Hitendra Patil, Author, Accountaneur
Does this sound like some of your conversations?
Mike: “Kathy, I need your help. My staff quit suddenly and I need you to help me with bookkeeping”.
Kathy : “I apologize Mike, but I don’t offer bookkeeping services. You know, even if I did, it might be expensive for you”.
Why do QB Pro Advisors turn away new revenue? Are these some of the reasons YOU turn away new business?
- Inadequate resources, manpower or time to manage new projects
- Not enough automation
- Inability to handle multiple types of work
- New clients and projects different than your core expertise
- No outsourcing partners
- New clients want baby sitting support (and don’t want to pay for it)
- Your priority is to take only high margin / large jobs
- Your waiting list is already long (lucky you?)
- New clients not a right fit
- Adding resources to handle extra workload is much more expensive than the income it brings
How is She Doing It?
I recently met a very dynamic woman from Florida who owns a rapidly growing accounting services firm. She is adding new clients every week (yes, every week!) – all from her “reach out” program. Her success mantra : “whatever it takes”. She actively looks for help when her firm does not have a particular capability a new prospect wants by reaching out in her network and getting what the prospect needs.
How You Can Stop Turning Down New Clients:
Reason to Turn Down New Clients
Questions to Ask Yourself
Inadequate resources, manpower or time to manage new projects
Do you have dedicated “onboarding” / “implementation” champion/s?
Not enough automation
Inability of employees to handle multiple types of work
Is it simply your confidence in them or is it lack of their exposure to multi-tasking?
New clients and projects different than your firm’s core expertise
Was it your conscious decision to specialize in something or is it that you don’t have enough talent in your team to learn new skills?
No outsourcing partners
Trading is the oldest profession and profitable. Can I trade external capabilities?
New clients want baby sitting support
Can you provide them a “turn-key” solution instead?
Your priority is to take only high margin / large jobs
Do you know ways to increase margins in small jobs too?
Your waiting list is already long (lucky you?)
Will the prospects wait long enough?
New clients not a right fit
Just because your firm does not have the resources/specific expertise?
Adding resources to handle extra workload is much more expensive than the incremental new revenue
Can you free up time of your existing resources – using technology, automation, integration?
Are YOU Turning Down This New Revenue?
Pransform interacts with accounting professionals day in day out. Based on the feedback received over the last 12 months, here is the list of “Top 5 Requests” new (and many a times, existing) clients were making:
- Bookkeeping: Many accountants complain that clients’ books are in a mess and they take hours to clean them up – and many of those clients do not want to pay up (reasonable fees) for the clean up. Yet they keep turning down bookkeeping jobs. (Average 2013 National Hourly Rate for General Bookkeeping: $ 64 – Intuit Survey).
- Back Audits: Last 2-3 (sometimes 7 or more) years of accounting data to be audited (mostly not-for-profit clients). These jobs are “detail-oriented”, hence time consuming – but as it has only a “compliance” value, people want to cut down on costs when it comes to spending on the past.
- Software and Technology Consulting: New clients asking for support / services to help them implement accounting software / cloud technologies has been on the rise. And while the knowledge about accounting technologies is good enough, the “tech expertise” required to implement projects is missing. BUT, with more and more uptake of cloud based accounting systems, “software implementation” services volume is going down and consulting demand is increasing. And consulting requires time; more time.
- Asset Accounting and Management: A major concern for many manufacturing companies. Their managements want a “third party” to provide unbiased, real picture. Unfortunately, there are very few software applications that can do asset accounting integrated with tax impacts (hence the need for accountants to apply mind). And, this again is a detail-oriented job; time consuming at least for the first audit.
- Operations Consulting: Tell tale signs of operational inefficiencies are obvious in financial statements and accounting data. Cost-containment is a thriving segment of the market in which some firms operate. Cost-containment and policy improvement opportunities arise from operational consulting capabilities – the more you understand the client business, the more issues you can find in accounting data – not to forget the building of stronger relationship with clients due to more interactions. You just need time on hand to apply your expertise.
- Converting Referrals into Residual Income: Many a times, QBPro Advisors pass on work that they can’t do it on their own, mainly because of lack of adequate time on hand. If the work is of ongoing nature, such referrals can be turned into regular stream of commissions, unless you have reciprocal referral arrangements with such people. And this is because; you might be saving marketing dollars for those who can do such jobs.
Market will pay what it can bear. Competition defines what the market can bear. Technological advancements define what the market will be. You can only control two critical factors: your own “expert” time and your own costs. So focus on your time and your costs.
Are you turning down new clients – new requests not mentioned in this article? Please share your thoughts. Our network of industry experts can suggest some innovative ways to make every new opportunity profitable for you.
Hitendra Patil is the COO of Pransform, Inc. which serves the accounting profession by providing back office processing and technology solutions for Accounting Professionals.