Most of the accountants who approach me start by talking about their problems and what appears to be an immediate challenge. As the conversations progress I am typically able to help them consider the real issues that are causing the challenge that prompted their call.
This is much the same as the way that a decent GP doesn’t just prescribe medication for your symptoms without first trying to find out what is causing them. Indeed, many accountants do this for their clients too. But plenty somehow manage to overlook the need to do it for themselves.
On occasion, the symptoms prompting an accountant to call me are related to a desire to make more money from their practice. All too often this follows after paying someone else to do stuff that hasn’t generated the hoped for return on investment.
Another prompt for some accountants is a growing awareness that their practice is not running as efficiently as they would like.
I should also note that some of my 1-2-1 mentoring clients approached me for other reasons too. I’m always happy to help and to support them where I can. And I am thrilled when we both realise that they have come to rely on that support much as they might value having a hands-off NED supporting them and their practice.
Anyway, as the year draws to a close I have focused this last blog post of 2022 on the 12 ways in which you could make more money from your practice.
As you look through this headline list, ask yourself which of these might warrant your attention in 2023:
1 – Generate more of the leads you want through planned, targeted and effective promotion and marketing (see below)
2 – Take the initiative and approach your ideal prospects one by one
3 – Improve your conversion rate by working on your process and ability to pitch and price your services 1-2-1
4 – Promote and sell more services to your existing clients (some people refer to this as cross-selling)
5 – Encourage existing clients to choose a higher priced and more intense service level than before
6 – Increase the frequency of the services you offer (eg the number of financial reviews or cashflow re-forecasts you undertake each year)
7 – Put up your fees by increasing your fee rates for specific services and engaging your clients so that enough of them agree to the raised rates
8 – Develop, promote and sell fresh services with higher margins than your traditional services
9 – Improve your efficiencies (eg: by adopting new tech, through better organised processes, by sacking clients that do not enable you to make sufficient profit, and/or by motivating your staff to be more efficient)
10 – Reduce your staffing costs (eg by reducing the number of experienced staff you employ, by replacing experienced staff with less experienced staff and/or by outsourcing more)
11 – Reduce your overheads
12 – Speed up the conversion of debtors into cash
NB: Posting content on social media or on Linkedin will rarely satisfy ANY of those 12 objectives. You may have been suckered into thinking that being seen on social media or on Linkedin can help with your promotional and marketing activities. And that (if you do it yourself) it costs nothing.
Maybe. But it’s rarely the best use of your time (or of your money if you pay someone else to do it) UNLESS you are very focused on offering a specific and distinct service to a specific and distinct audience.
Few accountants do this. Hence the reason why few accountants can really attribute any decent new client wins or increased money in their practice to their social media posts.
My advice is to think carefully about where you want to devote your time and energy in 2023.
Start with your overriding objectives. Where do you want your practice to be in a year’s time (and beyond)? What turnover do you want to have – and MORE importantly, what profit? How many clients do you want to be working with? How many staff do you want to have? What do you need to do to get it there? And how realistic are you prepared to be?
If you want more clients, what can you do to get more of the clients you want?
If you want more profits, without necessarily taking on more new clients, what could you do?
And, if you want to have a conversation about your ideas and plans, feel free to book a time that suits us both. There’s no charge and you’ll never be under any pressure to engage me on commercial terms.