7 ways your accounting firm can bring more value to your clients

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7 ways your accounting firm can bring more value to your clients

Are you looking to grow and diversify your accounting business? Hoping to become a trusted advisor to small businesses in areas other than tax planning and preparation?

There are many opportunities for accounting firms to expand their client base – especially among small businesses. A survey of Clutch found that less than half (45 percent) of small businesses do not use an accountant or bookkeeper. This oversight can hurt their finances or waste valuable time that could be invested in other areas of their business.

However, some companies face an uphill struggle to win the trust of the business community. Accounting Today reported that many small businesses that don’t work with accountants have “low passion” for the profession and are less likely to use their services in the coming year.

How can you overcome these stereotypes and take your accounting firm to the next level? Here are seven strategies and tactics for growth that may be helpful.

first. Understand what has made you successful — and what is holding you back

Many CPAs say they are so busy providing services or so bogged down in compliance tasks like audits and filings that they don’t have time to market and grow their businesses.

Accounting is a stable profession, so it can be very tempting to sit on your laurels. However, if you want to grow your business and expand the value you bring to your small business customers, staying the course won’t cut it, it’s time to adopt a growth mindset. develop.

Accounting Today asked a panel of experts which key initiatives will drive growth, and an insight from panelist Angie Grissom, president of Rain-making companies, Very deep:

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Treat your company as if it were brand new. Identify what has made you successful (for example, customer service culture or technical talent). continue to focus, strengthen the strengths, overcome the weak areas. Put good people in charge of these initiatives. Search for experts. Maintain the path. Set alarm tone. Let’s chase it.

2. Learn from your competitors

Who are your competitors and how do you measure them? Where is the gap in the market for your niche services?

ONE overwork analysis will help you understand how you measure your competition, identify opportunities for your company, and what it takes to get there. For tips, read: Keeping tabs on the competition: 6 ways that can help your business grow.

You can even use this exercise to learn directly from the competition. If another company is doing what you want, find a way to connect with them and learn from their experience. Of course, you don’t want to target your direct competitors, instead look beyond the area code or use LinkedIn or association membership to meet and greet companies. other in your space.

3. Become priceless

The world of accounting is based on the premise of time sales or service. If you’re going to succeed as a trusted small business advisor and change your paradigm, you’ll need to focus on selling your real added value to those businesses. your knowledge and experience.

The most important quality or feature small businesses look for in an accountant, according to Accounting Today, they are “my trusted advisor” (78%). Accountants, arguably, provide the best source of advice on what a business should do to grow. But don’t try to be all things to all people. Find your niche – whether it’s one or two areas of high demand – and focus on marketing those areas.

4. Market your knowledge fiercely

Don’t underestimate the importance of developing a marketing plan to help you reposition your business and what you have to offer. The good news is that there are plenty of free tools you can use to help you get started.

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For example, AICPA provides a free marketing toolkit that can help you attract new clients and improve relationships with existing ones, show you’re a trusted advisor, and educate your potential customers and the business community about CPA service.

Look for opportunities to showcase your expertise to the media, whether through interviews, articles or blogs. Host client seminars on small business themed topics at your office or local low-cost location. Blogging is also a great way to showcase your expertise and drive traffic to your website. Here are some articles that can help you in these areas:

  • Does your business need a marketing makeover?
  • 8 ways to create PR on a budget
  • Do-it-yourself public relations for small business owners
  • Lots of blogging tips (you will find more articles in this link)
  • 10 Public Speaking Tips and Tricks for Small Business Owners
  • And more marketing tips.

5. Make customer challenges your priority

As you begin to step outside of the “commodity” role and look to expand your relationships with your customers, remember to engage with them. Instead of showing up at tax time, make your business a priority. Hold meetings or take them out to lunch to discuss not only their accounting needs but their growth plans and pain points.

Again, search from Accounting Today reveals that perennial issues faced by small businesses over the past 12 months include:

  • Cash flow problems – 32 percent
  • Low profitability – 31 percent
  • Massive customer loss – 22%
  • Need capital – 21 percent
  • Too much debt – 11 percent

Cash flow and profitability represent a great opportunity for accounting firms to act as trusted advisors. Cash flow is also a major obstacle to success (37%).

Other ways to add value include identifying gaps in customers’ knowledge and hosting free or discounted training sessions to help them get up to speed. Bookkeeping is a small business weakness (47 percent turn to their accountant for help with this) and a great starting point. These sessions will not only be helpful to your customers, but the more time you spend communicating, the better your chances of bringing home your added value.

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Check out this article, What accountants can do for your business and what they can’t, just to name a few things a proactive accountant can do for a small business.

6. Invest in people and yourself

Make sure to develop a plan for your expected business growth. If you want to do more with your customers, you’ll need a helping hand. This could involve hiring a junior accountant or outsourcing some of your business functions to a virtual assistant. When planning for growth, you may also need to consider hiring employees into non-accounting roles, such as business development, sales, and day-to-day business management.

What about your own skill set? Whether you benefit from an enhanced conversion plan or you need to get up to speed How the new tax law affects your customersSet up a personal development plan.

The American Institute of CPA (AICPA) is a good resource for webcasts, self-study and group training as well Academy of Certified Management Accountants.

Today’s accountant also holds regular webcasts, and there is a resource library belong to White paper, and eBooks to help you keep your finger on the pulse.

Technology is also changing rapidly. As new cloud-based AI solutions and accounting tools emerge, test your business, educate yourself on the latest innovations, and train accordingly.

7. Find a mentor

Mentoring by peers is one option to expand your knowledge base, but there are many other mentoring options. AICPA, for example, can connect you with a mentor through state CPA societies. Member volunteers can help based on your area of ​​interest, experience and individual needs.

If you’re looking for help with general business planning or growth, check out SCORED. Sponsored by the SBA, SCORE connects entrepreneurs and small business owners with a mentor (usually business leaders with experience in a variety of functions and industries) for free.

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