5 Steps to More Business from Your Accounting Clients

As more and more accountants in public practice take on the role of financial adviser to their clients, it soon becomes clear that knowing the client’s personal interests, needs and hot buttons is just as vital as sorting out their income tax problems and financial affairs.

This whole are of business development which many accountants have sadly neglected in the past, can be an additional fee generator if the accountant is prepared to put in the time and effort necessary.

Here are a few suggestions that should help you generate additional business (and additional fees) from your more valuable clients:

Step 1:  Get to know clients well. 
This means not only knowing them as people, but also learning more about their business, their goals and their concerns.  If you wish to obtain extra value from your clients learn to understand more clearly the problems they have, and the issues they need resolved.

Once you understand their specific needs you will be able to put in strategies to meet those needs. This will result not only in satisfied clients, but also increased fees for your accounting practice.

Step 2:  Ask for additional work.
Many accountants are uncomfortable asking for additional work.  Here are a few things you can do to make this task easier:

  • GOOD SERVICE - If you have maintained the delivery of good quality service and constant contact with your good clients they will be more than satisfied with you when you approach them for extra work. You will find that they will readily use your services in other areas because of your good track record with them.
  • DO HOMEWORK - Because you would have previously researched your clients and highlighted other areas in their business that they could use help with, your offer to take on more work will generally be welcomed.
  • PERFORM - Don’t ask for work that you are unable to manage with your current resources.  There is nothing worse than taking on extra work and making promises to clients that you later find you are unable to fulfil.

Step 3:  Identify every opportunity
If you are aware of what is happening with your client’s business as well as your client’s life, there are triggers that will provide openings for extra work due possibly to changes in the client’s life. 

For example, when there has been family death, remarriage, or divorce, the client’s requirements and investments may need to be looked at and reviewed.

There may be other triggers, such as changes in the marketplace or new taxation law or the economy or in trends. All these provide opportunity for approaching clients for further instructions.

Step 4:  Make sure your clients are 100% happy
If your clients are happy they will be inclined to give you additional work.  It is imperative that you provide a “top service” experience for all clients, especially your more valuable “high fee value” clients.  These clients are often “time poor” so any extra services that you can offer to lighten their load and release them more free time will increase your value and worth in their eyes.  Make this a top priority – continually improve and maintain your relationships with your good clients.

Step 5:  Appreciate your clients trust
Let your clients know that you appreciate their trust and the work that they have already passed over to you.  Don’t get too flowery but let your clients know that you appreciate the opportunity to represent them are pleased to serve them. Tell them you will always be available for them and that you will be there to help them reach their financial and other goals. Clients like to be appreciated and they value a genuine thank you note now and then. 

Research has shown that when accountants ask for additional work they are generally successful. This means there is a goldmine awaiting any accountant in practice willing to get closer to their clients to offer assistance in other business or financial areas that often the client would never have considered.

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