This is one of the hardest things I see firms struggle with — culling clients. This was also covered extensively by Mark Koziel of AICPA PCPS when he did a session for our managing partner group a few weeks ago. You can read about that in our earlier post, How to Win the Talent War.
My addition to this post has to do with the young professionals. My friend, Ron Baker at Verasage, always says, “Bad clients drive out good clients.” I am known to say, “If you do not have a vision for your firm (or practice, or office), your clients will determine your vision and direction.” Think about that for a moment: The types of clients you stuff in the portfolio will ultimately push you to meet their needs and expectations. If they aren’t the right fit — pricing, integrity, growth, specialties, etc. — what will happen to your practice or business?
Our work with young professionals in all sizes of firms, including some of the top firms in the country, has shown that these young professionals “get it.” They are questioning why firms are killing staff to work for less than optimal clients. After some extensive leadership development and strategy courses, the “firing of ‘D’ clients” was one of the their top five things they would do if they were managing partner.
Here is a useful spreadsheet to help you track these clients, courtesy of mark Koziel at PCPS.