5 Tips for Dealing With Chronically Late Accounting Clients

Accounting tasks require plenty of scheduling and have tight deadlines. A CPA has to ensure that their clients submit all the necessary documents way before they are due—sounds easier than it is since many people procrastinate their accounting. If you’re having trouble with a handful of tardy clients, here are some things that you can do to plan for or even reform their habits.

Migrate your processes to the cloud

Cloud-based accounting management software lets you interact with your clients throughout the year. Your clients can upload documents way ahead of tax season. With cloud-based software, your client and your staff can both get real-time assessments of audits, tax returns, and other important documents.

Clients also have access to checklists of things to submit, as well as deadlines for these documents. With this system, they can easily meet your expectations without the need for lengthy correspondence.

Send them periodic reminders

Although your clients can view the deadlines on your accounting practice software, you must still send them regular notifications regarding upcoming deliverables. Send reminders with lists of needed documents to prompt clients who are prone to submitting last-minute.

Clients sometimes neglect to submit not because they are actively avoiding it, but because they have plenty of things on their plate. Sending them reminders, whether through e-mail or mobile notifications, could help nudge them to action.

Take note of unusual delays

Sometimes, instead of having to deal with chronically late customers, you must figure out what is wrong with a client who normally submits on time but has not reached out to you presently. This could be an indicator that there is a larger issue in the company that needs more attention.

If this happens, reach out to your clients in mid-March and inquire about their situation. Perhaps there is a financial setback or a health problem that they’re grappling with, making it hard for them to meet their tax responsibilities for that year.

Remind them why it is better to submit punctually

Emphasize to your clients the benefits of submitting the paperwork for their taxes early. When clients submit information way before the deadline, it allows CPAs to provide them with strategic advice. Late submissions often result in rushing compliance, especially towards the end of a busy season.

Impose penalties (as a last resort)

You don’t want to have to implement this, but companies with tight budgets and contract pricing for audits would understand. If costs escalate, the clients might have a greater incentive to meet deadlines.

To succeed with this approach, you must communicate the consequences of submitting late. Prioritize clarity; inform your clients of the fees they could incur if they submit late, and give your reasons for imposing these fines. A sensible firm would see the reasoning behind it, and they would not make a big deal of things.


Clients, like you, are often busy with the various tasks they need to accomplish. Help them meet their goals by building systems that encourage them to submit their tax paperwork ahead of time. When you do this, you help them produce more value for their business while making work efficient for yourself.

Streamline your processes when you team up with My Firm 360. Our CPA practice management software lets you build efficient systems that allow you to quickly perform high-quality bookkeeping, tax filing, and accounting for your clients. Get in touch with us today for more details!

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