accounting firm

Start With the Basics to Fuel Growth at Your Accounting Firm

With the wealth of automation solutions available, it’s becoming easier for accounting and bookkeeping practices to offer new services while maintaining an incredible client experience. Expanding your service offerings can lead to fast-paced growth at your firm; however, it’s essential to have a few foundational elements in place to ensure you’re set up for success while you scale.

Firms such as RBK Advisory have become a model for scalable growth in the accounting space. In the three years since its inception, RBK has expanded to seven locations around Australia and has grown its client base from 300 to over 3,000. Although RBK experienced significant expansion from the get-go, focusing on the basics and solid planning allowed the firm to manage its growth successfully.

1. Know what you’d like to achieve

Building an accounting practice from the ground up is a daunting prospect, and it becomes even more challenging when you don’t have a well-constructed vision of what you’re working toward. It was essential for Jason, Greg Bramich, Jonathan Kane, and Anthony Turner (the RBK co-founders) to sit down and plan the big picture from the start.

As Jason explained:

“A vision was essential from day one. We knew what we wanted to achieve and what software we wanted to use, and we discussed our plan for success. I’ve always felt the burning desire to achieve success starts with a great vision.”

Whether you’re in the first stages of founding your practice or are looking to take your firm to the next level with cloud technology, sitting down to sketch out a company vision will provide something to look back on and measure against.

Without clear business goals and timelines, it can be challenging to keep yourself accountable and assess if your firm is on track. While other metrics may quantify your firm’s key performance indicators, a company vision is a qualitative yardstick against which to measure success.

2. Be agile in the market

It can be tempting to accept all types of clients and stretch your service offerings for the sake of attracting or retaining clients (especially when you’re first starting). While it’s a great idea to explore ways to expand your services, it’s also essential to select a niche and recognise when services are potentially out of your scope.

For RBK, being agile in the market meant building a quality team to deliver their core services but knowing that their internal team did not have everything done. The firm saw the opportunity to help its clients by providing SEO (search engine optimisation) services. 

Now, they outsource these services to a team of dedicated SEO professionals. The job should be done by talented people with whom you can collaborate and deliver the best results to make your clients happy (and you’re firm successful).

According to Jason, this was an essential element to RBK’s success:

“Like anything, stick to what you are good at. If you’re not the best at it, don’t try to do it yourself. Keep key people in key positions. For anything you are not good at, find a team that can do it and make you look good.”

3. Embrace referrals

Referrals are warm connections that translate into happy clients. Still, businesses often shy away from asking clients for them, worrying that requesting a referral will make them think that their advisor’s business is not doing well. In reality, clients often appreciate the consideration.

As Jason noted during the webinar:

“Some people think about asking for referrals as a negative, but for us, it’s a communications tool. We’re saying to new clients: ‘We love you, and we’d love to help more people like you, can you please refer us?’ – and the results are almost always positive!”

If you’re providing excellent service and an outstanding experience, your clients want to pass along your name anyway!

As one of Australia’s fastest-growing firms, RBK Advisory has been able to make waves in the accounting space. Strategically planning scalable growth has given Jason and every RBK employee the tools required to deliver the best experience for the customer.

Starting with the basics can help you and your partners create a strong and growing business in the ever-changing accounting industry. Even if your firm is well-established, it’s never too late to get back to the basics to plan future growth. 

Word-of-mouth marketing for accountants

How can new clients discover your accounting services when the world has become so cluttered with marketing messages?  As an accountant, you are working in a very competitive field, so you might think it’s too difficult to be noticed amongst all the noise. Or you might have been spending thousands of dollars on Yellow Pages advertising that has provided a poor return on investment.

One of the most powerful tools you can use to promote your services is word-of-mouth marketing. Here’s why word-of-mouth works and how it can give you a competitive edge.

What the research tells you

According to Australian-first research commissioned by Australia’s leading word-of-mouth marketing company ‘Soup’, on average, each person in Australia has 67.8 branded conversations each week.

This research demonstrates just how influential people can be to raise your profile and promote your services when they have conversations with their friends and colleagues about the products they love. It’s these conversations that spread the word about what you do well and generate new leads for your business.

Thanks to social networking tools, you now have an enhanced ability to generate word-of-mouth marketing about your products and services – a form of marketing that can give you a good return on your investment.

Identify what makes you unique.

For your word-of-mouth marketing to be successful, you must offer a product or service that captures a person’s imagination and excites them so they will want to talk about it.  Take the time to define what makes you stand out from your competitors, or create a special offer that will cause a ‘buzz’ and get people talking. 

And don’t just talk about how good your products or services are; ensure you can back up your claims with evidence that quantifies your competitive edge.

Raise your profile

You want your company to be ‘top of mind’ so people will talk about you and refer you to potential new clients.  Through a range of online and print channels, you aim to be in as many places as possible. Ensure you take advantage of the many social networking opportunities that exist to raise your profile. For example, you could set up a Facebook page and encourage your customers to click the “Like” button on it. Then post specials and discounts for your existing customers and extend that offer to their contacts.

You could also join a Facebook group for small business or a business network in your area that meets regularly.  Many business networks only allow one provider from each business category, which means that you can be the only accountant in the group. That means you lock your competition out and become the “go-to” person for members in the group with accounting tax-related issues.

Partner up

Consider partnering up with non-competing businesses to work together and promote each others’ services.  As an accountant, you could partner with an insurance broker and a legal firm and hold an information session for loyal customers of each of these businesses to update them on changes to tax laws while also promoting insurance and legal services they may also value. This kind of cross-promotion can benefit all three firms involved.

Reward customer loyalty

Use cross-promotion to reward your customers’ loyalty by providing a voucher or special offer from another company.  This creates goodwill with your client by offering them something they may value and offers new leads for those businesses you choose to partner with.

Introduce refer-a-friend incentives

Offer your loyal customers incentives to refer their friends to your business. For example, your accounting business could provide a free consultation for existing customers who refer new business to you or even give them a gift to say ‘thank you.

How to use your website to gain new clients for your accounting business

Your website is potentially one of your most powerful marketing tools. Investing in your website is an investment in building and retaining your client base. Here’s how you can do more to get more from your website.

Attract new visitors to your site

If you want to attract new visitors to your website via Google and the other major search engines, your site must be optimised to rate as high as possible in search engine results. Keyword research and analysis and targeting of selected keywords in your site content can help your site appear higher in search rankings and make it easier for your prospective clients to access your products and services.

charetered-accounting

Invest some time in analysing how people are searching for accountants in your area and the performance of your website, as well as your competitors.  Or pay an expert to do this for you – the insights you gather will ensure a return on your investment as you learn how to optimise your website’s performance.

Share valuable information for free on your site.

Share valuable information for free with visitors to your website.  By giving something of value, you reinforce your credibility and expertise, and you are showing people that you are responsive to their needs.  All they need to do is enter their email address. You can either manually email them their gift, or if you get a lot of traffic, then have your web builder set up an auto-responder for you so that the information is sent to them automatically. The aim is to give your visitors the tools and opportunities they need in exchange for the information you want.

As an accountant, you have a lot of knowledge that can help visitors to your website.  You can package that information as a tips sheet, a quick guide, or even a small e-book that you give away via your website.

Offer incentives to your website visitors

Run a competition on your website that invites readers to tick a box to receive future offers.  This is one way you can gain more information about your reader while offering them something of value that builds trust and enhances your credibility.

Consider publishing a lead capture page that promotes something you can do for readers, such as a ‘how-to guide, the answer to a problem they might face, or ways to avoid certain pitfalls.  Entice them with a compelling headline that explains what’s in it for them, and issue a call to action inviting them to leave their email address or other critical information you need.

Introduce a web blog to spread the word

Start a blog on your website and email your database of contacts with regular updates. If you make the content valuable and compelling, they are more likely to forward the updates to their contacts. Just make sure you have a “subscribe” link to increase your chances of picking up new subscribers.

And if you include a blog page on your website that you update regularly, make sure you use popular keywords strategically in your posts, and the search engines will rate your site more favourably.

Word-of-mouth marketing for accountants

How can new clients discover your accounting services when the world has become so cluttered with marketing messages?  As an accountant, you are working in a very competitive field, so you might think it’s too difficult to be noticed amongst all the noise. Or you might have been spending thousands of dollars on Yellow Pages advertising that has provided a poor return on investment.

One of the most powerful tools you can use to promote your services is word-of-mouth marketing. Here’s why word-of-mouth works and how it can give you a competitive edge.

What the research tells you

According to Australian-first research commissioned by Australia’s leading word-of-mouth marketing company ‘Soup’, on average, each person in Australia has 67.8 branded conversations each week.

This research demonstrates just how influential people can be to raise your profile and promote your services when they have conversations with their friends and colleagues about the products they love. It’s these conversations that spread the word about what you do well and generate new leads for your business.

Thanks to social networking tools, you now have an enhanced ability to generate word-of-mouth marketing about your products and services – a form of marketing that can give you a good return on your investment.

Identify what makes you unique.

For your word-of-mouth marketing to be successful, you must offer a product or service that captures a person’s imagination and excites them so they will want to talk about it.  Take the time to define what makes you stand out from your competitors, or create a special offer that will cause a ‘buzz’ and get people talking.  And don’t just talk about how good your products or services are; ensure you can back up your claims with evidence that quantifies your competitive edge.

Raise your profile

You want your company to be ‘top of mind’ so people will talk about you and refer you to potential new clients.  Through a range of online and print channels, you aim to be in as many places as possible. Ensure you take advantage of the many social networking opportunities that exist to raise your profile. For example, you could set up a Facebook page and encourage your customers to click the “Like” button on it. Then post specials and discounts for your existing customers and extend that offer to their contacts.

You could also join a Facebook group for small business or a business network in your area that meets regularly.  Many business networks only allow one provider from each business category, which means that you can be the only accountant in the group. That means you lock your competition out and become the “go-to” person for members in the group with accounting tax-related issues.

Partner up

Consider partnering up with non-competing businesses to work together and promote each others’ services.  As an accountant, you could partner with an insurance broker and a legal firm and hold an information session for loyal customers of each of these businesses to update them on changes to tax laws while also promoting insurance and legal services they may also value. This kind of cross-promotion can benefit all three firms involved.

Reward customer loyalty

Use cross-promotion to reward your customers’ loyalty by providing a voucher or special offer from another company.  This creates goodwill with your client by offering them something they may value and offers new leads for those businesses you choose to partner with.

Introduce refer-a-friend incentives

Offer your loyal customers incentives to refer their friends to your business. For example, your accounting business could provide a free consultation for existing customers who refer new business to you or even give them a gift to say ‘thank you.

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