Here we look at how accountancy firms can grow and diversify their services during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
Above and beyond
Times are tough, and accountancy firms need to stay ahead of the game. This means finding new and innovative ways of providing top-drawer services, attracting new clients and ultimately growing to compete. But what steps should you implement for maximum impact - and where should you start?
In this article we look at 7 effective ways to grow your accountancy practice into 2021 and beyond.
1. Be supportive through the pandemic
This year has been a time of immense stress, worry and financial hardship for businesses. Your clients will have turned to you for a range of financial, tax and sometimes even emotional support. With the pandemic showing little let up as of yet, 2021 is likely to be more of the same.
Showing your firm to be competent, supportive and sympathetic now will encourage your clients to stick with you when times get better. Not only that, but your reputation will hopefully spread, attracting more businesses to you in the future.
One vital way you can support your clients through the COVID-19 economic uncertainty (besides being a kindly ear to bend) is by fully understanding what government supports for businesses are available at this time. This includes (but certainly isn’t limited to) bounce back loans, self-employment income support grants and much more. We therefore strongly advise accountants to check the government website regularly for updates.
2. Go automated
Automating as many of your everyday functions as possible saves time, money and effort. It also improves the speed and quality of services you offer to your clients.
And of course, in this socially distant age clients are more likely to expect Zoom meetings - not having to rock up to your office. So make sure video calling is set up and your staff are au fait with using it.
3. Don’t be tempted to lower prices too soon
With the economy struggling, you may well find clients are asking for a reduction in your fees. Yes, this might make sense sometimes but avoid making it a first resort.
Instead, it’s well worth considering the actual tasks you complete for each client and see where corners could feasibly be cut. Could you temporarily swap out certain services for more relevant services for example, without changing the price?
4. Offer something unique
Choosing an accountant is a big decision for a business. Some will like to use local accountants for example, whilst others will plump for firms with particular specialisms. However, with many people now working remotely, clients are able to select a firm many miles away from them. So you need to stand out from the crowd.
Figure out what makes your brand unique - and shout it from the rooftops. Perhaps you’ve won the British Accountancy Awards two years in a row, or you specialise entirely in SMEs. Distinguishing yourself above your competitors and backing your brand up with the right marketing strategy or niche can help you gain (and retain) new clients.
5. Be flexible with your payment terms
Clients looking for a reduction in your fee might actually have a cash flow problem, rather than an issue with the fee itself. Being flexible and pragmatic here is key.
If a client is unable to pay a 50% down payment on a particular service, consider reducing it 25%. If full payment is going to be a struggle within 30 days, offer 60 or 90 days instead.
Helping in this way shows you care, and that you’re in it for the long haul. Yes, your own firm’s cash flow may be affected short term. But in the long run it will build and grow your practice.
6. Recruit - and retain - the best talent
Choosing employees that have the highest technical ability and that fit well into your firm is essential. It’s one of the more effective ways of reducing staff turnover and offering the best service to clients. Additionally, having the idea team – both in terms of individual and wider structure – will help keep you competitive.
7. Offer more services
Businesses are facing a wider variety of challenges than ever. With this in mind, accountancy firms that offer an ever-increasing range of different services are far more likely to survive, thrive and grow long term than those that don’t.
Clients are increasingly expecting a more personalised service, where their accountant knows their business inside out. Smaller businesses and start-ups also expect advice on how they can grow successfully, especially against the backdrop of COVID-19.
Many firms are therefore working with outside partners in order to offer additional services like R&D Tax Credit claims. Working with us at Tax Cloud specifically means you can provide a more diverse array of support without adding even more to your workload. It really is simple - just refer your client and claim your referral fee.
Partner programmes are extremely popular, but choosing R&D tax relief specialists to work with can be tricky. Taking a look at our recent blog How Myriad Associates Can Work With Both Clients And Their Accountants Remotely might well help at this point. There's also our piece: What Makes Tax Cloud Different From The Full Myriad Service?
How the Tax Cloud portal can help your accountancy firm flourish and grow
The accountants’ area of the Tax Cloud (devised by the expert R&D funding advisors at Myriad Associates) allows you to check your client’s eligibility for R&D Tax Credits before making a fully guided claim. It’s a scaled down but highly professional (great value) way of helping claimants gain the essential R&D funding they deserve, offering a bespoke service throughout the application process. And of course, the specialist R&D team at Myriad Associates are also available if you need any advice along the way.
We only deal with R&D funding, so you know that by partnering with us you’re giving your clients the high quality experience they expect.