Grow Your Accounting Firm: Onboarding Clients

The quality of relationship you have with clients is an essential ingredient in the formula for firm success. Your growth is directly impacted by what your client thinks of you, especially during the early stages of the relationship.

This is why you need to make a really good impression. The onboarding stage is where you can further reinforce the positive impression you’ve made with the client.

Onboarding is the process of bringing in a new client to the firm. This presents an opportunity for you to build a good relationship, address issues and get them up to speed with your processes with the goal of retaining the business for the long haul.

This is why it is important that firms create a seamless, simple and speedy onboarding process. It should not be complicated or overwhelm the client because it might negatively impact the likelihood of upselling other services or getting referrals.

Furthermore, an efficient onboarding process will build confidence in your business.

Begin Even Before The First Contact

Successful onboarding begins with proper planning. The work starts even before you make that first phone call or schedule the first meeting. You need to identify your ideal clients first so you can easily devise strategies to better serve their needs.

Have a standardised process. Each step must be clearly laid out so clients can know exactly what to expect. Standardisation should also save you time and money. It is important to remember, however, that while it is important to make room for unique requirements from some clients, offering flexibility is good because clients can rest assured that you will accommodate future requests and that helps improve the client experience.

Identify The Right Technologies

Select critical technologies needed to get the job done. This accomplishes two things: first, it tells clients that your firm is ready to take on the changes occuring in the industry and, second, you can get the work done as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Technology has been a huge enabler for offshoring. Global accounting teams need to utilise—and make the most out of—available technology to increase productivity and improve efficiency. Automate processes whenever possible.

Consult the team. Get their insights on the top applications and software you need. Remember to go beyond the critical accounting applications and also include tools for improved communication among the team and other purposes.

Choose someone to train on how to use these applications. That individual will become the expert who can then teach other team members as well as the client.

Map Out Responsibilities Clearly

Establish what each party needs to provide to make the relationship work. Agree on the engagement. Identify and explain what both of you need to do.

Proper communication is important in this stage. Set clear expectations.

Some more important things to remember when onboarding a client:

  • Design an onboarding process that’s easily repeatable to create efficiencies which eventually help scale the business.
  • Clients are most likely to churn during the first 90 days so make sure that you create a seamless process and demonstrate value as early as possible.
  • Provide training to clients if needed to build confidence and trust.


  • Onboarding starts before you even talk to your potential client
  • Identify who your target client is–and who they are not
  • Outline your process
  • Every step of the onboarding process must be laid out in a clear, logical manner
  • Instill confidence in your client by having the process laid out in paper; they must know exactly what will happen
  • Make sure to select the technologies you will use

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If you are struggling to grow your firm, call our offshoring specialists at 1300 896 522 or click here to download our blueprint on how to build a global accounting team.