7 strategic partnerships every accountant should have in place

Heather Townsend
The Excedia Group
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I’ve been thinking a little more laterally about good referral partners for accountants. (I know, I should get out more…) My thinking has come about from the fact that most accountants would like some form of marketing which:

a)    works

b)   involves a minimum of effort from them

c)    produces warm prospects rather than cold leads

Let’s be fair, I think most professionals would like to invest in marketing, which has these characteristics also!

The reason I have chosen strategic partnerships as a marketing mechanism, is because this is probably one of the only marketing methods which can achieve these results, whilst it feeling as if you are not marketing.

I’ve chosen 7 different types of strategic partners. Remember that there are many different ways of using these relationships to generate new clients and strengthen existing client relationships for all parties concerned.

Commercial Lawyer

Commercial lawyers tend to meet business owners going through a period of change – sometimes positive, sometimes not! However, this change may necessitate some extra accounting or taxation advice – or even a change in current advisors. You could be using your relationship with the lawyer to get them to provide to your clients, at no extra costs to you or your client, a free ‘health check’. This may be something simple like terms and conditions. Ideally, it generates a high quality lead for your strategic partner, and a happy client for you.


If you have done your maths you will have realised that there are only five people here in this list and seven different types of strategic partners. The reason for this is that many IFAs specialise in investments, pensions or business protection. Ideally you want your chosen IFA to be a real specialist in one of the three – as this will then give you access to three client bases, not just one.  These IFAs need to be talking with you about the campaigns they currently have running, and how they can mine your client data to find prospects. (You then make the introduction and recommendation for your client to contact them.) If your client signs up to them, then it can become a very win-win scenario for both of you – particularly if you arrange a commission split…

Bank Manager

This one is obvious! However, if you are going to generate a steady stream of referrals from these sources you need to be very clear on ‘why’ you should get the referral, and be able to communicate this succinctly to the bank manager.

Business Coach

Most business coaches are typically helping their clients through a period of growth. Either helping them grow or restart their growth that has stalled. Which means they are likely to be talking to potential clients of yours. Ideally every time they sign up a new client you need to be increasing your profile with that client. Perhaps you could give them a free tax review?

Website designer

A website designer tends to get involved with a client when they are either starting up a new service or offering, or getting to the point where they are having to be serious with their business. At these points they may need more assistance from their accountant. That accountant could be you…

What other strategic partners are great for accountants?


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04th May 2012 22:44


Agree with what you write, every firm should think about getting these associations.

The firms should be picked with care as long term partners of your business and they should have the same ethics, approach to client care as you do.

Personality is also important.

The good thing about these alliances is the repeat introductions both ways.  Can be the best source of work next to word of mouth referrals.

I would add one more to the list.  Have another firm of accountants, or more if necessary.  It ias always good to provide an option to the clients that you dont want to service through lack of resource / expertise in certain areas, or just plain gut instinct.

Jason Dormer

Seahorse (UK) Ltd - For accountants and bookkeepers

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