How to grow an accounting practice
Exploring Growth Strategies for Your Accountancy Practice
You may be a brand new accountancy practice looking to attract new clients. You may be an established practice, but you’re struggling to increase your revenue.
Maybe you’re happy with your current business performance but know that you have the capacity to expand and take on more work.
If any of these apply, you’ll wonder how to grow an accounting practice correctly.
There are many ways to achieve your growth targets – some more obvious, some less so.
Our guide to growing your accountancy practice offers five key areas to focus on to help you get to where you want to be. The great news is that you don’t need to have an enormous marketing budget: you can do plenty to maximise your chance of success without spending a fortune.
First, you need to lay the groundwork to establish where you currently are, where you want to be, and how you’ll get there.
Current State Evaluation: Laying the groundwork
Before you can put plans in place for how to grow an accounting practice, you first need a solid understanding of where your business is right now.
What does your client base look like: who are your main client types, what are they buying from you, and how does that compare with where you want to be? Which services do you currently offer, how are they priced, how popular are they, and how much of your time does each take up?
An audit of where you currently are will allow you to identify your strengths and areas that need improvement, laying the groundwork for future growth.
The Digital Imperative: Building an online presence
If you’re considering spending money on a new product or service, how do you research the available options?
We’re willing to bet that you do at least part of your research online – and your potential clients are no different.
Today’s customers like to glean as much information as they can for themselves before they need to talk to a real person. People prefer to feel like they are making their own decisions rather than being sold to. That’s why your online presence needs to do the selling for you.
Your website should be professional and user-friendly, making it easy for potential clients to find what they want. Your social media presence is also important: it allows you to demonstrate what you can do, reveals your personality, and enables you to connect with potential clients.
Finally, good SEO is vital to improve your website’s visibility in what can often be a hugely competitive sector. Keyword research can help you optimise your site for your target audience while creating topical, relevant content – like blog posts and white papers – which can improve your Google rankings and give potential clients something that they will find useful. Build up quality backlinks, get your accounting practice listed in online directories and ensure that your website is user-friendly, and you’ll improve your chances of success.
Networking for Accountants: Beyond the Numbers
For service-based businesses like accountancy practices, networking is vital. Not only will you connect with more potential clients, but networking also allows you to connect with others who can introduce you to people who may need your services. It’s also a great way to stay up-to-date with what’s going on in the accounting sector.
How you network will depend on your location, specialism and the types of clients you want to attract. If you’re looking to attract clients in your local area, consider joining local business communities and engaging with locals (in an authentic way) via dedicated groups on social media or through sponsoring or joining in with community initiatives.
This could include partnering with local professionals – such as legal firms – who can refer business to you and vice versa.
Attending relevant conferences and workshops – as a guest, speaker or exhibitor – can help raise awareness of your accounting practice and what you do, and don’t forget the importance of building relationships within the industry. Building relationships with non-competing accountancy practices can enable you to create a strong referral network – and joining a dedicated membership organisation can help.
The Art of Client Retention: Keeping clients loyal
As tempting as it can be to focus purely on new business, it’s also vital that you keep your existing clients happy. After all, these are the clients who are currently keeping your business going: ensuring that they’re satisfied and continue to use your accounting practice going forward is easier than winning new customers.
The key to keeping clients happy is understanding them fully: having a solid awareness of their needs and expectations so that you can provide them with the best possible service, tailored to their exact requirements. Regular communication and transparency from your end will show them how much you value them as a client – and offering value-added services and insights will help you stand out from the competition and demonstrate that you understand what they need.
Keep existing clients happy and they’re more likely to reward you with additional revenue when their accountancy needs grow – and they’re also more likely to recommend you to others.
Diversifying Your Service Offerings: Catering to a broader audience
If you’re finding business growth a challenge with your existing offering, why not consider broadening your audience?
It may be that a member of your team has a background in a particular niche that you don’t currently serve and that you could use their knowledge and experience to expand into this sector. It may be that a particular niche in your local area is underserved, giving you a large potential audience to tap into.
Don’t just consider new niches, either; consider new services too. While additional training for your team will undoubtedly take time, upskilling in order to offer new services may increase existing customer spending or attract an entirely new clientele to your accountancy practice.
Finally, consider collaborating with complementary service providers. Solicitors and other legal firms may have clients they could refer to you – and vice versa. The same goes for a number of other service providers, whether your client base is predominantly business or personal – or a combination of the two.
When considering how to grow an accounting practice, there are a number of ways in which you can achieve your goals. Joining a dedicated membership organisation for accountancy practices can give you the help you need to flourish.
While there are various strategies to grow and enhance your accountancy practice, an invaluable resource often overlooked is the power of a supportive community. Joining the Institute of Certified Practising Accountants (ICPA) offers you a gateway to a network of like-minded professionals and a treasure trove of resources tailored to the unique needs of accountants. From exclusive discounts on leading accounting software to insightful workshops and seminars, ICPA membership is designed to bolster your practice’s growth and efficiency.
Embrace the opportunity to be part of a community that’s as invested in your success as you are. Discover the myriad benefits of ICPA membership today, and take your accountancy practice to new heights!
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