The competition for accounting clients can be as intense as in any other industry. That’s why it makes sense to pay attention to client services and frequently expand or improve what your firm offers. Talk to your clients and others in the industry to find out what they really expect of their accountant and what would make them most likely to leave for a competitor or stay with your firm indefinitely. The answers might surprise you.
Make the Pain Points of Your Clients Your Own
Your accounting clients may have the mistaken idea that you can only help them at tax time. The benefit of interviewing clients and getting to know them better is that you probably have a solution for their most pressing needs. Your interview doesn’t need to be anything formal, either. Taking your clients to lunch is a way to express your appreciation for their business while learning more about how you can help. To give you an idea of pain points, consider this Top 5 list from a recent research study conducted by Accounting Today:
- Cash flow
- Profitability not where expected
- Coping with loss of a top client
- Need to raise more capital
- Excessive business debt
As you can see, none of these issues have anything to do with filing an annual business tax return.
Price Your Services According to the Value They Offer to Clients
While many accounting firms still charge hourly rates, the practice is becoming less common all the time. Offering value-based pricing allows clients to gain a better understanding of the services performed by your firm and the time and complexity involved with each task. It also helps you retain clients who might go elsewhere because they’re uncomfortable with an estimate using the hourly system that might end up much higher than anticipated.
Take a More Aggressive Approach with Marketing Your Accounting Firm
Word-of-mouth advertising and referrals from past or current clients are a great way to obtain new clients, but these methods only go so far. To ensure a steady influx of new clients, develop a formal marketing plan and stick to it. You can find many marketing tools for the accounting industry free online.
Consider writing accounting-related blogs, granting media interviews, and holding seminars on financial topics in the local community to get the name of your accounting firm out there. Don’t forget to follow up on every lead to see if you can answer questions or offer free teaser services to potential new clients.
Join the Professional Association of Small Business Accountants for More Tips
One of the greatest benefits of becoming a PABSA member is that you can learn so much from your fellow professional accountants. We invite you to learn more about our organization and how it can help your accounting firm increase its bottom line.