Yup, It’s the Client’s Fault (Again)

In this month’s Accounting Today, Roger Russell’s article Don t Let Clients Drag You Down furthers the belief system that accountants need to be cautious of “client’s” and their undocumented expectations.

The article opens, “Being sued for something you’ve done wrong is bad enough, but getting sued when you have performed your work diligently and correctly can be devastating. Yet that’s what oftentimes happens when accountants fail to communicate with their clients exactly what to expect.”

The article then prescribe the usual remedies: better engagement letters, better spelling out of the firm’s responsibilities, and, of course, “Be aware of what is a reasonable fee.”

Nowhere is it suggested that a conversation about the value to the customer be had. Nowhere is it suggested that the professional and the customer should agree to a fixed price upfront before the work is performed. Nowhere is it suggested that the customer be given some choices with regard to the work performed. Nowhere is it suggested that the professional is responsible for managing the scope creep and scope seep.

Once again the advice is to treat the symptoms, not the cause, which is never even mentioned in the article – The ABH (Almighty Billable Hour).

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