I, like most people, enjoy being right. Then again, I might enjoy being right a little too much. But, every once and a while I get my comeuppance. Recently, readers of Electronic Accountant delivered it in the results to an online survey that I helped to develop.

It was a very simple question: When was the last time you fired a client?

___ Longer than two years ago

___ Within the last one to two years

___ Within the last year

___ Never

I really expected most practitioners to answer longer than two years ago or never. Boy, was I ever wrong! The overwhelming majority, some 56 percent, indicated that it was within the last year and another 15 percent said within the last one to two years.

I was in shock. Yes, we have written a number of articles over the years on the desirability of firing clients. But somehow I thought that practitioners believed in it solely in theory, not in practice. This instantaneous Internet feedback tripped me up.

Okay, I deserved it, but are you any different than me? Don't you love being right? Is it likely that you might be wrong on some of your preconceived notions? Why not test some of them? It can be on your Internet site or maybe via e-mail. Try asking your clients or others in your firm, a question to which you think you know the answer.

In the case of clients, it could be open-ended questions such as, What do you like best about our firm? What could our firm do better? Or, it could be a specific question like, Do you know our firm does asset management? Yes __ No __

I wonder if you would get the same answer from a partner or staff accountant to, What do you think is the important employee benefit not currently offered by the firm? And whose answer is more important, the partner or the staff accountant? We all have preconceived notions. However, I am just not sure we are sufficiently aware of what they might be. Try finding out.

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