New entrepreneurs can look to the future with keen optimism. Today’s technology can empower small- to medium-sized business (SMB) owners with tools that were previously only available through intermediaries. Consequently, this makes starting and running a small business cheaper.
But how does this affect small accounting firms? Will they survive in this climate of DIY bookkeeping?
The truth is small, up-and-coming accounting firms can leverage the same technology SMEs use to improve and grow. They also can thrive in an increasingly digital world.
The following guide will explore a few tips to help small accounting practices not only survive but prosper:
Turn Your Services Into a Product
Accountants and accounting teams traditionally have billed clients using an hourly rate. But things are changing. For example, we have seen how SMEs have begun to partner with accountants to help develop their businesses. This is only a single example of how accountants have redefined their relationships with businesses.
Another way is by changing your monetization or billing strategy. Instead of offering your services as services, you should consider offering them as products. Instead of per-hour billing, you can offer your services as recurring subscriptions or one-off packages—similarly to how cloud accounting software is priced.
You can base the cost of your products on the size of your clients, ensuring SMEs and individuals would be charged the least.
Mass digital adoption has shifted the marketing game. Your small accounting practice’s decision to deviate from the traditional billing model would be seen as innovative. It would set you apart from other accounting practices while maximizing your profits and ensuring you have repeat clients.
Automation is Your Friend
We’ve already discussed how modern technology nurtures DIY for small and medium-sized companies. One way it does this is through automation. Your team and staff should dedicate themselves to complex tasks while embracing automation for repetitive jobs.
This will make scaling your company easier as you will not have to hire unnecessary additional staff.
Automation should start with the software you already use. You can use automation to update your software, collect data, and respond to messages and emails. Many cloud accounting applications already offer built-in automation features for expense and receipt tracking, invoicing, tax filing, etc.
But since there is no one-size-fits-all solution to automation software, your firm should monitor and identify which tasks are repetitive and can be performed by a bot.
Refine Your Marketing Strategy
Many accounting firms take marketing their services for granted, but word-of-mouth is still considered the best form of advertising. You can take advantage of it by launching a referral program.
If your clients and customers are satisfied with your services, they will be willing to spread the good news.
A referral program is only one practical component of a larger digital marketing strategy that should include webinars, comprehensive social media marketing, and search-engine-optimized websites.
Mass digital adoption has shifted the marketing game. Your small accounting practice’s decision to deviate from the traditional billing model would be seen as innovative.
However, you should stay mindful of your social and marketing identity. What makes your firm different? Who are you?
The first tip in this guide discusses how your billing strategy can become a part of your firm’s identity. You can further this by releasing unique content that offers insights that only your firm can. This could mean written content like blog posts or creating short videos on platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and TikTok.
Leveraging the Cloud to Scale Your Small Accounting Practice
If you have not already, you should consider converting your accounting firm into a cloud-based one. Statistics suggest that cloud-based accounting practices attract at least five times more clients than their traditional counterparts.
Cloud-based firms are easier to scale and far more sustainable, which is why smaller practices tend to benefit the most from leveraging the cloud.
As you are migrating your practice, it is important to understand your purpose as well as your target market. Again, you will need to recognize which tasks and features will gain the most from automation and cloud migration.
Migration will require a carefully outlined strategy—it is not as easy as it reads on paper. You should record and document the entire process and partner with a cloud migration expert to make things easier for you.
Fabian Sandoval is an HR analyst for small and medium businesses with considerable experience. He recently launched his copywriting career sharing his insights on employee productivity and streamlining company-wide projects. He specializes in simplifying mundane HR tasks and providing solutions to problems that often pop up in a remote work environment.
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