuring a quality customer experience is being confident in your output. At Financial Cents, we offer an easy-to-use accounting practice management software that makes work convenient for accounting firms. Discover how we can optimize your workflow processes by starting a free trial with us today!