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Marketing Your Accounting and Tax Practice

Marketing Your Accounting and Tax Practice

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by Hugh Duffy

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Marketing Your Accounting and Tax Practice

While marketing and business development is easy for Build Your Firm, most accounting and tax professionals struggle with the concept. In fact, most accountants were never taught the principles of business strategy, marketing, and selling. Not in college or when working for another accounting firm. And while accountants are great people, hard working and ethical, they meander in the methods for marketing and building their accounting/tax practice into a brand that others want to purchase.

To me, it all starts with what type of accounting practice you want to build. In other words, what type of clients do you want to attract, why do you want them, what expertise do you have in this area (or can we create), can we charge a higher fee for this, is it scalable so you can grow rapidly, and will larger accounting firms buy your practice for a higher multiple 10-20 years from now? In other words, how do we build a better mouse trap that you enjoy servicing, command a higher than average fee, delegate most of the work to employee(s), and position your practice as unique with relatively few competitors?

What Are Your Ideal Clients?

Every business has clients that they prefer to work with. Typically, this principle is known as the Pareto Principle (also known as the 80/20 rule) whereby 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your clients. This dynamic is very common in business but not an exact science.

If this is not evident within your accounting practice, here are steps to figure it out.

Steps for Identifying Ideal Clients:

  • Sort clients by Annual Fee
  • Sort clients by Fee Realization Rates
  • Sort clients by Industry type or Service type

    By sorting the clients, you should be able to see patterns of what you want to attract and what to avoid (sell off).

    Given this dynamic, businesses will typically seek to focus most of their efforts on the 20% of clients before scaling this way up. In other words, they dissect how they can become a superior accounting firm for servicing this type of client. At the same time, they seek to offload (package up and sell) 80% of the clients that are not ideal for their long term future. In some cases, accountants will aggressively increase the price on 80% of the clients with steep annual price increases, not really caring if they leave because they are chewing up tons of time, not appreciating the service, refer to very few solid clients, and make your staff miserable.

    Upon analysis, some portion of the 20% might evolve into a niche which becomes the new mantra for future firm growth.

    Logical Next Steps

    1. Develop a plan to focus on the top 20% of clients and how to dramatically improve your services to this group(e.g., become the best at serving this type of client, Six Sigma quality control, etc.).

    2. Restructure your team to address the top 20% pain points, and anticipate their future questions.

    3. Create new services that solve their consultative needs.

    4. Create a new website focused on the needs of the top 20% (e.g., telegraph your message).

    5. Aggressively market your firm to the 20%.

    6. Sell 80% of your "off strategy" clients to another firm (e.g., sell your losers).





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    Hugh Duffy, BYF CEO and Co-Founder

    Hugh is the consummate marketing coach for accountants and takes pride in the impact that it has on their practice, and lives. Hugh has more than thirty years of marketing experience. Since 2003, he has been teaching accountants on how to improve their marketing and make more money from their accounting practice.