Horrible new client

Nightmare new client. Meet them for the first time recently, gave them business structure advice and then calls me two weeks later with a very sarcastic tone asking why the business is not set up yet. I politely tell her that we are waiting for HMRC to send all the details through. I then inform her that this commonly in my experience takes 2 - 6 weeks. She then leaves me a very sarcastic voice message saying she has called 'companies house' and it takes 5 days maximum. OMG a little knowledge is dangerous, she thinks she's knows everything but in fact called the wrong organisation! Knows better than me but doesn't know the difference between companies house and HMRC. I can't stand people who think they know everything. It's like me telling my mechanic how to fix my clutch. I told her to find a new accountant as she is not the sort of client I take on. I'm not in the position where I have to take on any Tom, Dick and Harry thankfully.

This is the first time I have had someone who has been such hard work and questions everything without much understanding. Has anyone had a client like this?



  • Newchurch
    Newchurch Registered Posts: 1
    Hi Steve,

    In my experience this is not an uncommon problem. The best way to deal with it is be confident in your own knowledge and don't let them get under your skin. Ultimately, if she had known so much and if it was that easy, why was she coming to you in the 1st place?

    In your situation I would have got her in and had a face to face conversation (people tend to be a little less brave when they don't have a telephone line or keyboard between you and them) and calmly explained the difference between HMRC and Companies House. Then followed that up with a comment about managing her expectations. All the while remaining calm, polite and friendly, traits that people seem to be so alien to these days it often takes the bluster from their sails.

  • stevo5678
    stevo5678 Registered Posts: 325
    Thanks Craig,

    I am confident in what I've told her and she was completely different in the first meeting face to face like you said.

    However I am not going to build my practice with these types of client as I believe it's helps to have certain standards as to who you choose to act for although in the early days you can't afford to be picky.

    I'm not wasting anymore of my time on this one. I have an instinct with people/clients and know that this client will be more pain than gain. I've lived with one in the past who I've now let go and wish it was done earlier!

    I just don't like people with this kind of attitude in life as a whole, they just breed negativity.

    I agree that it is wise to stay as professional as possible in such circumstances as there is no gain in letting personal feelings be known.

  • burg
    burg Moderator, FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 1,441

    I have been there. Whilst I admire your attitude of these are the type of clients that can cause a negative vibe I have a two sided view. Firstly it is hard for anyone other than you to really know how much of a pain they had been already rather than misunderstanding.

    The first part of me says you are right and that often these clients turn out to be a pain all the time. It's sometime best to weed these out now.

    Thes other part says I've taken on clients like this before and clearly told them how we work and we we expect and they have been fine.

    Only you can decide if that client is likely to learn to work your way or not. Stick to your guns of not having PITA (Pain in the A@!) clients but ensure you don't sned perfectly decent clients away who just need a bit more guidance of what to expect at the outset.

  • stevo5678
    stevo5678 Registered Posts: 325
    edited April 2015
    Thanks Ian, I do understand what you are saying and this is my normal approach, IE give them the benefit of the doubt and see how it develops. In this case it was beyond what i have come across before and have gone with option 1!

    Incidentally her brother contacted me (they are a partnership) apologising for her actions. He ironically seems like a nice guy but she is the one who I would of been dealing with.

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