17th April, 2023
With EOFY looming and business clients concerned about the state of the economy, now’s the time to reinvigorate your practice, partners and clients.
As an accountant and practice manager, you have probably heard every possible concern a client can have, especially at tax time.
From financial or economic uncertainty to growing cybersecurity threats and even finding and retaining talented staff, there’s plenty to keep your clients up at night (and, if your experience is anything like mine, some of these are probably keeping you up, too).
I’m here to tell you there’s still plenty that you can do in your practice to shore up belief in your expertise, your people and your offering in time for the end of financial year.
Here are four things you can action in short order to boost belief and, most importantly, help make sure you and your clients are in the best possible position to succeed.
What do you do for your clients? Are the services you’re offering unique? Are you trying to do too much, or could you be adding more?
Your customer value proposition (CVP) should offer clarity about what you do, how you do it and why it’s important for your target market.
Consider reviewing and refreshing a CVP to include a clear point of difference that will help you differentiate yourself from the competition and to make sure your team is well aligned to the practice vision.
You might also like to have a clearly articulated elevator pitch that explains your CVP in client-friendly terms. Developing one could even make for a collaborative team-building activity for you and your partners and employees.
More than just technology, all the ways that your practice goes about delivering its services are important to have documented, and to also regularly reassess for optimisation opportunities.
It may be that you’re still heavily reliant on paper-based records, or perhaps you have multiple systems causing the duplication of data entry tasks — both of which are examples of system inefficiency you can remove.
When we talk about systems and processes at MYOB, we redefine them as part of the key tasks and workflows that come together in a business management platform.
If the technology you’re using doesn’t allow you to bring together all your key workflows into one place, then you may be losing efficiency due to a lack of visibility, automation and security.
Now I know, it’s much easier said than done. But striving to improve your company culture should be an ongoing goal and, if you get it right, will give you a real edge in your market.
Once you have the foundations in place, including the right systems and a strong CVP, you can then work towards aligning your team.
Consider things like your social calendar, creating special interest groups within the organisation and reviewing education and development programs so that your employees are confident they’ll not only keep up with their CDP hours, but that they’re properly fulfilled in their work.
READ: Attracting and retaining top talent in professional services
What clients do you currently have and how does this compare to the client list you want?
Having a clear view of your high value clients, problem clients and any gaps or opportunities that remain is fundamental to running a sustainable accounting practice. Of course, this may mean firing a client from time to time, but it also may mean investing more in sales and acquisition.
This is also one area where it pays not to sell your clients short. Spend some time auditing the communications between your practice and your clients to see how people are being treated and to identify any problem areas.
You may even consider performing regular client satisfaction surveys as well as auditing the effectiveness of things like marketing and advertising, newsletter sends and social media activity.
All of this is made easier with the application of a robust customer relationship management (CRM) system.
Tax time can be a frantic time of year, but once you have the immediate client services and compliance work complete, it can also be an excellent opportunity to reassess and refresh your practice offering.
If you’re looking to reenergise and reinvigorate your practice in time for the new financial year, I hope you’re able to take some of the above tips on board and put them to work.
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