In today’s accounting firms, achieving high growth targets will require new and better ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Improving operations can help you grow your firm profits and add value to client relationships, both of which will help shore up your firm’s well-being. Here are five ways to make that happen.
1. Grow your referrals
Referrals remain one of the strongest ways accounting firms attract new clients, according to polls. Sure, social media and other online marketing can help attract new business and grow your firm, but your existing clients are probably your best source of referrals. However, you might need to think beyond word of mouth. Some evidence suggests that younger generations are skeptical of the historical best way to get accounting work done or of the historical best firm. Successful firms will need to embrace and wield new and emerging business development tools to be worthy of referral.
2. Build strategic partnerships
One idea for generating leads comes from Moore Stephens Tiller: “We entered into a strategic partnership with a local wealth advisory firm. One thing we have them ask is, ‘Are you happy with your current CPA?’ That gets us in the door to get the compliance services, and then to grow the account from there,” says Lee Hudson, CPA, associate partner.
3. Incentivize your staff
Want your staff to think about long-term growth? Make it worth their while. Give them a percentage of the first year’s billing, let staff members go to meetings to help close the business, and involve and trust your young staff members. Letting your younger staff be involved in lead prospecting is a key part of a successful business development strategy, especially going forward.
4. Focus on recruitment
You want the best and brightest accountants working for you. That means constantly looking at the up and comers and helping them get to know you. Firms need to get in front of students early. Moore Stephens Tiller does this by inviting college students for a roundtable with the audit and tax staff, team-building exercises, and a baseball game. “We’re bringing in 10 to 12 freshmen and sophomores to show them a good time with our teams. We want to bring in enough students to meet future staffing needs, but not so many that they feel like a number,” Hudson says.
5. Dive into data analytics
If you’re still manually looking at client files to figure out who might be impacted by regulatory change, you’re ignoring one of the most useful tools out there. Predictive Intelligence technologies, like CCH Axcess™ iQ, help position you as a strategic partner by querying your client data to identify those clients and alert you. That way you’re proactively communicating any changes to clients so they can make decisions earlier.
Build a business development roadmap
Ready to grow your firm? Learn how you can position your firm for success by downloading the new ebook, Embracing Business Development in Accounting Firms. Download Now.