In 2015 I wrote an article introducing the idea that our clients are becoming more sophisticated. (TA90 ‘The Key to Building Profitable Client Relationships’ If you’re looking for proactive steps on responding to this trend, make sure you take a look at the article too.
This year I want to look closer at this evolution and identify some business opportunities it creates.
Clients want more
For several reasons, our Clients have grown to want more from accountants.
- Technology has changed accounting, and our clients have grown to expect better ways of doing compliance. This means they also want you to be developing and implementing better ways for yourself so they can learn from you.
- Respond by helping clients with automation.
Click here to read how we helped a firm grow their fees and gain time for their partners by implementing an automated solution.
- With faster and more accurate information they want to understand the business numbers better so they can make better business decisions.
- Respond by offering services such as cash flow improvement and business performance monitoring. These been very successfully sold to clients in 2015 and this will continue in 2016 & 2017.
- Clients are looking for support with their strategic direction.
- Respond by working out how to offer your clients wealth and business growth products. These are still the highest sought after services from clients, and are the reason why coaching and Financial Planning industries are experiencing huge growth.
Clients spending habits have changed
Over the past twenty years I’ve noticed some big changes in the way accounting clients are spending their money.
- Clients have become more informed and look for evidence of what your services will do for them, as opposed to what you do. I know it’s a cliche, but your clients have been heavily marketed to about what accounting software can do for them, eg. why it’s faster and easier to use.
- Key takeaway: Accounting firms using service offerings (packages approach) are finding their clients more open to upgrading their level of service. They are also are willing to spend more on value add services above and beyond these packages. As an added bonus, these accounting firms are getting larger profits from the processes and systems development that enable lower average labour rates.
- Clients are breaking down their bigger/longer projects into bite size chunks, ie SME businesses are preferring shorter term contracts that are more project completion driven.
- Key takeaway: Accounting firms that have created products are getting higher uptake from clients than firms that use the fixed price agreement approach.
- Clients are more aware of gaps in their knowledge and are seeking more education and training. This means they will pay for services that make their lives easier and help them do more of the processing work.
- Key takeaway: Firms that have launched into automation seminars and training packages and business improvement training are reaping the benefits of better educated clients who will buy more services from them.
The Biggest Opportunity is still available to you
Firms need to move now in order to get on the front foot of our clients buying habits.
One of the biggest areas of opportunity is to ensure your services are clearly defined so clients an understand them, and can easily buy them.
Questions to determine if you are taking maximum advantage of SME Client Buying Behaviours
- Is your average fee per client growing?
- Are clients buying additional services from you?
- Do your clients understand what you can do for them?
- What has your firm done to match the changes in client buying habits?
- Do you have a transition plan to create value add services revenue streams?
If you are not maximising the opportunities here and growing with your clients the way you wish to, I can help you make this happen.
Your plan to maximise Value Add Service revenue streams
The right plan is crucial to creating and successfully implementing additional revenue streams.
A successful plan will enable you to:
- Create a structured approach to your growth instead of trying to grow by ad hoc tactics implemented on the fly
- Get clarity on your growth goals and what is required to achieve them
- Get focused on the areas of most opportunity in your business, so you know you are working on the right things
- Get certainty that your clients will buy and your team will know what to do
You can experience the freedom of a process that worked for me and is currently being used by other firms around Australia, simply by taking advantage of a complimentary 45 minute call with me.