If your CPA firm offers wealth management services or other premium services and programs and you are doing taxes or annual reports by email, you are missing huge opportunities. When your only communication with a client is by e-mail, you have no opportunity to build a relationship. If this is the case, you are getting work done. But you are not developing a relationship with your client, and the relationship is what will open other opportunities.
How do you answer the question for your firm: “Are you a commodity or an expert?” Most CPA firms are commodities. Building a micro-niche boutique within your firm and capitalizing on the expertise of your partners and staff can change your answer. Now answer the same question about yourself: “Are you a commodity or an expert?” Chances are very good that you are a commodity, as well. How do your clients think of you – commodity or expert? Developing a micro-niche boutique within your firm, capitalizing on your expertise, will change your answer, too.
If your firm offers wealth management services and you have not created a process for selling those services to a target group of accounting clients during the current busy season, you can still start a process of identifying target clients this year. One common reason given by CPA firms for not selling wealth management services by scheduling appointments during the busy season/ tax season for later in the spring or summer is that they have never had time to segment their client list
The AICPA released the findings of a study of CPA firms across the country a few years ago. One startling discovery of the report was that more than 60% of partners in CPA firms are eligible for retirement by 2020. This fact presages significant change within the accounting industry during the next ten years.
In the past, senior partners or owners of firms were able to say, “When the time is right, I’ll sell or merge.” In the past, this was a logical approach to retirement planning. Today, this kind of thinking could result in financial disaster. Today, succession is not secure because the option to sell or merge may not be available to you.
With the New Year only days away, we hope you are preparing for the upcoming busy season for your firm. We have offered some suggestions to help you during the last few weeks.
Don’t forget to stop and look back. Retrospectives are abundant on TV newscasts. Another type of retrospective is also just around the corner – the entertainment industry’s awards season. This is their time to look back and recognize the best and the worst of their year, as well.
As your firm gears up for the busy season, whether defined by annual reports, earnings statements or tax returns, you need a process to ensure everything is completed. All professional and financial services firms should have a clear process in place that not only keeps everyone on track, but also ensures that no one overlooks any important steps.
We commonly hear that people in accounting and financial services are uncomfortable with the idea of selling new or additional services to their clients. There are people who feel that the personalities of accounting and financial services professionals and sales professionals are so different as to make it impossible for services professionals to be able to sell effectively. There might be people who cannot sell under any circumstances; but they are few. The rest of us can learn to sell; and cross-selling is the easiest technique to learn.
Building a successful and profitable micro-niche boutique in your firm depends upon your ability to build a business around the expertise of a member of the firm. The market might be telling you what your firm does particularly well. You might quickly identify the experts in these high-demand areas. You might also discover that one or more of your staff would like to cultivate expertise and build a boutique business in an area that would draw in new highly profitable clients. To which partners or staff should you look for the leadership and expertise that can be the basis for a micro-niche boutique?
As you move closer to the busy season – taxes, annual reports, budgets, evaluations, new investment strategies, calculating dividends – you need to be thinking about more than the specific task before you at any moment. You also need to thinking about whether you are churning out tasks or grasping all of the opportunities before you.
December is a very busy time. People are getting ready for or celebrating Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and the New Year. Professional and financial services firms should also be getting ready for the Busy Season of W-2s, annual reports, taxes, earnings statements, and all of the other kinds of reporting they must do during the first few months of the year.