Accounting is a field full of potential clients. There isn’t a form of business that doesn’t require some sort of bookkeeping. Being an area of work with high demand, however, means there is also a large supply of competition.
Building an accounting practice from a few stable clients can seem overwhelming. Beyond knowing the type of client you are best suited to serve, you must get their attention. There are several devices such at MY CPA Dashboard, that when employed together make it easier to earn business from new clients.
The best place to start is usually the most obvious. Leverage the relationships you have already built to bring in new clients. This can begin as simply as asking friends and family to recommend you to their contacts, professional or otherwise, as an option for their needs.
Recommendations play a large role in getting new clients in the door, especially in an age where reviews about goods and services can be easily accessed on the go. There are many important avenues that referrals should be made to make sure your name has a wide reach.
There are many ways to share referrals, so being prepared to help in the referral process is an important piece of getting high-quality praise. Leveraging both online and face-to-face methods will be sure to add to your potential client base.
It is equally important to ask the right people at the right time to refer you. Additionally, making it easier for the client will make them more likely to assist. Here are some tips for getting through the entire process.
Use Social Media Tools
Connect with the people who are likely to spread the word about your services in a circle you want to be a part of. By using the networking sites you are already involved in, you can easily see the titles, roles, and contacts of your existing channels. Using this knowledge, you can reach out to the appropriate individuals to get your name moving.
Provide the Means
Your clients are busy, and being respectful of their time will help make sure they give you the referral you are after. There are several items you can provide to make the process of recommending you easier on them. Depending on the avenue of the referral there are different materials you should provide.
For online recommendations, providing your client a link to your website, the Google review page for your business, and templates for emails or social media posts will make it as simple as click and go for your contacts. In addition to providing resources for creating reviews, adding links in emails or on your website that allows clients to easily pass on your information will give them an outlet to spread the word without any additional effort. This is especially useful if you utilize a blog or other free to use resource that shows your skillset openly.
When using face-to-face recommendations, providing a simple business card will ensure your customers can spread the word without any effort. These can be specially crafted for referral purposes or can be a standard business card. The important part is to get your information into the potential client’s hand.
Under Promise, Over Deliver
It is far easier to get a good review from a customer who is happy. Time your request for a recommendation after a positive experience, when the client has been shown the quality of your work. This can be in the regular course of business or after gone above and beyond their expectations.
Accept All Advocacy
Not every contact is going to be will to provide direct referrals, but that does not mean they won’t be open to other types of promotion. Prepare for other types of advocacy, such as testimonials and reviews, so that all clients have an outlet to champion your work. Be sure to ask if you can use any of the provided endorsements in promotional materials or on your website.
Depending on the type of client you are working with, there are various perks you can offer in exchange for the recommendation. When working with another business, you can offer referral sharing, you will promote their business in exchange for them promoting yours. For individuals, you can offer something as simple as a discount on their next service.
By utilizing the connections you’ve already made, you will be able to gather a larger set of relationships. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals from your existing client base. One good experience can turn into many more.
Show an interest in the accounting needs of the people around you. It is likely that you interact with more potential clients going about your day to day than you realize. By providing a service that most people need, you are in a prime position to find clients in everyone you meet!
Does your hairdresser have a bookkeeper? Are the local bar and grill happy with the services they are being provided? Ask questions when you are talking with these people, you may find your services are exactly what they are looking for.
Looking for new clients can be difficult in a market of big and bigger fish. Starting with smaller books of business, companies who are just starting out or just growing into the need of an accountant, will allow you to build up your name. These clients will be great resources as referral points in the future as well.
Another method for gaining business, especially of larger companies, is to take a partial book of business. Frequently, businesses have need of short term accounting aid in such fields as forecasting and analysis or in niche areas like payroll or payables. By working on one portion of the client’s books, you are able to prove your abilities and gain larger sections of work from them as time goes on.
Utilize Online Networks
Getting your name in front of potential clients is also your business. Proving your prowess in the field will not only help you spread the word but will also give an example of your quality work. By utilizing online networks, you can draw in more attention.
Be active in professional communities. This can be in forums, blogs, or even on niche subjects such as specific accounting software. Providing this type of free-to-use assistance on the internet will allow you to show your worth upfront.
Find Your Niche
Many accountants are overwhelmed by the variety of services they can offer, and in an effort to gain as many clients as possible, they overextend. It is important to find the area you are best suited to work in and target a specific subset of clientele. Dive deep into the niche you’ve chosen and become an expert in that field.
In professional circles, promote yourself as the go-to accountant for your sector. Take the opportunity to offer answers or have discussions in regards to this core topic whenever possible. As you are seen being the premier contact in a certain area of work, eventually your name will be the first one that people think of when they think of your area of expertise.
This is not to say that you should limit the type of work you do, clients are clients at the end of the day. However, if you become the local expert in a specific area, you will draw in more customers while consistently being able to provide outstanding service. Draw on your strengths to build yourself up as the go-to accountant on a given subject.
Invest in the Right Tech
Gone are the days of paper ledgers and adding machines, new technologies like MY CPA Dashboard are coming out every day to make the lives of accountants easier. There is an amount of investment that needs to happen to be able to serve the clients you are after, but not every system is needed for all accountants. Be sure to invest in the right technology for the services you wish to provide.
By having the appropriate systems in place, you will be able to save yourself time while providing praiseworthy service to your clients. Here are some of the most exciting technologies for accountants today.
Cloud computing is a technology that is utilized in many fields, but also has exciting implications for accounting. This offering doesn’t stop at data storage but offers accounting software options, like QuickBooks, wholly within the cloud. This digital software allows accountants to work for clients from afar while still sharing all relevant pieces of data.
Optical Character Recognition
Optical character recognition (OCR) is the ability to take a photo or scan an item and have that image translated into a full digital file. This is useful in cutting back on manual entry items, such as receipts for reimbursement or expense files. The utilization of this technology allows accountants to spend more time on the meaningful aspects of their work.
It has never been easier to share important financial data across a company. By using software integration tools, you will be able to provide information to your clients that they can easily translate to their various departments with no fear of error. The linking of these systems also allows users of financial data to access the information they need in real-time.
Blockchain technology is a system created to remove the need for redundancies in accounting. The need for both accountant and auditor to store individual data will no longer be necessary with the use of this automation. This will also allow for both sides of a ledger entry to be created at the same time.
Having the appropriate technology is vital to keeping your company in the game. Once you’ve found your niche, start with the technologies specific to that sector and invest in them. They will save you time and make your work more accurate.
Utilize Marketing Techniques
Marketing is a necessary piece of any client building endeavor. You do not need to spend a lot of money to market effectively, however. By making strategic marketing choices, you can reach your optimal client base and spend less in the process.
Focus your advertising on your locale. Advertise where your customers are, you don’t need all of the internet to know your name, so start small. Local publications, radio, and television are still good options to purchase advertising.
Creating a blog can spread your name and skills without the need for much funding. Providing this type of content, as mentioned above, also allows prospective clients to get to know your work, and existing clients to find information they might need. Producing content is a winning strategy.
Go the Extra Mile
Making sure your clients are happy is an obvious piece to gaining future customers, but more than doing a good job you need to provide support when possible. Answer questions and maintain contact with your clients outside of specified projects. Though you do not need to live and breathe your work, it is important to know that financials can cause a lot of worry for your customers, and making sure they are comfortable is essential.
Easy ways to provide extra service without extra work are to prepare frequently asked questions, blogs with descriptions of difficult concepts, and simply responding to emails and phone calls in a timely fashion. Do more than your clients expect and they will return for themselves and with others.
In order to gain accounting clients, it is important to leverage the tools you already have. Build off your existing connections and skills. By showing your ability to provide consistent quality work, you will be able to win new accounts. Begin with referrals and forming a niche for your business.
Any account win is worth the effort as small books of business build into great relationships and sometimes even into a bigger set of accounts. Take the time to ensure your clients are satisfied and they will put in the effort to bring their connections your way. The world needs good accountants, let them know you’re here!