Business owners regret not speaking to an accountant
Our recent insight report, in association with ACCA: ‘Why SMEs won’t pay for business advice – and how to change their minds’ revealed that 63% of respondents said they regretted making a business decision without speaking to an accountant first.
This leaves the business community wide open to making decisions that could cost them dearly.
Where do they go to get their advice?
Our research found that 61% of respondents listed their accountant as their main source of advice – so far, so good. But that leaves 40% getting advice elsewhere.
These respondents said they turn to business forums, peers and social media.
More regulated and credible channels such as financial advisors and banks also appeared but they were lower in the list compared to the number of respondents who seek unqualified advice.
Those relying on peers to offer advice leave themselves vulnerable to making costly mistakes. This is an issue that needs to be addressed – but also one that presents an opportunity.
What’s the opportunity?
If prospects are seeking advice on forums and via social media, that’s clearly where you need to be.
Being visible and present (posting and commenting regularly) on those platforms means you will be where your prospects are when they need you the most.
Building a profile on a reputable forum means you have an audience hungry for information – and you have the expertise they’re after.
The same goes for social media. You need to be part of the conversation, build up your profile and demonstrate your expertise – even if there’s no immediate reward.
All that work will position you as the go to expert so that, when the day comes that they do need help, you’ll spring to mind.
What advice are they after?
We asked our survey respondents what their top challenges were. The majority selected cashflow (45%) as their number one challenge, followed by late payments(42%) and crisis recovery (37%).
When it came to one-to-one interviews, business owners were looking for advice that they believed accountants couldn’t offer.
One respondent said:
I have had business advice before but never from an accountant. The sort of advice I’m looking for is how do I find clients, how do you grow the business, how do you get more work in? How do you sell and market yourself?”
I can see how this business owner might consider traditional accounting services quite distinct from this type of advice.
I also know that many of our clients do both, with a strong preference for offering high-value advisory services.
This is where educating the buyer comes in – helping them understand how you, as an accountant, do more than just accounting. You’ve helped businesses grow and are a strategic thinker, not just a compliance manager.
For example, you can help them understand whether their business has enough cash to invest, or when to hire. You can help them with the quality of their data, how it flows through the business and if they have meaningful management information to make decisions.
Getting this message across means telling the story, marketing yourself and providing proof.
By using case studies you can demonstrate how you’ve helped businesses like them grow through the services you offer. Blog posts can show off your expertise and thought leadership. Longer, more detailed guides and eBooks provide the opportunity to dive deep on a specific challenge your ideal clients face.
The role of marketing is to help educate the buyer. They don’t know what they don’t know. You have to fill the gaps in their knowledge and connect the information together to demonstrate you can help them with their most pressing business challenges.
As our research shows, business owners regret making decisions without speaking to an accountant first, but are also going elsewhere for guidance.
It’s in your interest to be where they are going so you can present your expertise and services, help with their business problems and save them from costly mistakes.
It’s not easy, and it’ll take time to build up your profile, but once you get there, you’ll reap the rewards. Many of our clients average 22 enquiries a month from their marketing activity – well worth the investment of time and energy.
Download the full research report for all the insights and practical tips based on our experience, so you can start connecting with clients and demonstrating the value of your advice today.
If you want to talk about how we can help build your profile through marketing get in touch 0117 915 0420 or email us at [email protected]
Mike Crook, managing director, PracticeWeb
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