A few years ago, it used to take our accounting firm anywhere from 30-60 days to onboard a new client. We made a goal to beat that.
Over the last two years, our firm has whittled our onboarding process down from 30 days to seven. It’s taken a lot of time, effort, training and even risk, but we’ve distilled onboarding into a series of documented processes, templates and checklists. We’ve even redefined our business to accommodate a quicker onboarding process. Here’s how we did it.
Step 1: Identify your niche
When we started Xcelerate Business Solutions, we worked with everyone from builders to lawyers to nonprofits. We couldn’t regiment processes across our client base since different businesses needed different onboarding processes. Focusing on a specific niche, however, has allowed us to sell our expertise and build efficiency within the firm, and we like that approach.
Our business coach from Crankset Group agreed we should focus on a niche but also advised against rushing into a decision. He argued it was essential to understand what drew us to a specific niche. This approach appealed to us. We gathered data and paid attention to how we felt working with different types of clients, both for- and nonprofit.
We got our final answer from our mission as a firm: “Helping Families Thrive.” Greg had been a pastor, and we had both helped found and set up a church in Seattle, Washington (referred to in the industry as “planting” churches). We believe in giving back to the community and helping other families excel. For this reason, we focused on churches. We understand their business from the inside out and appreciate what they want to accomplish.
Turning away that first for-profit referral was scary. However, focusing our efforts on churches has allowed us to hone our skills and refine processes that work better for us. We can now fit our clients’ needs in a way we couldn’t if we tried to be all things to everyone.
About Jessica and Greg Daley
Jessica and Greg Daley are the co-owners of Xcelerate Business Solutions, an accounting firm started by the couple to help pay the upfront costs for the adoption of their children, but ended up becoming a way to support the whole family and allow for healthy-life balance. The firm focuses on helping small businesses and churches invoice, reconcile accounts, budget and plan.