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Cubes showing work network AccountingWEB State of the nation: Finding new clients
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Are you finding it hard to sign up new clients?

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How has the continuing rise of economic pressures affected the landscape for finding and gaining new clients? Molly Macfarlane gains the perspective of the community alongside small, medium and large firms to understand the current state of landing new clients. 

13th May 2024
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One AccountingWEB member, Shamrock, has recently been finding it hard to land new clients and came to Any Answers to gauge whether it’s just their firm or maybe the state of the nation.

“I’ve spent the past few months wondering what’s going on with our growth. We’ve been going for over 10 years as a practice and typically in the past have generated approximately eight leads a month, which would equate to 2.5 clients onboarded. Now, due to our significant investment in marketing, we’re generating around 12 leads a month but we are struggling to land more than one new client,” they said. 

Shamrock continued, “We’re not getting nos, people are just taking a long time to decide, with many saying they will use us as their accountants but not just yet.”

Is it the smaller firms that are struggling or is it something that most firms are experiencing?

Community thoughts

Most of the Any Answer community felt the situation with finding new clients has been mostly unchanged. 

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Replies (14)

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Accountants Northampton
By Shamrock
14th May 2024 07:22

Molly that's a very concise summary of the conversation. At the time I had spoken to many other non accounting businesses and they had experienced something similar. Since then we seem to be getting the sign ups again, I suspect it's because we have a relatively premium price and confidence has returned.

I was chatting to a guy in the sauna yesterday and his accountant charges him £120 a year for sole trader accounts and a return, whereas we're at around £660. He was telling me how bad the service is, but at that price he doesn't feel like moving and he wasn't the right size for us.

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By bigmuggsy
14th May 2024 08:00

My practice is at the point were we’re refusing work, simply cannot take on any more clients. In 20 years of working in accountancy, 14 years being a partner of my own small practice I’ve never know it as busy. Unbelievable.

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Replying to bigmuggsy:
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By johnthegood
14th May 2024 09:26

ditto, we have also started getting rid of some clients this year for the first time in 25 years

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By GTUA
14th May 2024 10:15

Same here, although I have not been in practice as long.

No advertising, totally swamped and still there is a relentless stream of referrals, most of which I am passing on to local associates.

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By Self-Employed and Happy
14th May 2024 09:35

Not hard at all, we've always had a policy of getting rid of 1/2 a year that just aren't worth the bother, whether that be they are always price conscious but want more work or they always are niggly in trying to claim everything and more in expenses or they are wanting to sail too close to the wind in those grey areas.

1 client has properly left us in those 7 years so client retention is unbelievable, anything we can't be bothered to deal with we quote a high price, so either they sign on elsewhere or at least we are being paid very well for something we aren't that bothered doing which makes it motivational in itself.

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By johnjenkins
14th May 2024 10:01

What we have noticed is younger clients moving to "cloud based" (zero etc.) packages and then after a couple of years asking to come back purely because of the cost and lack of business knowledge.

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Replying to johnjenkins:
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By Self-Employed and Happy
14th May 2024 12:21

Why would they leave to try cloud based? I'm confused.

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Replying to Self-Employed and Happy:
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By johnjenkins
14th May 2024 12:34

Pure marketing. Then they realise the grass isn't greener on the other side.

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By Justin Bryant
14th May 2024 11:01

If you were a plumber etc. struggling to find work, most people would say you're doing something wrong (rather than the economy etc. being to blame). I cannot see why the same does not apply here.

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Replying to Justin Bryant:
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By johnjenkins
14th May 2024 11:37

I don't know of any plumber struggling to find work.

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Replying to johnjenkins:
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By Justin Bryant
14th May 2024 12:28

Well, apart from the above person/people, I don't know any accountants struggling to find work (plumbers are perhaps just an extreme example of my above point).

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Replying to Justin Bryant:
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By johnjenkins
14th May 2024 12:37

Nor do I.

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By NewACA
14th May 2024 14:24

I think it likely there is change in the local field of your competiton. Someone has started up recently, is getting high up on Google and under-cutting other firms perhaps. I've seen that before a few times in my area.

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Accountants Northampton
By Shamrock
15th May 2024 07:29

I guess the thing this conversation doesn't take into account is pricing and profitability and the type of client. I've seen quiet a few local firms that were usually more expensive than us undercut over the last year.

We've always charged what we need to, to make sure we can look after our clients and give them the attention they need.

I don't think the other side of the story is being told here, but then again it could be a local issue.

I did stop the telemarketing going forwards and we've managed to convert 4 leads in the last two weeks. 2 referrals, one seo and one from telemarketing.

I suspect things are returning to normal.

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