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Seamless onboarding: A comprehensive accounting client intake form

accounting client intake form
By Drazen Vujovic. Last Updated February 2, 2024

New clients expect accounting firms to provide top-notch services and financial guidance from day one, which makes onboarding a critical juncture with two possible outcomes.

Firms that don’t build an accounting client intake form often end up struggling with back-and-forth communication. On the other hand, accounting practices with a comprehensive intake form collect information in a structured manner, ensuring clarity and professional consistency.

If you prefer the latter outcome, read on to learn how to craft a perfect client intake form for your accounting practice. 

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What is an accounting client intake form?

client intake form viewed on a laptop

A client intake form for accounting practices is a document or questionnaire for gathering essential information about a new client. It can help your accounting firm collect relevant details to understand a client’s financial situation and overall goals.

Client intake forms in accounting typically cover aspects like company info, contact details, financial data, and specific services required. As such, these documents represent a critical element of a successful onboarding process.

Related: How to create a killer bookkeeping client intake form

The benefits of a good accounting client intake process

signing up a new client

Crafting a new client intake form obviously requires a certain amount of effort from your side. In such circumstances, it’s good to understand the actual benefits it brings to you and your prospective clients. Here are the key advantages: 

  • Efficient workflow: A well-designed client intake process streamlines the accounting workflow by making sure that you collect relevant details about new clients. 
  • Improved client communication: A structured intake process helps you understand your client. That way, the process improves your communication and client relationships.
  • Risk assessment: A client intake form helps you understand the nature of your client's business, so you can quickly evaluate the opportunities or risks involved in serving this organization.
  • Resource management: This process can also save you a lot of time by standardizing certain aspects of client onboarding — it eliminates repetitive tasks and redundant paperwork. 
  • Increased efficiency: Last but not least, intake forms enable you to prioritize rewarding client engagements. This approach improves the efficiency of your client portfolio management and contributes to long-term profitability.

Questions to include in your accounting client intake form

accounting office

Accounting practices work with all types of organizations, so it’s impossible to create a universal list of questions. However, we’ll show you a simple client intake form that you can customize for each onboarding process individually. Here are the main questions for a good client intake form: 

General information

  1. Company name
  2. Industry type
  3. What is your company’s physical address?
  4. What is your full name?
  5. What is your email address?
  6. What is your phone number? 

Company-related information

  1. How long has your company been in operation?
  2. What is the size of your company (number of employees)?
  3. What is the legal structure of your company (e.g., sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation)?
  4. How frequently does your company require financial reporting or bookkeeping services (e.g., monthly, quarterly, annually)?
  5. How many bank accounts do you have?
  6. Are there any specific accounting challenges or pain points your company has been facing?

Accounting questions

  1. What specific accounting services are you seeking (e.g., bookkeeping, tax planning, financial statement preparation, business advisory)?
  2. Do you have an inventory system in place? 
  3. Are your tax reports up to date? 
  4. Are you currently using any accounting software? If yes, which one?
  5. Do you have any specific accounting or financial challenges you would like us to address?

Financial goals

  1. What are your short-term and long-term financial goals?
  2. How would you like us to assist you in achieving these goals?
  3. What are your expectations from our accounting firm?
  4. Are there any deadlines or time-sensitive tasks we should be aware of?
  5. Is there any additional information you’d like to share with us?

Tips for your creating your intake form

As we already mentioned, you can customize intake forms to match the peculiarities of your clients. In this case, it’s highly recommended to follow a few practical tips for creating a client intake form template. Here they are:

1. Keep it focused

Understanding what’s relevant to your work is very important when designing intake forms for accounting clients. You should keep the questionnaire short and sweet because complicated forms often discourage clients from completing them. It’s best to streamline the form by removing redundant questions and using straightforward language.

Less is more

2. Include relevant sections

Another tip is to tailor your client intake form template to capture the specific information required for accounting services. We already pointed out some of them, but you may also include the following details:

  • Income sources
  • Expense-related information
  • Financial statements
  • Current financial challenges
  • Any other details you might deem important

In addition, remember that most people find it simpler to fill out the form if you add checkboxes, dropdown menus, or multiple-choice options where applicable.

3. Ensure clarity and readability

The third tip is to optimize the readability of your client intake form by using a legible font, appropriate font size, and logical organization. You should clearly label each section and field to avoid confusion. 

Consider using headings or subheadings to group related questions together, making it easier for clients to navigate the form and understand what information is being requested.

4. Prioritize data security

Client trust is paramount in the accounting industry, and so is confidentiality. Assure clients that you’ll handle their personal and financial information securely by implementing data encryption, secure storage systems, and privacy policies. 

We also encourage you to explicitly state your commitment to data protection on the form itself, reinforcing the confidentiality measures you have in place.

5. Pick the right form builder

Most accounting practices use online builders and data collection tools to design intake forms. We suggest choosing a tool with a range of customization abilities and advanced features. In addition, it should offer high-quality form templates for accounting firms, so you can get the job done effortlessly. 

You have lots of form-building options available online, so we’ll cut a long story short by presenting the benefits of our platform: Content Snare

The best tool for creating your accounting client intake form

Content Snare is an intuitive data collection system that helps accounting firms (and many others) obtain information from their clients on time. 

What makes our platform so efficient?

It’s a range of well-organized features that help you and your clients exchange files and information as quickly as possible. The whole process is semi-automated courtesy of the following functions:

  • A superior library of templates for accounting firms
  • Automatic reminders that gently nudge your clients to send the files you need
  • Pre-filling for the information you already know about your clients
  • Approvals and/or rejections of clients’ inputs
  • In-form conversations to clarify specific details

According to the survey, a typical client of ours spends 71% less time gathering information compared to the pre-Content Snare era. This makes our tool one of the biggest efficiency boosters for accounting practices. Are you ready to give it a go?

Build accounting intake forms with Content Snare

Streamline the way you capture accounting client information with Content Snare’s customizable forms and questionnaires — or use one of our growing number of ready-made templates.

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Drazen Vujovic

Dražen Vujović is a journalist and content writer. More importantly, he is a father of two and a long-distance runner.