Mark Lee considers the pros and cons of accountants specialising rather than being a traditional general practitioner.
Four years ago I posed the question: Are you a bog-standard accountant? More recently I was asked whether accountants are more likely to build successful practices if they are generalists or specialists.
Most accountants start out as general practitioners and tend to stay that way as their client base has always been quite disparate. Many of those who specialise do so only because they originally trained in firms that had a specialism.
It is especially difficult for multi-partner firms to focus on a single specialism. What tends to happen is that different partners focus on different niches. Indeed this is another reason for there being so many general practices. Even if individual partners focus on a specific niche, the firm itself cannot claim to specialise.
There are several reasons why focusing on a niche makes it easier to make more profits.
The starting point is that it becomes easier to attract more clients. This is because it is easier for people to recognise when to recommend you. Having a clear focus also makes it easier to attract PR. In simple terms an accountant who has a clear and distinct niche will STAND OUT from the other accountants they and others might previously have seen as their competition.
When you try to be all things to all people you end up being the same as everyone else. Why should anyone recommend or refer clients to you as distinct from the accountant down the street? Why should anyone who meets you remember you as distinct from the other accountants they have met or might meet in the future?
Having a clear focus or niche also helps your ranking on search engines. The key point here is to rank highly for what prospective clients are searching for. Being number one for ‘Accountants in London’ is a tough ask. Being number one for ‘accountant for taxi drivers in London’ is easier. And easier still when referencing more specific areas than ‘London’.
About Mark Lee
These days Mark Lee focuses his business actiities on two key activities:
1 - He loves being engaged to speak on stage to audiences of accountants in all size of firms. His latest keynopte talk is: The rise of Robo-Accountants - and how to beat them. He is an accountancy focused speaker, futurist and influencer with a positive reputation for entertaining, engaging and enthusing his audiences.
2 - He loves supporting savvy sole practitioners who want more out of their practice. More clients, more money, more time, more satisfaction - or everything!
An accountant by profession, Mark moved away from the provision of professional advice in 2006. He is now a professional speaker, mentor, author and debunker.
Mark is passionate about helping accountants generally so is a keen blogger and commentator in the accounting and tax press. He has been consultant practice editor of AccountingWEB and has written hudnreds of articles here that have been viewed over a million times.
Check out how he could help you here: www.BookMarkLee.co.uk/savvy
Mark no longer gives tax advice despite being a past Chairman of the Chartered Accountants’ Tax Faculty. He is however Chairman of the Tax Advice Network - the UK's highest ranked lead generation website for tax advisers and accountants. The network also publishes a weekly practical tax update for accountants in general practice and full tax support, on demand too. You can also use it as a lead generation resource for local people seeking tax advice from an accountant.