It was interesting reading the latest Accountant’s Report 2016 prepared by Bstar.
This report listed the four top business concerns facing accountants in 2016. These concerns are listed in order of priority as:-
- Attracting new high value business clients
- Transitioning from a compliance to an advice service business model
- Declining fee growth rates and profit margins
- Capacity and time constraints
In the coming weeks I will address each of these issues in order and will also offer solutions to overcome each challenge. So, here we go, week one will cover attracting new high value business clients.
Attracting New High Value Business Clients
- From the accountants surveyed for the Bstar report it was apparent that practices are now hungry for growth. All their practice principals are motivated and focussed on growth. The next step is taking action.
- The report also pointed out that accountants don’t believe they have the right relationship with their existing business clients. Only 64% believed that they had enough relationship and product trust with their business clients to grow their advice services. This underlines the highest business concern – as accountants don’t believe they can grow advice services with existing clients, they will clearly lack confidence in attracting new business clients.
- Accountants do not have a system for delivering business advisory services
- Accountants don’t know how to market these services
Small business owners are currently shopping around for fees. They look at compliance services to be a commodity, and as such, they don’t see why they should pay more for that commodity with their existing accountant. Unfortunately, accountants are dropping their fees in order to retain these clients. And competing on price is not how to grow an accounting practice. Competing on price is competing to get to the bottom first. The latest price competition has had a detrimental effect on accounting partner profits as profits have been declining over the past two years, according to the Good, The Bad and the Ugly Report from 2015.
Reducing price is not going to grow an accounting practice. The key to growing an accounting practice is differentiation. Do something and separate your accounting firms from all other firms by offering advisory services. And not just the stock standard advisory services such as profit forecasts, cash flow forecasts. Financial reporting analysis etc. When I say different… I mean different. Think about delivering marketing advisory services to help your small business owners grow their businesses, overcome cash flow problems, and take their business to the next level. Small business owner clients would never leave an accountant that helped them to grow their business. And these clients will refer other small business owners to the accountant as well. By offering advisory services that will help their clients grow their business the accountant will not only retain quality clients, they will also attract new quality clients.
This is just one of many strategies that accountants can implement in order to grow their practice with quality clients in 2016.
See you next week, where I will show you how to overcome concern No 2…Transitioning from a compliance to an advice service business model.
Go to www.bizconnectionsjointventures.com for more information on accountants offering Marketing Advisory Services to their clients.
Peter Lawson | BizConnections
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