The worst mistake an accountant can make – and how to avoid it

By |2020-11-20T11:00:12+00:00November 17th, 2020|Accountants, Business messaging and branding, Servicing clients, Sole practitioners|

A journalist once surprised me with a question I wasn’t anticipating: “What is the worst mistake accountants can make when they are trying to ‘close’ a prospective client?” When I later reflected on my instinctive reply I was satisfied it contained good advice. Thinking about the issue subsequently I quickly constructed this

3 questions you must answer before seeking out new clients

By |2020-11-20T14:01:06+00:00October 20th, 2020|Accountants, Business messaging and branding, Marketing and promotion, Referrals, Sole practitioners|

l am regularly approached by accountants who want to know how they can get more clients. They want to know if social media is worthwhile, where to advertise, what marketing activities to pursue, what networking activities might be worthwhile, how to get more traffic to their website and much more - along

How effective is your reply to the question: What do you do?

By |2020-10-27T10:58:28+00:00September 8th, 2020|Accountants, Business messaging and branding, Career development, Conversational impact, Networking, Sole practitioners|

No one has asked me what I do since lockdown started. I've been thinking about how I might reply next time. What about you? What do you do? I think there are 4 standard ways we can answer the question. I know which approach I prefer. What about you? 1 State your

How special and different are you from other accountants?

By |2020-09-07T18:07:29+01:00June 16th, 2020|Accountants, Appearance, Business messaging and branding, Marketing and promotion, Networking, Referrals, Reputation, Sole practitioners, STANDING OUT, Websites|

Back in the days when I was a professional speaker (BC -Before COVID-19) I often asked audiences of accountants to look around the room. And then to indicate whether they felt that they were in any way special and different from most of the other accountants in the room. Typically only a

Generating the business you want without networking

By |2020-11-20T10:00:16+00:00May 20th, 2020|Accountants, Business messaging and branding, COVID-19 related, Marketing and promotion, Networking|

Did you attend networking events before the lockdown? I know loads of accountants don't like the concept. Others do it reluctantly and some actually enjoy it.  The same is true for those online networking events that have replaced face to face events during the lockdown. In my experience you probably have one

Want to add advisory services to your offering? Remember these 4 Ps.

By |2020-11-20T09:33:31+00:00February 4th, 2020|Accountants, Business advice, Business messaging and branding, Future, Marketing and promotion|

Thinking of expanding your service offerings? It doesn't matter whether you want to start providing 'advisory' services, tax advice or any other services. The same rules apply. And if you fail to take these into account you will struggle to make a success of your new 'offering'. If you are going to

Are you undermining your credibility by being too modest?

By |2019-08-20T11:11:24+01:00August 20th, 2019|Accountants, Business messaging and branding, Dependability and trust, Referrals, Reputation, Sole practitioners|

Some accountants I know are proud of how efficiently they look after their own business affairs. Others though are embarrassed at their inefficiencies. And there are some who do not appear to give any thought as to how they are perceived. We all know the old adage that you never get a

How to do better than simply say that your business grows through referrals

By |2019-07-16T09:52:45+01:00July 16th, 2019|Accountants, Business messaging and branding, Marketing and promotion, Networking|

Most of the accountants I meet claim that most of their best new clients come through referrals.  When I dig deeper I find this is typically for one of the following reasons: They remember that their most recent new clients were initially generated by referrals; They don't get many new clients and also

How self confident are you, really?

By |2019-04-30T20:54:32+01:00April 30th, 2019|Accountants, Business messaging and branding, Conversational impact, Experience and expertise, Marketing and promotion, Networking, Sole practitioners|

Do you consider yourself to be a confident person generally? What about in terms of your ability to attract and win over prospective clients? And to keep clients happy and willing to pay you the fees you deserve for the work you do? Whilst many accountants I work with have a fair degree of

Practical solutions for accountants who don’t want to choose a niche

By |2019-02-05T09:52:08+00:00February 5th, 2019|Accountants, Business messaging and branding, Experience and expertise, Marketing and promotion, Networking|

There is no doubt in my mind. The more focused you can be as regards your ideal clients the more chance there is that they will recognise you as an accountant they should approach. And, if you have a clear focus, the easier it will be for other people you know to recognise

What can you do about all the competition from other accountants?

By |2019-01-21T09:20:41+00:00January 22nd, 2019|Accountants, Business messaging and branding, Linkedin, Marketing and promotion, STANDING OUT, Strategy, Websites|

One of the accountants I spoke with recently has been struggling for over three years to build their own practice. Although they had won a fair few clients in year one, some have since moved on. The accountant feels their service is good enough and that their fees were not excessive.  They

Who gets to decide what are your top skills and expertise?

By |2019-01-08T15:12:22+00:00January 8th, 2019|Accountants, Business messaging and branding, Career development, Experience and expertise, Key Business skills, Linkedin|

What are your top skills?  The key question though is not what YOU think they are, but what other people believe you are good at. What do your contacts and connections say when they reference and recommend you? And what do your clients say? A few years ago I had a surprise

Want to attract a different type of client?

By |2018-12-18T09:38:12+00:00December 18th, 2018|Accountants, Business advice, Business messaging and branding, Marketing and promotion, Websites|

When I ask accountants what they would like to be different in their practice, one theme is more common than any others. They frequently express the desire to have better quality clients, to increase their average fees and to be doing more interesting work. One sole practitioner accountant expressed this quite succinctly.

Debunked: Building brand awareness for your accountancy practice

By |2018-10-11T09:49:19+01:00October 9th, 2018|Accountants, Business messaging and branding, Linkedin, Marketing and promotion, Sole practitioners, STANDING OUT, Twitter|

Think about ten top accountancy brands. Or at least the ones you can remember. How many of those do you think your typical client would be able to name - or would even recognise? Once you move outside of the accountancy and finance professions, brand awareness drops off very fast. Even the

What are you really ‘selling’ as an Accountant?

By |2018-09-16T16:44:37+01:00September 18th, 2018|Accountants, Business messaging and branding, Experience and expertise, Marketing and promotion, Networking, Sole practitioners, STANDING OUT, Starting out|

What are you selling as an accountant? This is a simple enough question, and knowing the right answer could make a profound difference to the success of your practice. Let’s start with what you’re NOT selling. As I explained in a recent blog post, You’re not selling your time. And you’re not

What’s the best way for an accountant to win new clients?

By |2019-01-15T09:16:02+00:00September 11th, 2018|Accountants, Business messaging and branding, Experience and expertise, Marketing and promotion, Social Media, Sole practitioners, STANDING OUT, Strategy|

Many of the accountants I speak with ask me the same question. How can they best attract new clients? I will rarely offer advice however until I have found out enough about the accountant, their firm, their services, their likes and dislikes and what they have tried previously. The simple reason is

Are you a specialist or a generalist accountant?

By |2018-07-23T15:56:13+01:00July 24th, 2018|Accountants, Business messaging and branding, Career development, Marketing and promotion, Sole practitioners|

Most general practitioner accountants I talk with (and I talk with a lot of them) are, obviously, generalists rather than specialists. They started out as general practitioners and stay that way as their client base has always been quite disparate. Many of those who specialise do so only because they originally trained

What’s the first thing you need to find out from a new client?

By |2018-05-28T10:29:23+01:00May 29th, 2018|Accountants, Business advice, Business messaging and branding, Starting out|

When you are approached by a prospective new client it is tempting to simply give them what they say they want. Most often this will be a fee quote to help them with their annual compliance obligations. As this area of work becomes more commoditised so you need to distinguish yourself from other accountants.

Lessons for accountants from….. a childrens’ party entertainer

By |2018-07-23T16:42:08+01:00January 16th, 2018|Accountants, Business messaging and branding, Dependability and trust, Experience and expertise, Marketing and promotion, Pricing|

As a teenager, before I started studying to become an accountant, I was a children's party entertainer - and I continued doing this for about 25 years. When I look back I realise that I quickly learned 2 lessons that now, many years later, inform my thinking and advice to accountants. Specialisation I was

Debunked: The one thing you must do….

By |2017-12-12T10:31:22+00:00December 12th, 2017|Accountants, Business messaging and branding, Marketing and promotion, Sole practitioners|

A popular approach to getting your attention (and often your money) is to instruct you that there is 'one thing' you must do. What do they say? Many journalists, consultants and sales people assert that there is just 'one thing' you must do to remain in practice, to generate new clients, to increase your fees or

How can accountants use Linkedin for marketing purposes?

By |2020-11-20T11:02:20+00:00December 5th, 2017|Accountants, Business messaging and branding, Linkedin, Social Media, Sole practitioners|

This was the headline to a question I was asked recently. I have summarised the question below and expanded on my reply and advice as this may help other accountants too. Question How can accountants use LinkedIn for marketing purpose? I have a company page, I have a profile, I am in some groups

Cloud accounting – Do you lead your clients or let them lead you?

By |2017-11-22T11:38:12+00:00November 22nd, 2017|Accountants, Business messaging and branding, Cloud accounting, Experience and expertise, Productivity, Servicing clients, Sole practitioners, Starting out|

This is the first of what I anticipate will become a series of cloud accounting related blog posts. Back in 2009 I disagreed with those commentators who were warning accountants about an urgent need to embrace cloud accounting technology. The alternative, warned these merchants of doom, was that accountants who failed to embrace the cloud

A quick five point plan to secure more referrals for your accountancy practice

By |2019-03-04T18:43:42+00:00October 17th, 2017|Accountants, Business messaging and branding, Marketing and promotion, Networking, Referrals|

So many accountants tell me that most of their new clients come from word of mouth and client referrals. In most cases however this seems to be a function of luck rather than planned in any way. Have you ever thought about how you could make it easier for your contacts to know who would