Should You Offer Larger Accounting Solutions as Your Niche?by
Mid-market clients are not afraid to spend money to implement solutions in order to free up time so they can focus on customers and growing their business. They are also willing to pay for and accept advice to ensure they are making the right decisions.
Growing and complex businesses recognize what future growth looks like and will invest where it counts so they can achieve their goals. These mid-market clients are not afraid to spend money to implement solutions in order to free up time so they can focus on customers and growing their business. They are also willing to pay for and accept advice to ensure they are making the right decisions.
To be clear, or should I say, “unclear,” you should know that there is no set definition of the middle-market or mid-market companies. Some authorities look to revenue, while other sources regard either asset size or the number of employees as the metric. So, research your own definition of mid-market. My definition usually falls under the categories of "growing" and "complex."
Did you know that there are many successful accounting firms that specialize in larger accounting solutions as their niche? Why? Well, businesses that need the features in larger accounting solutions are usually high growth and high volume and have special support or reporting needs. Those types of clients are not afraid to pay a premium for an accountant to be on their team, collaborate with them, and provide high-level advisory services.
Now consider that same business model (niche) for your firm. A little knowledge can go a long way. Become an industry expert in solutions that exclusively cater to the mid-market. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
●Reduced Workload: Do they have high volumes of data entry? Is there a need for delegation of tasks and, therefore, more users? Do they want tools that process transactions in volume?
●Specialized Reporting: Do they need multi-company consolidations or industry benchmarks? Is the client doing lots of work in excel to get the reports they need?
●Training and Support: Can you help your client and their staff avoid guessing and making mistakes and ensure they stay educated?
If yes is the answer to those questions, be a part of their team and help manage their growth.
You should also determine if any of your existing clients need a better solution. Let's not hold our growing or mid-market clients back. When we are not using the right tools, we waste our valuable time on building reports and fixing mistakes. The right solution can increase automation, improve accuracy and speed up productivity. This will free up your time and allow you to add higher-value services.
Consider these opportunities:
- Advisory Reporting Services: Cutting-edge accounting solutions often have amazing analysis and report building tools. However, your client may not know how to interpret them. That's an opportunity for you to add weekly, monthly or quarterly meetings in order to explain the results of reports, such as: budget vs. actual, cash flow, and other custom KPIs. Some solutions will even alert you if cash is running low or AP is overdue. Your rapidly growing client will appreciate someone helping them to know where they are - and where they are going.
- Training: Growing and mid-market clients have unique needs. The basic training provided by software developers may not be enough. For instance, they could be using a POS system and need to be trained specifically in this area. Once your client learns all they can from any training the developer offers, help them with their unique workflows by crafting a customized coaching package for their accounting or sales staff. Most online meeting programs allow you to record the sessions. Consider recording your meeting and charging for access to the sessions.
- VIP Support Services: Once they are trained, consider adding a VIP Support offering for your pre-trained clients. Your VIP clients can contact you as their high-level questions arise. Set up recurring automated monthly payments to collect for your VIP Support service.
You may already have a client ready for a mid-market based accounting solution. Take a look at your existing client list for mid-market indicators. Check for these scenarios:
- Annual revenue increasing substantially
- Needs advisory services to better manage their growth
- Willing to spend money on time-saving devices and software
- Wants to simplify processes
- Could have a family of companies or franchises
- Needs better reporting and insights
- Wants more users and customizable permissions
- Needs custom fields to meet their unique reporting needs
- Uses spreadsheets to analyze information
- Has more than 10 employees and growing
Your mid-market client is experiencing high growth and is willing to pay you to help them with infrastructure, efficiency and key performance indicators that are essential to helping them meet their goals.
Here's the catch: This takes a little work. OK, a lot of work. You need to become knowledgeable in the mid-market solution you choose in order to provide that expert advice. Yesterday's routines might not work for today's or tomorrow’s opportunities. The latest software will be automating tasks, refining workflows and providing other tools that your client needs. But, this is good. Don't fight this. Learn all you can about these new tools. Then introduce your fast-growing client to a new level of productivity. Now, you are valuable again!
Acknowledge the mid-market opportunity today. What you do to face these challenges is what will make you more valuable tomorrow. Keep up the good work!
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Erin is a national trainer for Intuit and educates hundreds of accounting professionals every month for QuickBooks Accountant University, and in 2015 her firm The Bookkeeper's Friend was named a top 20 QuickBooks Firm of the Future by Intuit. Prior to the launch of the Bookkeepers Friend, Erin was a highly sought after instructor for Intuit...