Accounting professionals shouldn’t feel confined to tax season and tax compliance — you have the option to do a whole lot more than just accounting. You can offer your clients the support they want and need all year round, your business will benefit from growing your practice, and your clients will thank you for expanding your services.
Here are five tips to grow your accounting practice, and make sure your clients have access to all the services they expect from you:
1. Create relationships with professionals in other fields
Take the time to network to build strong and lasting relationships with professionals across various specialties. We encourage you to identify a go-to lawyer, financial planner, insurance agent, Social Security advisor, Medicare expert, and more. This will provide you and your clients with the extra support they want and need while allowing you to focus on the core services that you provide.
Additionally, as you refer more and more clients to these partners, it’s more likely that they will do the same for you.
2. Expand your advisory services with continuing education or by earning a trusted credential
As an expert, you’re probably relied on by your clients for more than just their tax returns. It is essential that you can provide trustworthy and genuine information and advice that’s current on key updates. Show your expertise by getting the appropriate continuing education and designations.
There are many paths you can take. If you haven’t already, you could earn your CPA designation. You could take courses in financial planning and eventually become a Certified Financial Planner. Or choose to earn a more specialized designation such as the Registered Social Security Analyst credential to help your clients approaching retirement with their Social Security claiming decisions.
Whatever you choose, do your homework and decide what courses or credentials would best benefit you and your clients. Our site, CPAdirectory.com has courses, books, webinars, and more for accountants and tax professionals on a variety of topics. As you educate yourself or earn more credentials, you are also earning more trust from your clients. As you support clients in other areas, you’re making your services more indispensable and giving yourself the flexibility of having more than one stream of income.
4. Modify and add services based on your clients wants and needs
Have you asked your clients recently about what services they want from you? It doesn’t have to be a formal email or survey, just ask the next time you talk. Take a few moments to ask about not only their current needs but also what their future plans are. Are they planning on opening a business next year? If so, will they need help with things like payroll, or retirement savings planning down the line? Do they want to beef up their college savings for their kids — or do they plan to go back to school themselves?
Talking to clients more often will reveal what they want and need from you so you can grow your practice and evolve. In fact, it can help in many ways. OnPay found in their small business research that most small business owners who consider their accountant to be a trusted advisor say that they communicate with them more often. 47% of small business owners working with an accountant who they see as a “trusted advisor” said they have contact with their accountant once a month or more. On average, only 39% of all small business owners talk to their accountant that often.
5. Go virtual and expand your client reach
We live in a tech-savvy, connected world where it’s commonplace to work with service providers and partners online. Like them, your business can benefit from going virtual — and you can still have in-person services too.
By providing services over the phone or by video, you can reach a much wider potential client base across the country — or even around the world — since your clients no longer need to be within driving distance from you. The COVID-19 pandemic has also meant that many companies need to find ways to serve their clients virtually even if they’re local. There are several services and software options to explore when looking for the best way to connect with your clients. Video calls can be an amazing tool, and you both get the added benefit of seeing each other’s body language and faces. It may also make it easier to have more frequent check-ins.
Going virtual can even save you time and money on office overhead, as you and your employees can go remote and work from home.
6. Use the internet to market your services
Do you want to add more clients? Do you want to make those professional connections? The internet has everything you need to do that, and you can get started without paying a penny. Post your tax practice listing for free on CPAdirectory.com, for example — or check out other ways to market your practice online.
Make sure your website is up to date and includes all the services you provide as well as your current credentials. Social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter are great outlets for you to share your business news, updates on services, and build relationships. Sites like Yelp and Clutch can help your potential clients find reviews about your business.
Putting all of these tools to work can help you build a thriving practice in no time.
This article was written by CPAdirectory.com, where accountants can list their tax practice and check out thoughtful resources from around the accounting community.