The first year or so of running an accounting firm is the toughest, so first of all: congratulations! You’ve successfully met your milestones and created something you can call your own.
But what do you need to do next to turn your practice into a trailblazer? How do you get your firm to the next step?
Well, there are a few things you can start doing right away, so let’s jump right in.
Identifying your best clients
When starting out on their own, accountants tend to accept business from whoever they can get through their doors. That’s totally understandable, given the need to build a client base as quickly as possible.
But in the long run, serving as many people as possible may prove unsustainable for your firm, as certain clients might actually be costing your business more time and money than others.
Your first goal should therefore be to identify and attract customers who are similar to your best clients — the ones who are the most profitable, loyal and easiest to work with. That way, you’ll be able to charge your worth and put yourself on the path towards real growth.
Developing your brand
The accounting market is saturated. Consumers have endless options when it comes to who manages their books and accounts, so you need to give them a reason to pick you over everyone else. How do you do that? With a strong brand.
Branding is simply how you present yourself to the public, which means that even if you haven’t paid much attention to yours, you still have one. Think of it as the front cover of your business — while we all say we don’t judge a book by its cover, many of us actually do!
So, what message does your brand send to prospective clients at the moment? Does it help you stand out from the crowd? Or could it actually be harming your image?
To build a strong brand, here’s what you need to do:
- Develop a clear understanding of your target audience and their needs.
- Define your unique selling point that sets you apart from competitors.
- Create a strong visual identity that reflects your brand’s value and mission, and incorporate that into your logo, website and external messaging.
- Share client testimonials about your high-quality work on your online platforms.
Networking and marketing
Once you’ve developed and improved your brand, it’s time to share your hard work with the world and attract the attention of the clients you want through marketing and networking. Referrals can go a long way, but are they really enough?
Here are some steps you can take to effectively market your accounting firm:
- Content marketing. Write blogs, eBooks and other informational material that you can share on your website to demonstrate your expertise to your target audience. Well-written content will also grab the attention of people searching online for certain queries.
Social media marketing. With almost everyone on social media and it being completely free to set up an account, using platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook to find an audience is a no-brainer. Engage with your audience and share your content.
Paid advertising. You can pay search engines to promote your website for certain keywords that people search online.
Email marketing. If someone gave you their email address in your contact form or to access an eBook, why not send a follow-up email? You can talk about anything you want, from a blog you wrote to a new hire.
In a world where digital marketing is the craze, don’t forget to show your face in public — attending industry events to meet potential customers will put your face to your firm, making it far more memorable and trustworthy. Plus, you’ll be doing something not enough accountants do, marking you out from the crowd!
Leveraging technology to enhance your firm and customer experience
In the last year or so, you’ve probably built on and refined your working systems to work as efficiently as possible — but did you invest in technology to help you do that? If not, now’s the time to do so, or you risk only ever working to a fraction of your potential.
A digital transformation could benefit you in multiple ways. Below are just a few:
- Improved efficiency. Technology can automate many manual processes, enabling firms to do much more in a shorter time and with greater accuracy. Use that time to focus on strategic activities and a more personable service to clients.
Increased accuracy. Automated systems can catch and correct errors in real-time, reducing the need for manual review and corrections. We hardly need to explain the added benefit of accurate financial data.
Collaboration and teamwork. Technology allows you and your team to share data far more easily, resulting in better collaboration and communication between team members and faster and better decision-making.
Improved client service. By leveraging technology, accounting firms can provide better service to their clients. For example, you can provide real-time reporting and analysis, while online portals allow clients to access their financial information themselves.
Cost savings. By eliminating the need for manual labour, many firms have reduced their operating costs, which results in significant savings.
The best part of technology in the accounting industry is that almost anything that you think of — tax, accounts production, bookkeeping, payroll, company secretarial, and even getting paid — can be automated.
Want to learn more about how technology can help your accounting firm during the next stage of your journey? Get in touch with us today or book a free Capium trial.