Is there room for the new breed of accountants to ride the wave of recession-proof businesses?

15th Sep 2020
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Despite all the challenges 2020 has thrown at us, some businesses have managed to thrive which leads us to ask if there might be an opportunity for a new breed of accountants designed to serve the needs of these recession-proof businesses.

Whether it’s a new line of gym clothing, plant-based food for climate campaigners or edtech with remote teaching in mind, a certain breed of enterprising entrepreneur has shown us all what agility and ingenuity can achieve.

The good news for the accountancy profession is that some practices have also managed to do well in this context – primarily by making smart use of technology.

In fact, some Capium customers are reporting up to 75% return on investment for our cloud-based practice management system while others have remained sufficiently profitable to acquire other practices.

We ask our Clients, what can you do to make sure you have a recession-proof accountancy practice?

Automate everything

If you find yourself repeating the same tasks month after month, or relying on hacks and workarounds, it’s time to get serious about automation.

Whether it’s client communications, invoicing or the movement of documents through the workflow process, the benefits are obvious.

Sure, it might be a big task, but time spent upfront getting your systems set up will save hours in the long-run – and, as the cliche goes, time is money.

But don’t automate for the sake of it, only where the numbers stack up.  Don’t get seduced by clever but unnecessary software that eats into your margins.

Mariah Tompkins, Director of WKM Accountancy Services, uses automation to help her find time to focus on her clients:

“Having used Capium for a few years now, we always make the most of the automation the software provides – and our payroll processing has never been easier.

“The software offers automated sections for workers or directors who are on a set wage each month, eliminating the hassle of manual inputting and freeing up time for us to focus on providing the best service to our clients.

“The reports produced to check automated processes are really useful and user friendly, giving us extra peace of mind, and the automated deadline notifications help us to keep on top of things month to month.

“With a wide range of automation features available, it's just a matter of choosing what you want to set up and which sections of Capium's software are right for you."

Get clients on onboard fast

Once someone has decided yours is the practice for them, you want to get them into the system and paying fees as soon as possible.

The best way to do that, to continue the theme above, is to have a locked-down, systematised onboarding process that provides integrated anti money laundering checks and automation as much as possible. Fees can’t be paid until you’ve covered your due diligence on compliance – and given that face-to-face meetings are still a business risk – it’s worth exploring software options available to cover your risks.

As well as being efficient, this is also reassuring to new customers, providing a slick, professional experience and making the right first impression.

There’s nothing worse than having a client raring to go but in limbo because somebody lost a sheet of paper or forgot to enter the client’s information into your practice management system.

Don’t panic over pricing

It’s tempting in a crisis, when everyone is chasing a dwindling number of leads, to slash your fees and compete on price.

Confident, successful firms don’t do this.

By all means run targeted, carefully thought out special offers or promotions – especially if they’re targeted at leads flagged in the system as needing that extra push.

But, at the same time, if you’re doing more work for existing clients, or more complex work, don’t be afraid to charge what it’s worth. The signal it sends is of confidence in the value of your skills and experience.

Market more, not less

Marketing isn’t a nice extra – when leads are harder to come by, it’s a must-have.

You need to amplify your voice in the market, not go quiet, to make sure you’re heard and seen.

A 2015 study by BrandZ looked at how businesses fared in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. It reported that those with a strong brand recovered nine times faster than those without.

Again, automation can help: double down on targeted emails to specific groups of clients and prospects, using your customer database to do the heavy lifting.

If your client data is good, and your systems are well integrated, you won’t even have to spend time and money to significantly increase your marketing activity.

Capium software puts accountants in the driver’s seat. Sign up to join our latest Practice Management demo here.