What is the best way to 'incentivise' accountants? | AccountingWEB

What is the best way to 'incentivise' accountants?

I have had great referrals from accountants in the past to help one of their clients with print, direct mail and other marketing.  I would like to find a way to reach out to more accountants.

Normally, I am very happy to 'reward' successful referrals financially or otherwise.  Accountants seem to be actually put off by such 'rewards'.

From my point of view the one profession that knows exactly how much a business spends on print is their accountant.  Accountants like to help save their clients money but more importantly, help their clients to grow their businesses.  I carry free print health checks that improve response and reduce costs so it should be a win/win/win.


How would you approach an accountant for this?  What kind of 'incentives' or 'rewards' would be most suitable and acceptable to accountants?

Thanks for your help.


Provide a good service

HudsonCo | | Permalink

I frequently refer new clients to my own printer because of the great service that they give me. They do not pay me any commission. Similarly I refer to two different IFAs one of whom pays me commission and the other doesn't. My incentive is providing the right service for my client.

MarkAOrr's picture

Thanks for that.

MarkAOrr | | Permalink

I can tell accountants and other that I provide a great service but would they just take my word for it. I think not. Surely I need to get a foot in the door first?

bookmarklee's picture

Do they want to give referrals?

bookmarklee | | Permalink

"From my point of view the one profession that knows exactly how much a business spends on print is their accountant.  Accountants like to help save their clients money but more importantly, help their clients to grow their businesses."

You're right - upto a point.

Accountants typically stick to what they know about. They'll talk about margins, they'll note the way that a certain category of expenses is higher than it was the previous year. But most of the time this is a backwards looking review exercise rather than the provision of advice as to how the clients could save costs on purchasing products/services more cost effectively. You might think that should be what they do. You might assume it is what they do. But you'd be right only in a minority of cases.  Your challenge is to find that minority - or to target clients directly.

When it comes to advice on how to grow the business accountants will typically focus on growing the top line rather than shrinking one or two specific overhead lines.

I often share ideas, insights and advice on how to generate referrals from accountants here: http://www.referralsfromaccountants.co.uk


maxxy's picture

Selling referral schemes to accountants

maxxy | | Permalink

We get approached a lot to sell referral and affiliate schemes to accountants for their clients to save money on services such as telephone or IT. 

In the main accountants are not that receptive with main barriers being that they refer already to other existing clients, or they would not refer without completely trusting the service or person they were introducing, or simply that they have other things to focus their energy on.  Accountants don't want things to muddy the waters or to come back and bite them on the bum if they were the person making the introduction and endorsement. 

So... with that in mind, I would recommend asking what their attitudes are on referring you as a supplier, what's in it for them, and whether you have a free or special offer for the accountants to trial themselves before referring. 

I'm speaking generally of course and I'm sure there are accountants who are more receptive than others.

Perhaps some joint local marketing for start ups could be one option for you. You could have accountancy firms featured in some of your print samples that you send to new business prospects in return for you to promoting special offers to their client base. You could offer a free cost review of printing to existing clients if you were to take on the work rather than expect accountants to do it for you. Be clear about what you are asking for ie; a mention in a newsletter, a link from their website, or just to be remembered if someone mentions printing needs or costs. 


-- www.maxxy.co.uk www.find-me-an-accountant.com Twitter:@maxinemaxxy

MarkAOrr's picture

Great advice, thanks so much for taking the time to give it

MarkAOrr | | Permalink

I have looked at Mark's web site and signed up to hear about future events. I think I may even buy the book but he has used the magic '7' in the price and that always makes me suspicious.

Maxxy's comments are also very good. Many things she has said are not just true of accountants but may be more acute in this market.

I do provide a free print health check which is called that because I want to make sure people understand it is about more than just the cost. I also advise how to make every piece of print work harder for you and therefore get higher responses and better returns. However, I can easily revert back to the old name of Print Audit which accountants may understand much better. I could obviously call it cost review if that is more attractive to accountants.

I have noticed that the trust issue is a big thing here and I can fully understand why. Perhaps the best way to earn that trust would be to deliver a high quality product for the account themselves and not charge for it. I suppose the best example might be to offer 250 of our very high quality business cards printed both sides in full colour on 400gsm silk board and then matt laminated. I would happily supply one set free in exchange for a meeting to discuss the potential and without any obligation.

Thanks again for taking the time to help me. I really appreciate it and would love to know what I can do to help you today.

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