All the time, effort, energy and money expended putting together an affiliation between the firms will be wasted if absolute measures are not taken to ensure client retention. A detailed transition plan is crucial because without a plan the parties are inviting failure or at the very least encouraging challenges that are not necessary.
There are several keys to client and staff retention. Keep in mind the acronym “TRACK” to assist you in developing your transition plan.
- Transition plans must be jointly developed and executed. This will ensure a well-represented plan.
- Realize that change experienced by the clients (not necessarily internal change) produces questions and insecurities for both staff and clients and a good transition plan addresses, up front, most if not all these questions.
- Acknowledge that a good transition plan includes all components such as technologies, personnel, training, location(s), processes and timelines, workflow, licensing, etc.
- Continuity equals retention of both staff and clients. Keep changes that the clients will see (for example, they won’t care if you change the software) small and implemented over time.
- Keep emphasizing to all (staff, clients and partners) the gain of the new firm, partners, talents and services not the loss of the old one.
Transition Advisors makes available to its clients an extensive transition checklist, for firms of all sizes, ensuring a smooth transition. Should you wish to review this checklist please use the ASK THE ADVISORS link below to submit your request.
More information on transition:
- Keeping it Together: Plan the Transition to Retain Staff and Clients (Part 2 of 2) by Joel Sinkin and Terrence Putney, Journal of Accountancy, c2009
- The Value of a Smooth Transition in Tough Times by Joel Sinkin, Small Firm Solutions, c2009
- The Long Goodbye by Joel Sinkin and Terrence Putney, Journal of Accountancy, c2013
- See also the Transition information in this section