It’s every CPA firm’s biggest challenge… growing your accounting business. How do you do it? There is certainly no shortage of “experts” with armfuls of shortsighted concepts or untested theories on how you do it. But when the dust clears, there are only two main areas you need to focus on for growth:
1. Increasing your lead sources
2. Running your office more efficiently.
But how exactly do you accomplish this? The following five simple steps will help you succeed in both of these critical areas so you can grow your accounting business. Read on to learn more.
Step 1 Slash and Burn
Analyze your expenses and ruthlessly start to slash. You have probably lost track of some of your expenses while growing to where you are now. Here are some quick ideas that you can start implementing today:
• When entertaining clients, choose less expensive venues or cater lunch in a nice office in your building.
• Move to shared office space, where the administration is a service provided purchasable in hourly increments.
• Put your consultants on salary, versus an hourly rate, which incurs cash-sucking overtime pay.
• Hire a marketing agency to handle your branding and copywriting versus an in-house full time marketing manager.
• Outsource some of your back office processing to an overseas office. This will speed up output, give you more options for presentation to the clients, and decrease overhead. Outsourcing of accounting it a common practice whether it’s bookkeeping or more major services such as client MIS reporting.
Step 2 Become a specialist.
A successful entrepreneur once said “When you try to be all things to all people, you end up being unimportant to everyone.” Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Instead be an expert in an area that is easiest for your staff to manage. Multiple areas require multiple skill sets and are harder and more costly to handle.
For example, if you specialize in one software format, advertise your details of this expertise. Market your specialty not your people; bring in the right people around your specialty. This sets your firm apart from the competitors.
Here’s a great example: “We process audits, bookkeeping and tax services for manufacturing companies.”
“When you try to be all things to all people, you end up being unimportant to everyone.”
Step 3 Get Out There
Increase you lead flow by networking at as many events as often as possible. Every day an owner needs to be selling their business. Selling is what keeps small businesses breathing. This step is crucial fro growing your accounting business at a local level. Here are some quick action steps to help you get started today:
• Attend the local Chamber of Commerce functions.
• Volunteer to speak at AICPA events, and trade shows. These speaking engagements of normally not paid. You have to remember that the exposure of your business is the payment.
• Build a referral system that encourages your clients to refer you to their business associates.
Step 4 Become a Storyteller
Share your story and your client’s success stories in your community. How did your company start? What are your company values? What is your company’s vision? How have you helped your clients?
Write helpful articles that help local businesses with their accounting and tax issues. Become a trusted resource. This will increase your exposure and build your authority with potential clients. Start an informative online blog. You can then repurpose this content by printing it up into a physical newsletter and give it out at your next Chamber of Commerce meeting. Offer these blog articles to the local newspapers. They are always looking for stories and interesting tips to help the public.
Step 5 Build an Army
Have alliances with other trusted accounting firms that handle different sectors of the industry. This way when a manufacturing piece of business comes in their door (if that is the area you specialize in) they will refer it to you. In return, you will refer them international trade clients, which they prefer. Again, avoid being the “jack of all trades.” Trying to do so stretches the abilities of your expertise too thin and you will eventually “slip up” and do something poorly. Poor performance may result in a bad review and we all know how hard it is to climb out of the deep hole that bad reviews create. So, do what you do best and find that partner who has a different expertise to do the rest. Just remember to do your due diligence, choose your partners wisely, and insist on growing your accounting businesses together.
Follow these 5 simple steps and you will be well on your way to growing your accounting business. If you have questions or want to delve more deeply, contact us here.