One of the best ways that you as an Accountant can differentiate yourself from your competition is by adding value to your client relationships.
It will help, not only with winning new clients, but also with developing existing client relationships and laying the foundations to retain these for years to come.
- Understand your client
- Transparency is key
- Under-promise and over-deliver
- Stay in touch
- Embrace digital
- Add more services to your offering
1. Understand your client
Small businesses state that one of their main sources of frustration with their accountants is a lack of understanding of their business. It’s important to gain not just a clear understanding of your client’s business, but also of their personal and business goals.
Simple additions to your service such as client site visits can help you to gain deeper understanding of their business in their environment, and online survey tools are also a cost-effective way of gaining intelligence, that will in turn enable you to offer more value to your clients.
2. Transparency is key
Trusted relationships take time to develop, but the more transparent you are with your processes, the quicker you will be able to build a client’s trust. The goal is to make it as simple as possible for your clients to work with you, enabling you to meet your their expectations.
3. Under-promise and over-deliver
Too often promises are made to clients, and whilst these are made in good faith, failure to deliver on these can cause problems.
Under-promising and over-delivering helps you to avoid imposing unrealistic deadlines on you and your team, whilst helping to create a positive impression in your clients’ minds and ultimately strengthening your relationship.
Top tip: Always try to frame the relationship as a partnership, rather than a single advisor-client interaction.
4. Stay in touch
A recent survey by Clear Books, revealed that some 28% of small businesses deemed communication to be a key driver in choosing an accountant. So, why not reach out to your customers with ideas and information that could help them, without asking for anything in return?
Never underestimate the power of ‘free’ resources – including brochures and printable PDFs. In the age of digital accounting and with a range of online suites available, it’s important to find reasons to get in touch with customers personally, to ensure your relationships flourish.
5. Embrace digital
It’s important to harness technology to create efficiencies and improve effectiveness. Technology can enable you to serve customers more effectively, with many new technologies supporting new business models focused on driving transformation.
Let’s not forget that all the various accounting software business owners love - well, accountants use them too. And, they use it better. Many software companies like Clearbooks, Sage and Xero also offer partnership programmes to accountants that are worth exploring.
6. Add more services to your offering
Another way of adding ‘more to your service’ is by offering a direct source of finance to your clients. Whilst we appreciate this can be a considerable task, there are simple solutions available, such as White Oak UK’s introduce programme, which enables you to provide your customers with multi-purpose business loans to support investment and growth and asset finance options that can easily support equipment purchases.