Opportunities in Bloom: Uncovering Midyear Client Opportunities
by Terri Eyden on
By Lauren W. Prosser, Director, ProfitCents Professional Services
Spring is a time of optimism, so it's a great time for accounting firms to look for fresh opportunities to grow the business. Following are five ways accounting firms can "fertilize" existing efforts in order to jump-start business and grow deeper, stronger roots with clients.
1. Train your team. Do firm members truly understand the specific value provided by each of your service offerings? How do you assess their ability to communicate this to clients (scenario role playing, observation, etc.)? What tools do you have in place (cross-functional teams, opportunity maps, etc.) to facilitate cross-serving/selling efforts? Learning and development efforts around pairing client needs with opportunities to offer solutions must be a priority.
2. Incentivize staff. Why not provide an incentive to reward staff who identify opportunities to expand your reach within your client base? Doing so will reinforce the importance of continuing to make sure that client needs are met and expectations are exceeded. Remember, incentives can take many forms:
- Inclusion and Expansion. Bring the staff members into the engagement. Broaden their exposure to noncompliance-based offerings and provide an opportunity to interact with a manager or partner with specific expertise and experience. This will help to build new skill sets while reinforcing the importance of evolving alongside your clients.
- Individualized. One size fits one. Allowing firm members to establish incentives around what motivates them should correlate to greater buy-in and sense of ownership in the initiative.
- Alignment with career goals.
3. Explore channels. How do you reach your clients? Excluding the obligatory planning meetings, exit conferences, engagement letters, etc., what recurring means of connecting with your client base are in place? How do you measure their effectiveness? Remember, "one size fits all" isn't the best approach. To improve your ability to offer targeted communications, consider grouping your clients together by commonalities, such as needs, services provided, industry, stage in the business life cycle, and size.
4. Ask questions. Your ability to ask purposeful questions, to actively listen to your client's responses, and to adjust your actions accordingly is the new competitive advantage. The moment you stop asking questions, you stop learning. The moment you stop learning, you start losing. For a list of questions to ask your clients in order to initiate a "discovery process," e-mail us.
5. Build context. For your staff, help them understand how their efforts align with where your firm is looking to go and how you're looking to grow. For your clients, help them see how your resources, expertise, and additional offerings directly provide value (as the client measures it) and facilitate their ability to achieve their goals, capitalize on their opportunities, protect their assets, etc.
By training your team, incentivizing staff, exploring new ways to reach clients, asking purposeful questions, and building context, your firm will uncover midyear opportunities to serve your clients more fully and more fruitfully for the rest of the year.
About the author:
Lauren Prosser is director of Sageworks Inc.'s ProfitCents Professional Services, a team of specialized consultants providing partner coaching, small group coaching, and firm strategy construction services to accounting professionals throughout North America.
You may like these other stories...
Liberal groups object to bill barring taxes on Internet accessThe Internet Tax Freedom Act hasn’t been a controversial bill. In fact, it’s so popular that senators are seeking to pair it up with a far more...
A link a day (on average) keeps the doctor away.AWEB Forums What business management theories work well in your business?Going Concern Groundbreaking Study Discovers Big 4 Partners Tend to Be Hardworking, Male, and...
House votes 277-130 to extend tax breaks for charitable givingBy a vote of 277-130, the House on Thursday passed legislation to extend tax breaks for charitable giving that expired at the end of last year. The bill is the...
Upcoming CPE Webinars
We can’t deny a great divide exists between the expectations and workplace needs of Baby Boomers and Millennials. To create thriving organizational performance, we need to shift the way in which we groom future leaders.
In this presentation Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA revisits the Excel feature you should be using, but probably aren't. The Table feature offers the ability to both boost the integrity of your spreadsheets, but reduce maintenance as well.
In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom helps beginners get up to speed in Microsoft Excel. However, even experienced Excel users will learn some new tricks, particularly when David discusses under-utilized aspects of Excel.
FRF for SMEs Series--Measurement and Disclosure Principles for various Consolidations and Business Combinations, Part 4B
This webcast will focus on accounting and disclosure policies for various types of consolidations and business combinations.