8 Things Accountants Can Do To Project A Fresh, Professional Image
Nowadays there’s far more to being a good accountant than simply having all the right qualifications. Projecting a clean, professional image is equally as important, not only for gaining new clients but to retain existing ones too.
The most polished accountancy firms should be regarded by clients as incredibly precise, with a huge amount of up-to-date practical knowledge and a sharp eye for detail. After all, even the smallest of mistakes can have massive implications.
But what other things can accountants do to make their firm more attractive to prospective new clients in particular? Here we take a look.
1. Offer a high level of competency
This one might sound fairly obvious but competency is king - high quality accountancy qualifications backed up with plenty of skills and knowledge. It’s also vital that you’re up-to-date with all the latest accountancy laws and guidelines and undertake regular CDP (continuing professional development).
2. Be flexible
A good, professional accountant will rarely knock off at 5pm on the dot. That doesn’t mean working every hour god sends or sacrificing any kind of private life, but clients should feel that you’re willing to stay longer and get a job finished well. A good level of flexibility and a ‘can-do’ attitude will not only be appreciated by your clients but by your colleagues too.
3. Put the client first
Again this may sounds obvious but it’s easy to overlook when your days are so hectic. Clients don’t want to feel like they’re just numbers, so offer the personal touch. Take time to understand them, as well as the business they’re in and their sector as a whole. Only then can you offer the most relevant and accurate advice regarding their financial affairs.
4. Be accountable and reliable
There’s nothing worse than someone who claims to be a ‘professional’ letting you down. To project a good, professional image, make sure you’re well prepare for every eventually - and turn up on time!
Make promises you know you can definitely deliver and don’t make excuses if something’s particularly challenging. Also, it’s only human to make a mistake sometimes; but make sure you own up to it and take full responsibility. Correct any errors as quickly as possible too.
5. Communicate with clients effectively
Communication is crucial to a good working relationship. Much of the terminology in accountancy will be very familiar to you, but it probably won’t be to your client. Use familiar language as much as possible and avoid jargon.
6. Be knowledgeable right across the field
In order to project a well-polished, professional image, accountants must be knowledgeable in a large range of accountancy areas. Not only should accountants have a thorough understanding of their daily ‘bread and butter’ work, but also have a broader grasp of their clients’ business/industry and the challenges they face.
A good example of this is with R&D Tax Credits. Despite this lucrative government tax incentive having been in existence since the very early 2000s, many accountants still haven’t heard of it. But what are they?
Essentially, the research and development (R&D) Tax Credit scheme is a tax relief incentive programme that rewards innovative UK businesses. Offered by the government, the rationale is that innovative companies tend to be growing companies, which in turn generates more tax take and a stronger economy. The scheme itself provides a source of cash which businesses can use towards creating new products, services or processes, or improving existing ones. It also helps cover the costs involved in recent technological or scientific research activities.
In terms of benefit, companies can claim an average of 33p of every £1 spent on innovation. Claims by SMEs are typically worth an average of £65k, which is a massive amount of money to miss out on!
7. Take the initiative
Alongside being enthusiastic and understanding, it’s also important to show initiative. It gives clients the impression that you’re capable of working independently and can be trusted to be proactive in your work. This is particularly important if you’re an accountant in a smaller firm which is looking to expand its knowledge base and attract more repeat business.
8. Look the part
This one doesn’t sound like it’s so important, particularly in this day and age where appearances at work tend to be more casual. But looking smart and professional, particularly in how you dress and present yourself, is another important part of your firm’s image, professionalism and authenticity. Although it may not always be necessary to wear a pin-striped suit, you should look sharp and tidy. It will enable you to exude an air of respectability and confidence (even on days when you really don’t feel it!). Furthermore, you’ll likely find this professional appearance then extends to the way you do business; the way you interact will clients, write emails and construct documents. You’ll give off a vibe of being organised and experienced.
How far your organisation takes this is of course up to senior managers. A uniform of some kind may be considered, or simply a specific dress code. The office itself should be neat and tidy too, especially the areas where client consultations take place. Go for fresh, modern wall décor and furniture, and of course, make sure you invest in modern IT systems and infrastructure. Large, clean looking spaces are very welcoming and give the firm a professional feel.
Get in touch
Are you an accountant looking to project the most knowledgeable, professional image? Why not find out more about R&D Tax Credits and whether your client might be eligible on the Myriad Associates website. Designed and developed by the Myriad team, there’s also the Tax Cloud portal and calculator for accountants which will guide you through the R&D tax relief claims process.
We are a team of R&D tax specialists, advisors and accountants, all on hand to help with any aspect of your client’s R&D Tax Credit application. Call us today on 0207 118 6045 or use our contact form and see how much your client could claim.