How to Grow Your Accounting Firm: 5 Smart Strategies
So, it's time to think about growing your business. But where to start? From self-help books to friends and family, it can be tough to wade through the seemingly never-ending sea of good-intentioned advice. Whether you're looking to bring in new clients, elevate your firm's reputation, enhance your current clients' experience, or increase your revenue, we have five strategies to help you achieve your business's growth goals.
1. Set goals and build your plan
Building a successful business happens one step at a time, but don't make the mistake of failing to think about the bigger picture. Having a clear but flexible plan will keep you on track.
Define the ultimate destination: Consider your long-term goals for your practice. What does success look like on a timeline of several years? Once you've determined your ultimate destination, you can begin building your strategy for growth.
Break into regular checkpoints: Establishing a roadmap that includes incremental steps will help you achieve your vision for your practice. Use SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) goals to develop actionable steps you can take as you work towards growing your CPA firm.
Review, reevaluate, and refine: If at first you don't succeed, or even if you do, try, try again. Continuously monitor your firm's performance and focus on developing and adjusting strategies toward your ultimate destination.
2. Pull in the right people
From your staff to your clients, strong businesses are built on having the right people in the correct seats. Trying to do everything yourself and aiming to bring in the most clients might save you money and increase profits, but it can also be counterintuitive to growth.
Find the right staff: Growing your accounting firm will likely increase your scope of work. You may feel like you must do it yourself, but a good leader is honest about their shortcomings and builds a team to complement them.
Find the right clients: Narrowing your target market might seem counterintuitive when trying to expand, but it may translate into more clients. Think of what sets your accounting firm apart from competitors and focus on how you can be the accounting firm that fits the needs of a specific subgroup.
Find the right partners: Networking is one of the ways you can quickly grow your firm's reach—partner with other companies to provide a holistic solution for potential clients and create a cross-promotion network. Your LinkedIn or Facebook contacts are a great place to start researching who you know and how you can be mutually beneficial for each other.
3. Gain (and Keep) Client Trust
Developing strong customer relationships is essential to a company's long-term success. In order to increase client retention and attract new customers, your company should develop processes to build customer trust.
User Experience: A good first impression goes a long way. Consider how website readability, a smooth onboarding process, and consistent communication can enhance the client experience. If clients have had a positive experience working with you, there's a good chance it can lead to references and referrals.
Payments: Today's consumers demand efficient and flexible payment options, like those offered by CPACharge. These solutions let your clients pay invoices using a debit card, credit card, an eCheck, or through an accounting fee lending solution.
Protecting your client's information security: As a CPA, you have your clients' most sensitive personal and financial details, so it should be no surprise that firms like yours have become prime hacking targets. To adequately protect your clients, you'll need to consider password management, PCI compliance, network configuration, safeguarding different types of data, and much more. Don't wait until a breach occurs to examine your firm's processes, systems, and cyber-assets.
If you'd like to dive deeper into maintaining information security as you grow your business, download our free e-book, Cybersecurity: Best Practices for Accounting Firms.
4. Position yourself as an expert in your field
You can increase your credibility with current and prospective clients if you focus on sharing your unique perspective about accounting trends and services. Understanding the accounting needs of your area and enhancing your knowledge and services to meet the needs of these demographics will allow you to better cater to your current clients and grow your business by bringing in new clients.
Research demographics in your area and tailor your offering to fit that: The key to getting more clients for your firm is understanding the accounting needs in your region. To understand the wants and needs of potential clients in your area, you may want to invest in market research.
Speak directly to your clients: Online platforms, like your website, blogs, and social media, have exponentially expanded opportunities for you to communicate to current and potential clients directly. Utilizing these platforms can allow you to make a case for using your business and share niche knowledge and trends to set you apart from your competitors and bring more clients into your practice.
Become a thought leader: While it's become a buzzword over the last decade, in its simplest form, thought leadership is original ideas or takes on a specific topic or industry. Consumers want to know that the companies providing them with solutions have the latest and most effective products, services, and education.
5. Take advantage of technology
Small business owners often struggle to determine the right time to adopt new tools, believing they don't need the help or don't have time to learn a new system. However, when a business waits too long to adopt current technologies, it may actually stunt growth in the long run.
Build a Solid Project Management Foundation: Whether you're a firm of one or have a team of accounting professionals working at your firm, delivering client work on time is critical to scaling. Utilizing accounting practice management software will help you keep both yourself and your team organized and lead to an overall boost in productivity, which can lead to more time in the day for new clients.
Productize Your Services: Investigating how your current accounting services can be packaged and sold as recurring subscriptions is a crucial step to growing your business and increasing profits.
Use Automation to Your Advantage: Minimizing effort spent on essential but time-consuming tasks can add significant hours to your day. Consider utilizing practice management and automated billing software and creating a new-client onboarding checklist. Invest your time in tasks only a person with high levels of expertise is capable of completing; the rest can be automated.
There are many steps you can take to grow your CPA firm, but starting with a foundation that cultivates client trust is a foolproof way to build a business that will continue to be in a solid place for growth whenever you decide it's time.