Imagine you are at an accountancy conference along with dozens, maybe hundreds of accountants from other practices or who run their own firms.
Now imagine I have asked you to look around the room at those other accountants and to indicate whether you feel that you are in any way special and different from most of the other accountants you can see.
When I do this at conferences it is very common for only a few hands to go up. I appreciate that some people simply do not like putting their hands up, but the implication is always quite clear. And wrong.
Firstly the common instinctive view that accountants are all pretty similar is more a function of confusion.
It’s NOT that accountants are all the same. It’s only the outputs you create (eg: accounts and tax returns) that are the same, near enough, regardless of which accountant produces them.
And secondly, I have spoken with hundreds, possibly thousands, of accountants over the years. Everyone is unique. You have different backgrounds, experiences, values, interests and styles. Your different clients, colleagues, personalities and approach all mean that your clients should see you as distinct from other accountants.
Of course if you keep all this hidden, promote yourself poorly and simply process the paperwork with little client interaction, it is no surprise anyone sees you as being interchangeable and easily replaceable.
It’s up to you whether you want this to continue.
If you fail to take personal responsibility for changing people’s perceptions of you and your firm you risk more than simply being seen as interchangeable.
- You will fail to build a distinct personal brand.
- This will reduce the prospect of you being Remembered, Referred and Recommended.
- You will reinforce the reasons you feel invisible, forgettable and left behind.
- You will be seen as just another accountant.
- You will be overlooked and will miss out on opportunities.
- You have to work harder to promote yourself, your practice and services.
Here’s another way of thinking about this. Imagine you swapped house keys with a neighbour and walked into each others’ houses. Would your families notice? Of course they would. Surely your clients notice the difference between you and other accountants too.
Many of the accountants I have worked with are now better able to explain the differences that their clients experience when they start working with them. Can you do this?
Do you talk about those differences in your marketing and promotional activities – when networking, on your website and in your online communications?
Here are the promised six ideas to help you clarify and communicate those differences:
- Next time you speak with clients who appointed you after switching from another firm, ask them what differences they have noticed. Make a note of the words and phrases they use when they reply.
- Ask a friend to take an objective look at your website and that of 2 or 3 similarly sized accountancy firms elsewhere in the country. If you remove your name and that of your location from your website, how much of the remaining content is interchangeable?
- Think about what you could say that will help visitors to your website notice and remember you as distinct and attractive as compared with other accountants. It’s not all about movement, images or novelty. Those things may grab attention but may do little to stop you being seen as interchangeable.
- Ensure your website content features and focuses on YOU and your colleagues rather than gives the impression that this is just another interchangeable firm of accountants.
- Focus your promotional messages on the differences and value that your clients appreciate rather than simply on what you do.
- Be clear as regards a key business or client focus (niche) that you especially want to attract – rather than trying to promote yourself as being all things to all people. If you do that, you’ll be doing the same as the interchangeable accountants!
You don’t have to work on this sort of thing alone. Accountants who choose to work with me value my supportive, non-judgmental and hands-off NED-style mentoring. You’ll get valuable guidance, advice, and insights on the issues that matter most to you and tailored to your specific needs and goals.
Being a sole practitioner accountant requires a diverse skill set to overcome challenges and achieve success. What got you here may not be enough to enable you to survive and thrive as we go forwards. That is why ‘now’ could be the time to get in touch – while I still have capacity to guide and support you.
Let’s talk – without any obligation. Book a time that suits us both now >>>
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