4 Things Accountants Should Do After Tax Season
Once the madness of tax season finally comes to a close, a vacation is definitely in order. But after you’ve taken a break to relax and recharge, it’s time to get back to business. This is the ideal moment to look at your accounting firm and determine what you can do in the coming months to solidify existing client relationships and build new ones.
With these goals in mind, here are the four things every accountant should do post-tax season.
1. Improve Client Experience
Client experience is more than customer service, it’s about everything that impacts a client’s feelings about your accounting firm. From how easy (or hard) it is to share a file to how long they have to wait to get a response to an email or phone call. This overall impression of your firm is what makes a client either stick with you or start looking for another accountant.
Nurturing client experience means knowing what factors to pay attention to so you can put your best foot forward in these areas. A variety of sources agree that there are two top issues that cause business owners to switch accountants:
- Being unresponsive (lack of communication)
- Not providing enough value (not worth the price)
Let's explore these points together since they relate.
Don't Be the Once a Year Accountant
Most small business owners are watching every penny. If they’re writing you a check every month but only hear from you around tax season, they’ll start to reason that what they’re paying isn’t worth it for the services you’re providing. Accounting Today calls this the number one reason why small business clients leave their accountant.
Find Ways to Build Value
Making a loyal client means consistently showing them the value in what you do for them. There are a couple key ways to do this:
- Use client surveys to identify strengths and weaknesses. Listening to your clients is the essential first step to satisfying their needs and giving them a good experience with your accounting firm. Do you really know how your clients feel about your firm? The best way to find out what your clients really think about your accounting firm, your services, and your prices is to ask them with client satisfaction surveys. These surveys are a great way to gain insights on what your clients appreciate most about your services and where you need to make improvements. When is the right time to send out client satisfaction surveys? You guessed it, right after tax season.
- Rely on technology to make keeping in touch easier. Another easy way to show your firm’s value is to give your clients a steady supply of useful tax and accounting information. One great way to do this is to send out a monthly email newsletter with content on topics that your clients will find useful. For example, small business owners will be interested in articles that address business concerns, QuickBooks shortcuts, and ways to save money on taxes, while your individual clients might appreciate articles related to individual tax, investments, and trusts and estates matters. Making this happen every month could sound daunting. But, if you automate your email newsletter process, it won’t take any time away from your day but it will score you points with your clients.
2. Get More Google Reviews
Accountants always need more positive Google reviews and the end of tax season offers an excellent opportunity to ask for them. The rush of getting a fat tax refund check or the relief a client feels when you’re able to knock a big chunk off their tax bill makes for good vibes for your firm. So, while your clients are still riding the high of that roll of money in their pocket, ask them to leave a review online and you’re likely to get it.
Getting more Google reviews for your accounting firm will:
- One-up your competitors. Check out your biggest competitors in the area and aim to have more Google reviews than they do. Having the most reviews will tip the scales in your favor when potential customers are comparing accounting firms in your area.
- Keep it fresh. If you have a high star rating on Google but your last review is from four years ago, it won’t pull much weight with potential clients. For people who don’t know anything about your firm, Google reviews are their top resource to verify that your accounting firm is reputable and reliable. So give them up to date reviews that will motivate them to reach out to you.
3. Embrace Digital Marketing
In marketing an accounting firm, one mistake accountants make is to assume that their website should single handedly bring in every new lead. Even with great SEO you can’t rely on your website’s Google rankings to bring in all of the leads while you sit back and close the new business. Your website should be pulling in some leads of course, and in some markets a good website may be bringing in a pretty large number of leads, but accounting firms that grow consistently put more into their digital marketing efforts. So whether you get help from an agency or DIY your online marketing, find some other ways to get in the game.
Try taking on at least one new marketing initiative. A great place to start is social media.
Accounting firms that grow consistently put more into their digital marketing efforts. So whether you get help from an agency or DIY your online marketing, find some other ways to get in the game.
Regularly Post Content on Social Media
Posting engaging content on social media platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn allows you to build an audience and tell them your story. Offering valuable content also builds trust and shows that you know what you’re talking about when it comes to accounting and taxes. Make sure to post content that doesn’t focus on selling accounting services but rather fills a need or addresses your potential clients’ pain points and they’ll naturally want to work with your firm.
Something to consider about social media is it’s not a one plus one equals two process. You can’t always quantify it in terms of pointing to one post that motivated a particular person to contact you so you closed a new client. Much like client experience that we discussed earlier, it's all of the little things that add up over time to build a good impression of your firm in the eyes of your audience.
You should also consider:
- Starting a blog on your website. Add a blog to your website and regularly post articles on topics that are of interest to your target audience. This will not only help them find your firm in online searches and incite trust, but the same well-written content will do double duty by contributing to good SEO on your website.
- Trying a paid online advertising campaign. A Google pay per click advertising campaign can be a significant investment but the return can also be big. Paid ads on Google appear above the organic, or naturally acquired, rankings to bring even higher visibility in the search results so potential clients can’t miss them.
4. Target Your Ideal Clients
Were you happy with the types of clients you worked with during tax season? If you felt like you were wasting time and energy with too many 1040 clients when you’d prefer more small business owners or if the businesses you’re working with were not optimal, consider carving out a niche for your practice.
If you felt like you were wasting time and energy with too many 1040 clients when you’d prefer more small business owners or if the businesses you’re working with were not optimal, consider carving out a niche for your practice.
There are many reasons to create a niche for your accounting firm. When you concentrate on a niche within the accounting industry, you’ll get:
- The kinds of clients you like working with best. When you’re spending your day with the types of clients you like to deal with, you’ll enjoy your work more and will be less stressed.
- The ability to charge higher rates and get away with it. A niche lets you establish yourself as the go-to firm for that industry of service. People will be willing to pay more for your expertise because you’re offering a level of experience that they can’t get from a general accountant.
- A better return on your marketing dollars. With a distinct type of client in the cross hairs, you’ll know just where to aim your marketing dollars to reach that potential client. You may not get as much response as you would for advertising more generic accounting services, but the leads you get will be much more likely to convert because your firm is offering just what they need - someone who understands their business.
Remember, your firm’s niche doesn’t have to be written in stone. As the economy and business trends shift over the years, a different service or new industry might emerge as the new hot niche. When that happens, don’t be afraid to switch gears and start targeting a different niche.
Seize the Day!
With tax season behind you, it's time to turn your attention to how you will keep your accounting firm moving forward. Don't miss the chance to evaluate your firm so you can find ways to boost client retention and energize your marketing efforts.
Need some help with your accounting marketing? Build Your Firm specializes in content marketing for CPAs and accountants and we can help.
Statistic credit: Accountancy Age