The internet can be a great boon to your firm. An outsourced accountant can increase their profit over 40% in the short-term and set themselves up for expansion.
On the flip-side though the internet means there’s more competition from other firms that are extending their reach. What can you do to counter the encroaching hordes of rival firms?
Get your clients involved in your firm’s evolution.
Have a regular meeting set up with your A-list clients and ask them what they love about your firm and what you could be doing better. The more they contribute, the more your clients are going to feel like they’re feeding their own financial success via your firm.
The outsourced accountant should become an expert in their competition’s advertising.
Track down the competition’s marketing whether it is on the internet or in physical form like brochures. Take note of their selling points – these will be what they feel are their strongest features.
This knowledge will help you shape your own firm. You’ll be able to measure yourself against the competitions’ greatest assets and figure out how you can do the same thing (or better yet, trump them at their own game).
You’ll also learn a lot about what they’re not saying. What are they consistently leaving out of their marketing? Do they never mention awards for customer satisfaction? Are they notorious for annoying their clients? The outsourced accountant can spring on these weak points and make them selling points of his or her own.
Put your niche front and centre.
Your marketing shouldn’t simply be something along the lines of, “I’m a really good accountant.” Everyone says that in their marketing. If everyone says it, then it will never stand out.
Instead, the outsourced accountant should tailor his or her marketing to make it about the niche they serve. So instead of, “I’m a good accountant,” try something along the lines of, “We’ve helped hundreds of local restaurants survive their first year,” or, “We crunch the numbers of General Practitioners so they can keep their focus on their patients.” Make your marketing about them, not you.
Make your website a selling tool.
Your website shouldn’t simply be an indication that your firm exists. Instead, make sure it’s clear how you trump your competition, what service packages you offer, what kind of niche you service, and include testimonials. Potential clients shouldn’t just be using your website to check your hours; they should be wowed by and sold your services even while taking a casual look.
Don’t compete on price.
It’s true that an outsourced accountant is cutting their operating costs by a significant amount. However that’s not necessarily your cue to drop your prices to beat the competition.
When you compete via price there’s only one way you can keep competing – by continuously dropping your prices. That means you’re going to have to pump up your volume and increase your workload to bring in the same amount of money that your competition is making in less time.
Also, dropped prices can make your clientele think that there’s something wrong with your firm so you have to become cheaper to compete.
The outsourced accountant should instead use the savings in time and money gained from outsourcing to boost their value. Add on new services. Create more attractive service packages. Even sprucing up the office can have a positive impact in bringing in new and better clientele.
Branch out from your niche.
We think it’s a good idea for small and medium-sized accounting firm owners to focus on niches. However a niche by its very nature only has so much room. Eventually you’re going to have to branch out if you want to continue your growth.
But you don’t necessarily have to stray too far afield. Take some of that time you’ve gained back by becoming an outsourced accountant to investigate fields related to the one you’ve already maxed out.
Let’s use our restaurant example from above. There are only going to be so many restaurants in any given city. But by working with them you’ve become familiar with the food and service industries – can you tap another niche in this field? How about produce suppliers? Or kitchen equipment suppliers?
You’ve also gained an insider’s knowledge of what small business owners need from their accountant. Could you become the go-to firm for fledgling business owners who are overwhelmed by all the bookkeeping they have to do?