To most individuals and businesses in need of accounting services, accountants are basically interchangeable – granted, some are better than others, but to them, we all seem to offer the same services. This is the hurdle you need to overcome in order to grow your practice. Here are four suggestions to help you set yourself apart.
1) Distinguish yourself. Do some soul-searching and think about your messaging, your branding. What makes you different from other accountants or accounting practices? Why do you do what you do, and how does that permeate through your practice and affect your clients? What is your expertise and your ideal client profile, so you know whom to target with your messaging? If you haven’t thought through these questions, do that first. If you have, evaluate how well you have been marketing your distinctive qualities to draw the right kind of clientele. Consider what changes you need to make in your practice or your packaging in order to send a bold, clear message about what makes you the right choice for your target audience.
2) Enhance your technology. Determine what tools are available to make it easier to work with your clients. Develop and market online meeting tools so you can interact remotely and on short notice with important clients. Offer a chatbot on your website or a special report for people who visit your website and offer their contact information. Dive into cloud-based tax solutions or accounting software that is connected with your clients’ software so that you can monitor accuracy and quality of information and offer remote accounting services.
3) Improve your communication. Offer an exclusive newsletter specific to your clients’ niche needs. Institute a frequent personal check-in with those clients you only see at tax-time – perhaps a quarterly call just to see if they have any questions or problems you can resolve. In conjunction with this, we recommend you offer a consultancy service so that, if questions require more than a quick answer, you’re not giving away your expertise for free but can offer ongoing advice that will improve your client’s bottom line and avoid problems that could arise during the year.
4) Attract more high-quality clientele. Become a thought leader to establish your industry and accounting expertise, while simultaneously building relationships with your best clients – the ones who offer regular work, use multiple services, and pay on time. These are the clients you particularly want to get referrals from. Since they know and trust your services, ask them to help you grow by answering a few questions: What social media do they use online where you could successfully market your services? LinkedIn? Facebook? An industry-specific website? What additional services would they be interested in, if you offered them? Whom do they know who might also need your services?
Start applying these four steps and re-evaluate regularly to be always improving. You will see your practice grow to the extent that you are able to apply these principles and constantly refine and build on them.