There are more than forty thousand accountancy firms in the US alone. However, with so many people vying for new business, the competition is also fierce. Most accountants have to work tirelessly to develop their companies. Furthermore, the explosion of cloud-based accounting software has also made things difficult for small accounting firms.
Then, COVID-19 entered center stage. The world of accounting and the global economy screeched to a halt as several commercial businesses shut down their operations. Even worse, experts believe the situation will be slow for a while.
So, how can these firms sustain customers and grow their business? Some firms are offering simple point services. Others have a more personalized approach to customer care. There are several other ways a business owner can grow and diversify their firm during a down economy. Following are eight tactics to follow for a growing business.
1. Hire someone with the right degree: You might think we are crazy to recommend hiring new people in the middle of a pandemic, but hear us out. We are not asking you to go on a hiring spree. Just try to diversify your workforce by adding someone with a background in business. Not only can they help you innovate things, but they can also help you market your firm. And hiring someone with a specialized degree, such as an MBA with accounting concentration, will kill two birds with one stone. You will get an accountant who can handle the business side of things.
2. Become a trusted consultant: Small businesses do not have the funds to hire expensive accountancy firms with several employees. Most of them do their finances themselves before taking the big step towards choosing an accountant. Therefore, once a business owner chooses you, it is a sign that they want a strategic partner. Not only will they need help with finances, but they will also expect you to help them overcome challenges. You will have to take advantage of any opportunities and avoid threats. Therefore, keep a close eye on all changes within the sector to inform your client about potential issues.
3. Focus on existing relationships: Do not ignore old customers while attracting new ones. While new ones can help your company grow and diversify, remember that old customers are your priority. You can also generate new business by cross-selling to old clients. So, you have to go deeper to understand your client’s business. Some tools, such as relationship intelligence automation, can help you with this. This tool automatically discovers all news related to your client by crawling through millions of news articles.
4. Invest in soft skills: 21st-century businesses are not just looking for expert accountants. They also need someone who can understand their issues and communicate with them. Therefore, invest in skill-building and training. You and your employees should have excellent communication skills to talk to your clients. Focus on leadership skills since you will have to work with several people to help your client.
5. Address client issues instead of selling points: Accountancy firms focus too much on selling their services and often forget to promote benefits. Therefore, you must address all issues that are troubling your client. Remember to ask yourself what you are adding to the business. Clients hire firms to resolve unique problems. So, put yourself in the place of your customer. Doing so will help you identify issues so you can do your best to help them.
6. Show your references: Clients don’t only want people who can talk the talk; they also want people who can walk the walk. So, always bring proof when you want to sign new clients. Keep all customer quotes, success stories, and references in hand. These documents show prospective customers how you can solve issues for your clients. Write down a cheat sheet of your services with testimonials. Customers can use the sheet to identify how you can help them.
7. Online is the place to be: You must have an online reputation to sell your services. Therefore, create rich content and maintain a blog to attract new customers. Add bios and create visual content to attract more traffic. You must create excellent content to improve your ranking. Therefore, interview satisfied customers and ask for one-liners from local experts to feature on your page.
8. Have flexible payment terms: Sometimes, businesses struggle with cash flow issues. You can help by offering flexible payment plans. Not only can this help you attract new clients during a down economy, but it can also make customers more loyal. So, extend payment terms to show that you care about your customers. This strategy will also help you develop your practice.
Passion separates an excellent accountant from an average one. Therefore, you must always try to do your best to help your clients resolve their issues. The past year has been very challenging for businesses. You will have to innovate and work hard to overcome disruptions and beat the competition. Use the latest technology to grow your accounting firm and build strategic relationships.