State of client engagement

Ignition’s first ‘State of client engagement’ report explores the impact that delaying awkward client conversations has on accounting professionals and their firms in the United Kingdom. From late payments and out of scope work to writing off invoices and losing staff – the repercussions of avoiding or delaying these conversations are significant. If ignored, find out how this can impact the financial health and wellbeing of your firm.
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Insights from 470 accountants and bookkeepers in the UK. All in our report.
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This report has been modified for different regions, click here to access the US version or the AU version.

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Putting off awkward client conversations comes at a cost

Of accountants and bookkeepers said they have delayed or avoided having an awkward conversation with a client.
Of accountants and bookkeepers said they experience awkward client situations of chasing clients for late payments.
Of accountants and bookkeepers have written-off all or part of an invoice to avoid having an awkward conversation with a client in the past 12 months.
Of accountants and bookkeepers said their and their teams’ mental health has suffered as a result of avoiding or delaying awkward client conversations.

Out-of-scope work: How to avoid leaving over $76k on the table

With unrecovered out of scope work costing accounting and bookkeeping professionals over $76k per year on average, US firms are leaving money on the table.

Hear from our expert panel about Ignition’s latest research insights on the cost of avoiding awkward situations, and the tools and strategies your firm can use to put an end to these.

Unrecovered out of scope work costing firms nearly £70k per year

If you work in the professional services industry, awkward client situations will invariably occur. Our report shows that delaying or avoiding these has considerable financial costs for firms – with 38% of accountants and bookkeepers experiencing a loss of potential income for the business by putting off an awkward client conversation. What’s more, unrecovered out of scope work is costing accounting and bookkeeping firms in the UK nearly £70k on average each per year.

The more we highlight the issue, the more we can share solutions that help overcome these situations and improve client relationships.

Firms pay a heavy price for avoiding awkward conversations

There is a significant human cost to avoiding or delaying awkward client conversations. Accountants and bookkeepers tell us that in some cases, delaying or avoiding these situations has led to staff overworking, taking more time away from work or going as far as to resign. Thirty percent of accountants and bookkeepers who have avoided or delayed an awkward client conversation said staff have quit as a consequence.

Accounting and bookkeeping firms can no longer afford to put off these conversations. Read the report and #shareyourawkward client conversations with us.

How to deal with awkward client conversations: A survival guide

Awkward client conversations are adding to the pressures on accounting and bookkeeping firms in the post COVID-19 world as they also face workplace trends such as ‘quiet quitting’ and ‘the great resignation’. We look at some of the issues confronting companies while psychologist Clare Mann offers advice on how firms can act to make life better for themselves and their clients.

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Overcoming awkward client conversations


As part of Ignition’s 2022 ‘State of engagement’ report, we’re lifting the lid on the awkward client conversations that accountants and bookkeepers experience in the UK. What awkward client conversations have you experienced? How have these conversations affected your firm? We want to hear from you! Record your awkward conversation story and share on social media using #shareyourawkward for a chance to win US$300.
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State of client engagement

Awkward client conversations are the norm in the professional services industry. Our report uncovers the effects that delaying or avoiding these has on accounting firms and their employees. Find out why:

✔️ 62% find chasing clients for late payments awkward.

✔️ 53% said delaying or avoiding awkward conversations has impacted their client relationships.

✔️ 45% said errors in proposals sent manually have led to awkward client conversations with clients in the past.

Read full report

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Why we’re doing this

At Ignition, we believe that while life can be awkward sometimes, your client relationships don’t have to be. With the right tools, accountants and bookkeepers can get on the same page as their clients right from the start and face these awkward client situations head-on, to spark lasting client relationships.