Acquisitions of accounting firms bring many exciting business opportunities and put you in the driver’s seat to make decisions and grow the firm. But one of the biggest challenges to growing a firm is bringing in new customers.
When you’re in the process of buying an accounting practice, you will likely negotiate the purchase of the client list and try to maintain the firm’s clients when you take over. But growing a firm also requires getting new customers.
How Can I Get Clients For My Accounting Firm?
Accounting can be a competitive business. Depending on your location and area of expertise, you may face more or less competition from other firms. Bringing in new clients is crucial for expanding your firm and hitting business goals.
There are a variety of ways to attract new customers—some methods work better at certain types of firms or may resonate better with your ideal customers.
Here are seven ways to get clients for your accounting firm:
Find Your Niche
Start by defining your accounting niche. Your niche is your focus and what makes you unique. It can include the accounting services you offer, the languages you speak, or the personal experience you provide for customers.
You may cater to small business owners, young professionals, retirees, or people in a certain neighborhood. Even a general accounting firm can have a niche, such as offering personalized services or using top-tier technology.
When you define what makes your firm unique and your niche area, you can narrow down your search for customers and create a more tailored marketing approach. Instead of waving blindly and trying to catch any clients you can, you can search for the ideal clients who will benefit most from your practice.
If your niche is accounting for small businesses, you can reach out to local businesses or the chamber of commerce.
If you work mainly with international accounting, you can get involved in industry groups. Narrowing your focus helps you build a brand that meets specific needs and target your approach to be valuable and different.
Understanding your niche helps you realize what makes your firm unique and can match you with the right clients.
Grow Your Online Presence
These days, every business is online. When people start looking for a new accounting firm, they will most likely start by searching online. A strong online presence can introduce your firm to potential clients and create a strong first impression.
Make sure you have a professional website that is updated and easy to use. Your website should make it clear the services your firm offers, who you are and why people should do business with you, and provide a way for them to contact you.
You can also leverage the power of social media to share updates with customers and provide another way for people to find and connect with your business.
Go where your customers are—if potential clients are using Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn, build a presence there to connect with them.
Online review websites, such as Yelp or Google reviews, can also attract new clients. When people search for accounting firms in their area, they will likely consider the firms that have the highest customer reviews.
Online reviews are incredibly powerful—people trust what other people have to say. A great review can build your business, while a negative or non-existent review can drive customers away.
Encourage existing clients to leave online reviews so that potential clients can feel confident trusting your practice with their accounting needs.
Get Involved In the Community
People want to do business with companies that do good in the community. Find a cause that matters to you and find a way to contribute. You could sponsor a local kids’ sports team, volunteer at a food pantry, or help plan a community event—the possibilities are endless.
Many accounting firms find great success by setting up booths at community fairs and events to hand out business cards and other branded freebies.
Getting involved in the community helps you build relationships with residents and other businesses, gets your name out there, and shows that you care about more than just making money.
If people in the community regularly see your accounting firm getting involved, you will be top of mind if they ever need accounting services or know someone who does.
Create Valuable Content
Content marketing is one of the most valuable tools of modern companies. A great website is important, but it won’t matter if no one visits it. Creating valuable content, either through a blog, video series, podcast, or social media posts, can drive traffic to your website and introduce potential clients to your business.
No matter the format, aim to create free content that is valuable to customers. Pay attention to common problems people have and what they are searching for. If customers regularly have questions about filing their taxes or balancing their accounts, create a blog post or video that provides valuable tips or advice.
Use common keywords and search engine optimization to show up higher in search results, and be sure to include geographic words to attract people who are searching for accounting firms in your area. When people search online for these questions, they are more likely to find your content, which leads them to your accounting firm.
Creating valuable content increases the visibility of your firm and also shows your expertise. It also increases the chances that people will share your content, which expands your reach beyond just the people in your circle.
Even if people aren’t actively looking for an accounting firm when they find your content, they are much more likely to remember your company when they need an accountant down the road.
To bring in new clients, people have to know about your business. Build a network of people and businesses who can share about your accounting firm.
Some of your most valuable contacts may be other industry professionals who can refer new clients to you if they move or their needs change. Joining industry groups, either online or in person, can help build your network.
You can also participate in industry events by writing for local accounting websites and newsletters, speaking at industry events, and helping other accountants. Building your network might not lead to an immediate increase in clients, but it can be incredibly valuable for your brand long term.
Networking can increase your exposure, especially as you share content on other people’s channels. Your networking efforts might lead you to write for a website or be a guest host of a podcast that introduces your brand to new potential clients.
Ask For Referrals
People trust recommendations from their friends and family more than strangers on the internet. It’s the reason that many people ask trusted relatives for advice before they turn to search engines.
Take advantage of this by asking your current clients to refer your accounting firm to family and friends. Chances are, current clients are likely very willing to refer your firm but often need to be asked before they will actually do it.
You can even tap into your client base and create a formal referral program and offer incentives to current clients who bring in new clients.
A cash reward or discount on accounting services can be a great incentive for clients to refer your firm to people who could benefit. A referral program requires a monetary investment, but it can lead to big returns with new clients.
Referrals benefit the firm and the clients—you find new clients who are likely similar to your existing clients and who are a good fit for the company, and the new clients have the peace of mind of working with a company because they already know someone else who uses your firm.
Partner With Other Professionals
By partnering with other businesses and professionals, you can expand your pool of potential customers and entice new clients to come to your firm.
When you create a partnership, you agree to refer clients back and forth. That partnership helps clients find trusted providers of services they likely need and you get qualified potential clients in the process.
Who you partner with will vary depending on the niche of your firm. If you work mainly with startups and small businesses, you could partner with a law firm that specializes in entrepreneurs or a technology consulting company.
If you work with retirees, you could partner with a provider of wills and trusts or a financial planner.
These seven ways to attract accounting firm clients can be incredibly beneficial in building your brand and growing your firm. Even if you are an expert accountant and provide amazing service, it doesn’t matter if potential clients don’t know about it.
Investing time and resources into building your brand and marketing your firm can pay off in the long run.