New Survey Reveals Top Concerns for Accountants in 2015
With the arrival of a fresh year, your accounting firm is likely preparing and strategizing for the business challenges you expect to face in 2015. You’re probably planning your marketing budgeting and attempting to determine which initiatives deserve priority. What are similar firms thinking about and doing this year?
At the Hinge Research Institute, we were curious to understand what professional services firms consider to be their biggest upcoming challenges this year and how they are implementing accounting marketing solutions to address their business challenges. We surveyed 530 professional services firms across a wide range of industries to find answers, and about 17 percent of these respondents were in the accounting and finance industries. The vast majority of respondents were decision makers within their firms and most of the firms represented in the survey brought in less than $5 million dollars in annual revenue.
So, what did our research discover?
Top 5 Business Challenges for Accounting and Finance Firms
Accounting and finance firms identified “attracting and developing new business” as their top business challenge for 2015. This was the same primary issue identified by the collective group of professional services firms, suggesting that business growth is an industry-spanning issue.
Figure 1. Top Business Challenges for Accounting and Finance Firms
The accounting and finance respondents also put more emphasis on leadership and technology issues than other professional services industries, with 33 and 30.7 percent of respondents identifying those two areas as top challenges. This differed from the overall group response. "Leadership" only registered with 21.2 percent of respondents overall, and "technology" didn’t even yield a significant response with the overall group.
Top 5 Marketing Initiatives for Accounting and Finance Firms
Next, we set out to determine what marketing initiatives accounting and finance firms plan on prioritizing to address those top challenges.
Figure 2. Top 5 Accounting Marketing Initiatives
A common theme represented in these top five initiatives is the importance of increased visibility. Three out of the top five address the need for visibility—more visibility for experts, more visibility of services to clients and more brand visibility. However, as important as visibility is, firms don’t have to choose just one marketing initiative to focus on in 2015. In fact, our research showed that professional services firms plan to focus on an average of 5.7 different initiatives this year.
Having a clear understanding of the business challenges that other similar accounting and finance firms are facing can help you plan your firm’s strategy this year. Accounting marketing is an ever-changing field and the most effective marketing initiatives for your firm will depend on the unique challenges you face. Compare our research results with your own personal list of challenges to see how your firm stacks up and ask yourself: how will you work to improve your visibility in the next 12 months? Do you have a marketing plan in place that will address your biggest challenges?
Now is the time to ask and answer these questions for your firm to help set you up for a more productive, successful, and beneficial 2015. With the right plan, you can address your firm’s biggest challenges with smart marketing that works to achieve your goals.
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Lee W. Frederiksen, PhD, is managing partner at Hinge, a marketing firm that specializes in branding and marketing for professional services. Hinge conducts groundbreaking research into high-growth firms and offers a complete suite of services for firms that want to...