How to raise your accounting fees while exceeding client expectations

Written by

anshal@thinklittlebig.com

The accounting industry today is more competitive than ever. Modern customers expect highly specialised services tailored to their exact needs and designed to bring in results.

With increasing global connectivity, they will not hesitate to employ international accountants if local ones do not meet the mark.

Under these circumstances, how does your accountancy practice stand out and attract high-paying clients? There is no easy answer to this – you will just have to offer the kind of service and industry know-how that no one else in your niche can match.

In this blog post, we offer some best practices for you to apply so you can charge higher accounting fees:

1. Consider choosing a specific niche

Given the sheer number of skilled accountants, focusing on one niche such as advisory accounting or any specific industry such as startups or e-commerce or even farming, will help you attract the most relevant clients and raise your rates as a specialised service provider.

For example, the accounting needs of the legal industry are very different from those of the retail industry – and within the legal industry too, corporate law firms will need to treat their books differently from criminal law firms.

When you choose one niche, you can invest in acquiring the skills and industry insights to know that niche inside out, optimise the service you provide, and charge higher accounting fees.

2. Price according to value

Most accountancy practices start by charging on an hourly or project-based model. As you gain experience, however, it makes sense to shift to an accounting pricing model where you present the value that the client will get from the project.

While this may lose those clients just looking for a good deal, it will eventually allow you to attract clients who care about tangible results and charge them higher accounting fees.

3. Have a look at your costs

A relatively easy way to improve your profits is by optimising your overhead and accounting costs. Take a look at your ledger and identify any inefficiencies in your spending, such as unnecessary software subscriptions or expensive furniture that rented pieces could replace.

You can also consider hiring an accounts outsourcing company like Stellaripe to reduce your staffing costs without compromising work volume and quality.

4. Do not underestimate the personal touch - Humanise it

As businesses grow, they will inevitably find it harder to have as much personal connection with their clients as they used to. And yet, retaining that personal touch is critical if your accountancy practice is to truly be the kind of partner your client can lean on.

While having a formal communication system is okay for the most part, think of ways to add an authentic human connection, such as by writing a note by hand to each client at the end of the year to thank them for their business.

It is less time-consuming than one might imagine, and it makes a big difference to how your client perceives you – and makes them more willing to spend that extra bit to pay for your accounting services costs.

5. Involve your clients more actively

An excellent way to build client rapport is to move beyond the traditional dynamic where you simply tell your clients why their books are the way they are.

Instead, you can invite them to events where subject matter experts explain new rules and regulations that will affect their business or where you give them a personal behind-the-scenes look at the process that goes into how you prepare their books.

You could even ask them to offer feedback on their experience with you, emphasising your commitment to making that experience as positive as possible.

6. Harness the power of advanced integrations and automation in accounting

While many accountants have already made the pivotal transition to cloud accounting software like Xero and QuickBooks, the future lies in optimising these platforms for greater efficiency and precision via:

  • Robotic Process Automation (RPA): Implementing RPA can automate repetitive tasks such as data entry, invoice processing, and reconciliation. You can not only reduce the possibility of human errors but also free up your team’s time for more valuable, client-centric activities.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML): Integrating AI and ML capabilities can help in predictive analysis, detecting anomalies, and offering tailored financial advice. For instance, AI can anticipate cash flow patterns and advise clients on potential investment opportunities or financial pitfalls.
  • Integrated ecosystems: Utilising a holistic ecosystem approach ensures that all your tools and platforms communicate seamlessly. Instead of maintaining datasets on multiple platforms, an integrated ecosystem consolidates data, offering a single source of information, which reduces time spent toggling between platforms and guarantees consistent data across all systems.

7. Invest in the sales side of the job

This is more overlooked than you would imagine, but it is vital to closing deals and charging higher accounting fees.

You need to have a streamlined sales funnel and a team of highly trained and motivated staff members who can talk to prospects, convince them that your firm is the one for them and nudge them to a conversion.

If you feel like you could use some assistance here, consider investing in a sales coach who can guide your team through the essentials of researching the client, conversation, presenting a product, convincing the listener and so on.

Remember – knowledge matters, but you need to convey that your knowledge is the right fit for the client!

8. Invest in online marketing

Again, this is an often-overlooked area but a necessary one if any accountancy practice is to make a mark in the digital age and justify charging higher accounting fees in the process.

You do not need to have the most aesthetic website around, but you do need to make sure that it is clean and easy to navigate, contains all the information a client needs to know about you, is up-to-date, search-optimised and comes with clear CTAs

Once you have revamped your website, set up Google My Business and run paid search ads targeting your ideal clients to build up a flow of leads – and as you grow, hopefully, your online marketing will be supplemented by happy clients passing the word on.

Over to you

In conclusion, these are uncertain times for all of us, but by focusing on the core essentials – strong industry knowledge, excellent execution and top-notch client experience – you will prove yourself to be an accounting firm worth investing in.

Your clients need to know that they can trust you completely, and by investing in things like streamlined cloud-based processes and the personal touch, you can show them that you are worth their time and money.

If you are looking for an expert outsourcing partner, look no further. Sort out your workload woes with the help of our experienced staff cost-effectively. Get in touch with us today.

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