For many accounting firms, competition for clients can be intense. Since finding new clients is more costly than keeping existing clients, successful firms always have an eye on client retention. However, increased client expectations and the commoditization of tax compliance work can get in the way of client service. To truly impress your clients while maintaining peak profitability, follow these three steps.
Find out who your clients are.
Your client data is probably spread out between many different sources. If you want to truly understand your client, you’ll need to make an effort to clean up your data and keep it up to date. You can designate one of your systems to be the “central” source of data. It may not flow back into all of your solutions, but at least you’ll know which system to look at for the most up to date information. Ideally, though, you’ll consolidate your client information into a single client database that connects to the other systems you work in.
Identify the type of work you’re doing for each client.
Once you’re confident your client data is clean and up-to-date, take a look at the type of work you’re doing. Identify your most profitable clients and start looking for more clients like them. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals or develop a marketing plan to reach the potential clients you serve best. When you know how much money you stand to make from certain types of clients, you can more easily plan for staffing changes or even M&A activity to fill any gaps. If you identify unprofitable clients, look for ways to make these relationships more profitable.
Add value, and communicate it.
Consider how you create value for your clients. A once a year engagement can usually be turned into a more profitable opportunity for your firm. On the other hand, if your clients don’t recognize the value you provide, they are likely to leave. Find ways to demonstrate your value to your clients throughout the year so you can become a trusted adviser.
To find out more about how the technology you use can improve your firm’s operations and profitability, download the “Managing Partner’s Guide to Building a Future-Ready Firm” whitepaper.