Ten Surefire Strategies to Jumpstart Your Accounting Revenue

Have you ever asked yourself any of the following questions?

  • How do I get started finding my first few clients after starting or re-starting my accounting or bookkeeping business?
  • How do I find higher-quality clients that are more ideal for my accounting business?
  • How do I get the cash coming in fast so my business can support me?

If you have asked yourself these questions, you’re in luck because this article will provide you with some answers to these questions.

You’re in the right place if you’re an accountant, bookkeeper, QuickBooks, Xero, or Sage software expert, tax preparer, CPA, or EA. You’re good at what you offer clients, and you might not have time to get good at marketing, especially while you’re busy setting up your new business or working with current clients.

You certainly don’t need one of those academic marketing books that discuss theory; you just need to know what to do to get the cash rolling in fast. You want clients who need your bookkeeping, tax, payroll, QuickBooks, accounting, or CFO services.

But you also need to watch how much you spend. You have fewer clients in which to spread the overhead costs, so you need to watch your profit margins. You’ll need to be smart about your spending, and here are a couple of strategies that will help with that.

Surefire Strategy #1: Learn which marketing methods pay off the quickest.

When you’re building your practice, and you’re not at capacity yet, you’ll use different marketing methods than if you were at full capacity. For example, if you have to choose budget-wise between social media and a website, you’ll want to choose the option that will give you the highest return on your marketing investment.

If you don’t have any formal training in marketing, you might instantly think about marketing methods that worked when you were an employee, or when you first started your career. Unfortunately, something that worked six months ago might not work today; the online and offline worlds are changing that fast.

There are hundreds – maybe thousands — of places to look for prospects for your accounting services; the challenge is to know which one is best for the stage of business you’re in, the type of client you want, and the type of service you have to offer.

I’ve seen accountants think of an idea such as direct mail and go full steam ahead before really knowing what the final costs will be and whether it will work. You might think, just pay a printer to print some postcards, but here are the components of a direct mail campaign:

  • Decide on your goal and offer
  • Hire a graphics designer to design the postcard
  • Hire a printer to print the cards
  • Buy postage
  • Buy a list
  • Hire someone to mail them out

Then we think we’ll get a ton of calls from the mailing. Today’s direct mail response rates are one in 1,000, meaning you’re lucky if you get one call for 1,000 pieces mailed.  And that’s if you’re a pro at getting direct mail to work.  Direct mail to a cold list of people you don’t know often generates poor-quality leads and is not a sustainable marketing option.

We want to help you avoid costly mistakes just like this one.

The bottom line is all about numbers, and we accountants are great at numbers. What you really want to track and know is how much it will cost you to acquire a new client. This answer will vary depending on where you find the client. You just want to make sure you’re finding them in the most cost-effective method for the stage of business you’re in right now.

Surefire Strategy #2: Keep expenses low and investments high.

This one is easier to explain to accountants compared to other business owners because you know the difference between an asset and an expense. When cash is tight, it’s always good to invest in items that will last longer than the current period, as well as ones that will generate income.  Here are a few items (not all of them are assets) that will last, at least a while:

  • Training that will boost your entrepreneurial skill set

There’s nothing better in life than improving yourself, and good training will add to your skill set and give you the knowledge you need to run your business better.

  • Good quality hardware and software

Although hardware doesn’t last forever these days, it’s still important to have the best tools so you can serve your clients well. Invest in software training so you know your accounting software inside and out.

On the other hand, here are some things to avoid spending on until your client base is full:

  • An expensive multi-year office lease.

Even a small office can take up a sizable chunk of overhead. Often leasing firms “forget” to mention the cost of internet, phone systems, and any other shared expense that is added to your rental bill. In today’s gig economy, you simply have too many choices when it comes to meeting with clients. There are co-working offices you can rent by the day, or one or two days a week if you’re set on needing a space to meet clients. But keep in mind that today’s accounting world is so virtual it’s hardly necessary to meet face-to-face with clients these days, so you may not need an office space at all.

  • Marketing flyers.

I’ve seen too many people print 1,000 flyers only to realize they really didn’t have the marketing message right or found a typo after the 50th one was handed out.  Use email and send your flyer digitally, or simply print from your high-quality color printer that you have at home until you get past your learning curve with your marketing message.

That gives you a couple of strategies on spending and saving money wisely when cash is tight. Now, here are three more strategies to do in your accounting business so you can avoid big mistakes and lost clients down the road.

Surefire Strategy #3: Create a Client Retention Plan

When you do get customers, you want to be sure that you keep them. And you might be able to upsell them into additional services you offer, but you need to stay top-of-mind with your clients to do that. For example, if a client comes to you for tax preparation services, you might be able to upsell them into your bookkeeping services. Or if a client is working with you on their bookkeeping, they might later turn over their payroll services. This makes your revenue per client go up and makes that client more valuable to your business.

A client retention plan could be as simple as reaching out to the client once a quarter, sending a newsletter, or making more elaborate and frequent connections. In any case, a client retention plan will help you protect the investment you have in your current clients.

Surefire Strategy #4: Learn customer service

We think that customer service is something we are all inherently born with, right? Certainly, we don’t need customer service training. Yet, studies of accounting firm clients tell us over and over again that our biggest challenge is good customer service. It’s the number one client complaint in the industry. Client want to hear from us more often than they do.

The disconnect here is that we don’t have the same personality as your clients, but we assume we do. Not to stereotype, but most accountants tend to be introverted, perhaps even shy, not too talkative, more analytical than artistic, and sometimes, rules-based. We like things black and white when possible; just tell us what to do.  Our clients are completely different. For one thing, they often hate the numbers we love. They don’t love deadlines – we excel at them. They are messy and we’re organized.  And so on. We simply don’t have the same personality as our clients. Our definition of good customer service will not be the same as our clients’ definitions of good customer service.

We do need to learn what our clients need from us as it’s not the same as what we need from people.

So, one start to providing great customer service is to learn how to provide an exceptional and professional client onboarding service. First impressions last.

Ask yourself, on a scale of 1-10, 10 being excellent, how smooth is your new client customer experience?  If it’s not a 10, you might have some work to do.

Surefire Strategy #5: Fortify Your Confidence

When you’re starting or re-starting your accounting business or simply need clients, something happens to some people’s confidence level: it just goes down. Many people dislike having to ask other people for money or favors, and asking for business can be one of those skills that requires both knowledge and emotional management. As an entrepreneur, you’ll need to fortify your confidence when it comes to presenting your services and providing prospects with your fee estimate.

Chances are some prospects will say no, and that’s a rejection. No one likes being rejected, but as an entrepreneur, you’ll need to learn how to be persistent so you can get up after a rejection and make the next call.

One way to build confidence and persistence is to surround yourself with a support system. This can be a whole team of people or perhaps a coach or teacher who has already accomplished what you want to achieve.

That’s three things you need to do before you get started acquiring more clients: find a way to keep the clients you have, get great at customer service, and fortify your confidence.

Now let’s look at one activity to avoid (that most people do out of insecurity and it slows them down).

Surefire Strategy #6: Waiting Until It’s Perfect

Fear tends to hold us back more than we realize. It comes in the form of procrastination, avoidance, and doubt, to name a few feelings. Are we good enough? Do we need another certification?

I’ll tell you a little secret. The only reason I got my CPA was because I thought it would help me get a job when I moved from my college town of College Station, TX back to Dallas. I thought I needed another certification. I’m super-glad I did it, but part of the reason was driven by fear.

Do you need to wait until your schedule clears a bit? Do you need to wait until something happens in your family? Do you need to wait until it snows in the Bahamas?

If you’re waiting to accomplish your dream until it’s perfect circumstances, you may have a lot of regrets in life. It’s never going to be perfect. If it’s your dream, you need to go for it, now.

Now let’s talk about three more strategies you need to put in place so that you’ll look extra professional compared to your competitors.

Surefire Strategy #7: Your marketing plan and budget

In looking for clients, you can end up spending a lot of time and money that doesn’t pay off, so of course you want to avoid those mistakes. You can do that by building your marketing skills. When possible, you want to find the place that works for your time and budget needs.  When your accounting practice is less than half full of clients, you have more time than money. When your practice gets fuller, that may switch and you now have more money than time.

Your marketing methods should change and adapt to where you are now in your business. You might have outgrown the marketing methods you used to get your first clients, and now you’re ready to learn something new.

You’ll want to build skills that allow you to answer these questions for your business:

  1. Where can I find clients that are the quality I need at the lowest marketing cost?
  2. What should my marketing budget be for the phase of business I am in?
  3. Are my marketing methods sustainable over time?

Once you know the answers to these questions, you’re ready to market effectively.

Surefire Strategy #8: What will I say to prospects?

You can greatly impact how many people will be interested in what you have to offer simply based on what you say, your marketing message.

At networking meetings, I’ve watched accountants in action that are just starting their business. Their “elevator speech” goes like this: “I do bookkeeping, payroll, tax return preparation, audits, part-time CFO, accounts receivable, accounts payable, general ledger, reconciliations, financial statements, loan packages, corporate tax, and oh the kitchen sink.” They don’t want to leave anything out just in case.

That’s not really what the prospect wants to hear. They want to know if you can help them become more organized, make their deadlines, or make them money.  Knowing what to say can make a big impact on how hard you need to market.

Ask yourself if you’re saying the most effective things you could be? Or, do you sound like every other accountant?

Surefire Strategy #9: Get the skills you are missing

What keeps small business owners on their toes is that with every new level of business we reach, we need a new set of skills. We need to be lifelong learners in order to continue growing our businesses and serving our clients well.

You are already great at keeping up with your accounting skills. You now need to be as competent with your technology skills these days. But there are several skills beyond accounting and technology that are needed for you to continue to mature your business. Here are a few:

  • Marketing, to attract new clients so you can help more people and be supported with the revenue level you choose
  • Negotiation, to get the price you deserve
  • Selling, to convince people you’re the right accounting professional for them
  • Customer service, to avoid client attrition, discounting, and otherwise uncomfortable conversations

These are the skills you’ll need to build out your client base. Later, when you hire your first employee, you’ll need additional skills.

Those last three strategies, your marketing plan, your message, and your skill set, and the ones you need to put in place to be successful.  Which one do you need to work on most?

Now, in our final surefire strategy, let’s discover one place to find out more about how to increase your success and reduce your mistakes when you’re attracting new clients to fill your practice.

Surefire Strategy #10: Decide if the Jumpstart course is right for you

If you already have bookkeeping or accounting skills but don’t feel comfortable with your level of marketing skills, then a perfect next step for you is to consider our course, “Jumpstart Your Accounting Business.” If you feel apprehensive at the thought of marketing and know it’s negatively affecting your income, then you owe it to yourself to get the skills you need to accomplish your dream.

Getting accounting, tax, and bookkeeping clients can be hard. We make it easier with our high-energy, get-clients-fast, get-the-cash-flowing training program just for you.

Here’s what we cover in the webinars:

  • Getting your accounting, bookkeeping, tax, or QuickBooks consulting practice filled fast!
  • Getting paid– how to set your price and get what you’re worth from your clients
  • The most common costly mistakesto avoid, distractions to eliminate and money NOT to spend when you practice isn’t full
  • Setting up your client onboarding process– the forms and contracts you need to look like the pro you are
  • A complete marketing plan – taking the guesswork out of making your revenue numberswithout tanking your margins
  • Productive tech toolsto save time so you can serve clients better
  • Establishing your online presencewithout a web site
  • How to answer tough pricing questionswhen a prospect challenges you
  • How to set yourself apart from the competitionfor long term success
  • And much more

If you’re ready to get clients fast, get the cash flowing, reduce costly mistakes, boost your confidence, and increase your success, then go here to find out more about “Jumpstart Your Accounting Business.”

The JumpStart Course consists of 8.5 hours of recorded webinars, document samples including contracts, onboarding checklists, and marketing plans. You’ll get answers to these questions:

  • How do I find clients that are more ideal for my accounting business?
  • How do I roll out an effective marketing plan to find and close more clients?
  • How can I update my advertising and marketing skills?
  • How do I increase my revenue and operations without increasing the workload on me?
  • How do I get the client to understand value?
  • How do I spread revenue across the year?
  • How much should I charge?
  • How do I increase monthly retainer fees?
  • And more

The Jumpstart course follows this agenda:

  1. Motivational kickoff call to get the cash flowing fast
  2. All about Pricing and Positioning
  3. Creating your Marketing Plan
  4. Client Communications to put in place
  5. Marketing Materials you need
  6. Using Online Marketing effectively
  7. Negotiations and Selling basics
  8. Tech Tools you need to serve clients best

Your Action Items

If you are feeling like you need a support system with a coach who can guide you through the risky landmines, keep your first year expenses down to a ridiculously low amount (saving yourself thousands of dollars), and get you jumpstarted, then sign up now before you forget.

Just think, you can start to get more clients as soon as next week.  Here’s the sales page to learn more and sign up for the JumpStart Your Accounting Business course.

We hope you enjoyed Ten Surefire Strategies to JumpStart Your Accounting Revenue and wish you the best of luck in your quest for new clients.