Another tax year had kicked off and now more than ever accountants are playing a major role in the lives of many business owners in the South East.
A new study by The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has found that some 55,960 new businesses have been set up by entrepreneurs in the South East!
Between 2016 and 2017, the South East accounted for a large number of businesses, with 15.3% of the UK total. The growth of businesses was only higher in London, which accounted for 18.9% of total growth in the UK.
Following the announcement by ONS, small business specialists, TaxAssist Portsmouth, have reported a 30% YOY increase in the number of local businesses approaching them for help with filing January tax returns. Given their astute understanding of accounting and tax laws it is not surprising that accountants are best placed to be trusted business advisors.
Businesses in the South East, just like across the UK, will need proactive advice on using technology to improve efficiency, help choosing cloud technology and apps, and streamlined processes to report transactional data and keep it up to date. This is the opportunity to provide assistance. Below we have summarised a few key points to help you find new quality clients in the South East:
Know your target clients better
To understand what your new clients should be like, you can probably segregate your existing clients into A, B and C, with A representing the great clients, B the average ones, and C the not-so-great.
Think about the factors that determine what a great client looks like:
- Are they easy to deal with?
- How much total revenue you generate from them?
- How profitable are they?
- Do they refer you to other such great clients?
- What are their payment schedules like?
- Do they have the know-how to work on the cloud?
- Do you enjoy working with them?
These are definitely not an exhaustive list of questions. There may be other factors you need to consider. The important thing is to understand what you ideal clients should look like before you take them on board.
Expand your services
For accountants, it’s not enough to offer just compliance services. The demand for business performance and strategic advice is increasing. New technology is making tasks more efficient and in some cases completely automating them. It’s time to reinvent the profession and commit time to advising clients on the best course of action for their businesses. Create a client filter list based on the ideas listed above and develop a menu of services that can attract new business and increase revenue.
Invest in upskilling
Technology is changing the world as we know it and accountants require continuous upskilling to stay current. In order to serve your clients better, learn how to use cloud accounting tools to improve efficiency in your practice. Importantly, move your firm’s accounts to the cloud. Lead by example!
Ask for referrals
You need to work proactively to generate referrals. Don’t take the ‘pause and plan’ approach. Ask your best clients to spread the good word about your firm. Add testimonials on your website. Incentivise referrals by launching a rewards program. Get in touch via LinkedIn for introductions, recommendations and endorsements. Collaborate with non-competing businesses who have a similar clientele like yours - write guest blogs for each other.
Network more effectively
Breakfast clubs, seminars, and other such networking events are still vital in the digital age. Face-to-face events create opportunities to meet new prospects. When attending, remember to network with businesses who serve other businesses. Find out more about the attendees before you go. Think about how your practice can add more value to the potential clients you meet at the events. Always meet the key people and follow-up afterwards.
It’s will be easy to capitalize on the boom in the South East if you take a genuine interest in understanding your prospects’ businesses and the problems they face. Use the steps listed above to find them.