One of the top mistakes accountants make is expecting business to come to them. The best practitioners know that this is not enough. They are constantly looking for opportunities to find new clients. In fact, growth is one of the top focuses of successful accountants. So how can you apply this to your firm? In this article, we identify 11 things you can start doing now to find more accounting clients.
11 best practices for how to find accounting clients
1. Determine your niche
Before you look to grow your clientele, clarify your value proposition. What do you have to offer, and what sets you apart? As you clarify your strengths, you will find a niche that plays to your expertise. Your niche can be based on your personal interests, location, work specializations, industry, or age group. In short, understanding your niche reveals the reasons why potential clients would choose you over your competition or DIY options.
2. Determine your client preferences
Be clear about who you want to attract as you find accounting clients for your firm. It doesn’t serve you to have a large number of low-quality clients. Use your experience with past clients to determine what attributes to look for in the future, as well as attributes to avoid. Find accounting clients who are pleasant to work with and who magnify your talents. As you create a clear vision of your ideal client, you won’t waste time chasing those who aren’t the right fit for your firm. Instead, you will spend your time attracting individuals who will help your business thrive.
3. Partner with other industry professionals
If a prospective client is seeking a service that you may not offer, don’t be afraid to refer them to a different professional in the industry that can help them. This may seem contradictory to the goal of finding accounting clients for your firm, it’s best to keep intentions genuine and aim to provide people with quality services. While the service may not necessarily be provided by your firm, this can open the door to professional partnerships where you can be rewarded for this helpful act by having referral traffic sent to you.
4. Implement a referral program
Referrals are on average more effective than traditional advertising methods. This is in large part because they come from trusted sources such as friends, family members, and mentors. Unfortunately, your clients will probably not think to refer anyone your way without first being prompted. The best thing you can do is ask for these referrals.
Make it clear how referrals will help your company grow. Go out of your way to show your top clients how much you appreciate their business before you ask for their recommendations. You could additionally reward successful referrals with a cash incentive (it doesn’t have to be a large amount). Regularly remind your clients of this incentive or any other referral program you implement in person, on your website, through emails, or on social media channels.
5. Join a co-working space
If you’re running a virtual accounting firm, there may be a time where you need to change up your scenery and a great spot to do this would be to work at a co-working space. You can still save money by reducing the overhead expenses that are common with managing a physical office space while simultaneously meeting new people that could potentially turn into future accounting clients for your firm.
Many people who work in a co-working space run their own small to mid-size businesses and can benefit from accounting services by a trusted professional. Co-working spaces are also a great way to network through the events that are often hosted there. If you don’t find accounting clients in the individuals that work at a co-working space, you may just be introduced to an ideal prospect.
6. Actively network
Building off of co-working spaces and the potential for networking they provide business owners, it’s important to stay active with networking in other ways as well! Are there speaking engagements you can apply for or attend in your area to find accounting clients? Are you actively networking with people and other professionals in the industry on platforms like LinkedIn? Get creative with networking opportunities and remember to be genuine!
7. Go where your clients are
Position yourself with clients in mind. Are they driving through the streets of your town? Are they online Googling “accountants near me”? Are they using snail mail? When you understand where potential clients are spending their time and energy, you increase your chance of being discovered. Whether it be a billboard, Google ad, or direct mail, invest in marketing methods that strategically position your firm in their path.
8. Have a quality website
Most people will not use your services without first doing their own research about your firm. Studies show that between 70-80% of individuals research a company online before they visit or make a purchase. Having a high-quality website that facilitates that research is crucial.
Your website is a great place to communicate who you are and the value you provide. Use it not only to detail the services you offer, but also to build your personal credibility. It’s one of the first impressions people will have of your business. It’s a representation of your entire firm to potential clients, making it worth investing time and money into.
If your web pages look outdated, consider updating them. Use photographs that show professionalism. Low-quality or unflattering pictures are distracting and could ultimately hurt your business. Additionally, make sure your contact information is clear, up-to-date, and easy to find. Let the quality of your website communicate the effort that you put into staying current, not just in the industry, but also in your business.
9. Have a clear CTA on the website
In addition to having a clean, user-friendly website, it’s important to be clear and concise about the action you want existing and prospective clients to take while visiting it. Your website should not only be used as a means for how to get clients as an accountant, it should also guide them to take the next step through calls-to-action (CTA).
If you offer a free initial consultation, make that visible on your website and explain how to schedule it. Do you prefer form submissions, phone calls, or email communication? Be clear with the messaging on your website and place buttons, text links, or other forms of CTAs on the site guiding them throughout the process.
10. Get social
If you aren't taking advantage of social media, you're missing out. As of 2019, 79% of U.S. citizens are on social media. The expansive reach of social media provides you with a powerful way to connect to a larger audience. On your social media channels, show who you are as a person and a professional. Provide people with the opportunity to know and trust you. Deliver useful and interesting content on your social channels. Content is a great way to share your expertise and make connections. You can also use your channels to advertise your services. As your social media presence grows, your influence and reach will do the same.
11. Share your expertise
It’s taken a lot of hard work to get to where you are today. Surely the last thing you want to do is give away your knowledge for free. Yet, this is one of the best things you can do for your business and how you can get clients as an accountant. As you share your knowledge, you will gain trust and expand your network. Simple ways to freely share your expertise are to speak at events, write articles on industry topics, create informative YouTube videos, etc. Your efforts will create a credible reputation that draws new clients to your firm.
Keep track of your existing and prospective clients
While the trusted sticky note was sufficient for recording client information and setting reminders as a small business, investing in accounting practice management software becomes necessary as your business grows. It’s important to keep up-to-date records and information for both existing and prospective clients so you don’t let crucial details or deadlines slip through the cracks.
As you find accounting clients for your firm, look for a flexible software that can be used for more than just a CRM. Learn more about what you can do with Canopy’s accounting practice management platform.
Apply these best practices for how to get clients as an accountant
While it’s easier said than done, the next thing you need to do is try out one (or all) of the best practices for how to get clients as an accountant. Start simple by tackling what’s low hanging fruit. This could be ramping up your social media presence or sharing your expertise, or you can take the leap and sign up for a local speaking engagement.
If you are interested in learning more about how to market your services and gain clients, download our free Marketing Essentials ebook.
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