Accounting Client Onboarding Checklist
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Accounting client onboarding differs greatly from one client to next. This means that if you onboard a tax planning client and a CFO services client, the checklist for each of them will be very different. Therefore, you will need a checklist that is tailored to your specific industry and service.

Owing to this, a comprehensive accounting client onboarding checklist template is not realizable. It is recommended that you create a checklist that is suitable and appropriate for each service you provide. You should create a separate request list for monthly accounting clients, another for CFO services, another for tax planning, and so on.

That being said, we want to assist you in developing your very own accounting client onboarding process. We will provide you with an example onboarding checklist to help you get started with yours.

Before we get into developing an accounting client onboard checklist, let’s talk about why you need a checklist in the first place.

Overview of Accounting Client Onboarding

There are several purposes of an accounting client onboarding checklist:

– It assists both you and your client in determining the first steps and all necessary information required for the engagement.

– It provides you with a process that you can always adhere to in order to be consistent. 

– It allows you to onboard clients with minimum wasted effort. 

– A good checklist will also give the client a favourable first impression of you.

Accounting Client Onboarding: The First Steps

There are certain questions that must be answered before onboarding an accounting client and it is advisable that you don’t onboard without knowing them. 

a. In what state are the current accounting records?

b. Is this a brand-new company?

c. If accounts have been reconciled, how many are there? 

d. How much cleanup is needed?

e. Would you like to keep or switch your current accounting software?

Items the Client Ought to Present During Accounting Client Onboarding

The following are items to include on your accounting client onboarding checklist:

1. Information about the client’s profile (contact, EIN, State registration numbers)

2. Quickbooks or Xero access

3. Online banking, credit card, and loan accounts are to be made available.

4. Account reconciliations performed most recently

5. Previously filed tax return copies

6. Organizational or incorporated documents copies

Remember that onboarding will vary from one client to the next. Onboarding for an accounting client will be different than onboarding for a tax planning client, let alone a checklist for a CFO client. The checklist above is just a sample.

Accounting Client Onboarding Scope Checklist

Scope is one of the most significant issues that many accountants face, and this is mainly due to the fact that they never define the scope of their engagements during the onboarding process.

Here are some general questions you should address during onboarding to ensure scope clarity:

a. How frequently will we communicate?

b. How will financial packages be distributed?

c. If there is a need for a cleanup, how much will be done?

d. How will the billing be handled? If auto-billed? Has it been enabled?

Why Should You Improve Your Accounting: Procedures for Onboarding New Clients

A shorter onboarding period will increase the long-term success of your accounting firm. Each day that clients spend waiting in the onboarding phase to provide you with the necessary documents is time lost. To accelerate this process as much as possible should be the goal in order to make it as efficient as possible.

To avoid time wastage and in the long run inefficiency, make deadlines and penalties clear to the client so they don’t miss them. Urge the client to get you every necessary document regarding the engagement so you can proceed with the onboarding process.

Providing specific time frames instead of vague and indefinite periods will hasten the process. For example, stating that they need to sign some documents within two business days would make a better effect than simply stating that they would need to sign documents. 

Make it clear that missing a deadline would mean extra charges owing to rushed work, or perhaps their project start date will be forced to be pushed back. Penalties often make people respond. You should make it known that getting the documents you need is a time-sensitive matter.

Nevertheless, you have to reduce lag time. It is advised that you use whatever resources you have at your disposal, sending and receiving documents should be made simple, and organize the client’s entire profile in one location. A number of accountants now implement a smoother onboarding process by utilizing accounting practice software.

Accounting Client Onboarding Checklist 

A sample accounting client onboarding checklist is provided below. This checklist will help you create your client onboarding checklist template. It is not a broad and feasible checklist so it should only be used as a starting point for further development:

– Sign an agreement.

– Keep up with the client on social media.

– Include the client’s email address in the newsletter

– Include the client’s birthday to the calendar.

– Add passwords to a password manager app.

– Plan monthly follow-up meetings.

– Obtain bank access.

– Fill out a new client information questionnaire.

– Obtain permanent documentation from the client.

– Schedule a demonstration of cloud tools.

– Set up recurring billing.

– Create a new Quickbooks file or take over the client’s subscription.

Points for Building a Tax Client Onboarding Checklist Template  

Here’s an example of a prospective tax client onboarding checklist template.

You will need to obtain: 

a) Prior year returns, minimum of one year, preferably two.

b) Quickbooks and/or Xero access.

c) Articles of Incorporation, as well as business creation or union.

d) Operating agreement.

e) A schedule of ownership or a cap table.

f) Duplicates of all Federal Form 941s.

g) Duplicates of all year-end bank, credit card, and loan statements.

Accounting Practice Program Can Aid in the Ease of Onboarding New Clients

We strongly encourage you to include our wealth management program in order to reduce the difficulty of onboarding new clients. Whenever you onboard a new client, you will be able to send and receive files, receive payments, and start offering tax planning services through an easy client relationship portal.

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