EA, Owner 1st Step Accounting LLC
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Considering Profitable Opportunities for Your Firm

Firms often struggle with figuring out ways to increase profits and, upon chatting with other firm owners about this topic, (especially after the year we’ve had) what surfaces most often is the idea to “just find new clients.” But this is not always the best answer.

Nov 4th 2020
EA, Owner 1st Step Accounting LLC
In association with
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Looking for “new services” instead of looking for new clients has been an avenue I’ve used in my firm to increase revenues year over year since inception. With this year being truly new terrain for us all, largely due to the pandemic, we must be more resourceful than ever to increase the bottom line.

Here are a few ideas on creating new revenue streams in your firm that will hopefully outlast COVID-19 and beyond:

1. Examine Your Customer Life Cycle

What is your typical customer journey? Examine the entire business life cycle of your clients, not just their life cycle with your firm. Dive deep into every aspect of their business, from initial registration to retirement or sale.

Ask yourself, “are there any steps along their journey I can help support?” For example, if your firm only offers bookkeeping now, will you be willing to help manage the company’s payroll in the future when they hire employees? Analyzing those decisions now, will allow you to be prepared when the conversation eventually arises.

Upon doing the research for my firm, I discovered my ideal client starts as a DIY software user. Because I know this, I created paid resources to help educate and train how to best DIY.

I’m not changing their typical behavior, but I am anticipating their business needs and providing resources along their way. Not only does this help the customer, but it also helps my firm. The customer gets their needs met at a cost they can afford now, and I've created a better pipeline by preparing them when they can afford my services later.

2. Answer Those FAQs

Review the questions you get asked frequently and consider building a product that provides the answers. An e-book or a prerecorded webinar that can be purchased on your website is a great solution to bring in passive income and save you time. Reclaim your lost minutes by allowing these products to answer questions you get asked day-to-day freeing you up to perform the job you actually got hired for.

Do some digging to not only look at questions you get asked by your current clients and leads, but also find questions your potential customers are asking online and build a product or service around solving their pain points. For example, we can safely assume there will be tons of questions surrounding the Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness.

Think about crafting a video series to walk them through how to calculate their forgiveness amount. Because you and I both know all the PPP recipients do not currently work with a financial professional and will need tons of help to decipher the forgiveness application. 

3. Avoid Mistakes

What are the biggest mistakes customers make before they hire your firm? If you haven't figured out by now, I'm a big fan of solving problems. Another way to discover opportunities to earn more revenue is to look at problems your customers face that you can aid in solving.

Maybe there is a specialized Zapier automation you created for your niche, combining the power of two individual applications. Leverage your expertise into a profitable solution for sale, via a specialized template or series of step-by-steps instructions. Not only will you be filling a gap but, you will also be filling your pipeline with clients that are primed and ready for your service.

4. Consider Selling Your Process

Previously, I mentioned creating and selling templates. This is a real way to leverage your expertise into a passive income stream. You’ve already done the work and tested your process in real life application, so why not share the step-by-step process with our industry colleagues and financially benefit? 

As a paperless firm I set out to create a tax organizer that was truly web-based that could be completed using a smartphone or a computer. It took me a ton of hours and some trials and tribulations with my clients, but I finally got the process down and the kinks all worked out.

Now, I sell this template to other tax pros via a link on a website that accepts payment and delivers the template automatically. This process has generated thousands of dollars to my bottom line this year and requires none of my time now that I have automated it.

5. Collaborate

Musicians do it all the time, so why can’t accountants? Have you considered partnering with other accountants or tax professionals who offer services you may not offer in your firm?

Personally, I work with a few bookkeeping only firms for tax preparation services. This partnership works well because they are providing me with a good working set of financial statements and they know their client’s tax return is being handled by a true professional. Our working relationship has strengthened both of our firms, because at the end of the day the clients are getting their needs met through a network of trusted professionals all on one accord. 

A collaboration such as this also works with complementary services, such as insurance agents and/or financial planners. In addition, knowing how hard this year has been on all of us makes building a partnership a no-brainer to create additional referral streams and leverage the power of our professional network. 

6. Listen to That Voice Inside Your Head

Ok, this one is more about taking risks. We all have some type of service or product we want to create and sell but life gets in the way. I call this your passion project.

Usually we make excuses to ourselves about why we haven't gotten this done yet, but mostly it's due to fear. Instead of allowing fear to take over and robbing the world of this amazing resource, build some time in your schedule to work on this project, so you can share it with the world sooner rather than later. 

Personally, I'm a big fan of the Passion Planner which is a paper planner that is centered around working on your goals. What I learned using this planner is that what I schedule actually gets done, so when I have a project I want to work on I create blocks of time in my daily calendar (around my main priorities) to bring these things to fruition.  Whether it's 30 minutes or an hour each day, I focus on a task that brings my project to life so that I can share it with the world and hopefully earn some extra revenue in the process.

Conclusion

Reading through this list I hope you now have some options to grow your bottom line. Remember solving problems is always a great base for determining additional services you offer in your firm and grow your bank account balance in the process.

Intuit Accountant helps tax and accounting professionals make a meaningful difference in their clients’ lives with our industry-leading software — Lacerte®, ProSeries®, ProConnect™ Tax Online and QuickBooks®. Visit intuit.com/company for the latest news and information.

 

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