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Becoming Succession Ready: Client Dossiers

Updated: Apr 11, 2022

When contemplating your practice succession, there are many moving parts to consider.

One of the key stages of your succession planning is the transition of your client relationships to your successor.

As you prepare for your succession and the due diligence process that will follow, it is expected that you will have high-quality client files and working papers. There will often be an up-to-date structure diagram of each client group's entities and all the associated details. What is often missing is all the intangible knowledge about your clients that you, your fellow partners, and team members know.

When it comes to practice transition, having as much knowledge and information about each client will be critical to a successful transition when it comes to practice transition.

Typically, during a practice transition, your client knowledge is shared in various discussions and meetings leading up to actual client meetings you might attend with your successor. Post any initial client meetings; you may be required to provide further information about your clients. Typically, all technical details on a client group will be shared via the client file or through different discussions. Inevitably what is missed is all the periphery information about the client. The ability to share relevant client information that you have captured over many years of servicing your client will be critically important in helping to transition your clients successfully.

In preparation for your succession and client transition, a different approach and an extremely worthwhile exercise to invest time in are to develop 'client dossiers' for each of your key client groups. You might aim to prepare client dossiers for your top 25 client groups as a starting point.

Some of the information you might consider capturing for each client group is:

  • Who is the key decision-maker in the business

  • History of the client's business and any notable successes over the years

  • Key relationships with other clients

  • Which staff have worked with the client

  • What are the dos and don'ts in servicing the client

  • What are the client's hobbies/interests/passions

  • What are the client's short/medium/long term objectives

The following 'Client Dossier' template will provide a more detailed guide to some of the relevant information you might consider capturing as you prepare your client dossiers for each of your key client groups.

Taking the time to focus on your key clients and work through one client group a week for six months will prove an invaluable exercise as you prepare for your succession.

Produce video 'client dossiers' - whilst you might simply manually document each client dossier for your successor, another way you might consider is to prepare a quick video recording, whereby you talk through all the relevant information about a client group. Loom is a helpful and low-cost tool you might consider to capture your audio recordings and incorporate any information you might have on your computer systems at the same time. The process of recording a 'video client dossier' might prove to be a more time-efficient method than manually recording all your required information.



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