Services Businesses Want (but are not getting) From Their Accountant

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One of the first professional hires many small business owners make is a bookkeeper or accountant to help them handle their payroll and taxes. What most accountants don’t realize is that they are the most under-utilized asset in a small business. They are in a position to proactively advise their small business clients beyond payroll and taxes and help them assess their business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT). The power of the third party is important, and this is a great way for accountants to make themselves and their clients more money – while differentiating their services from other accounting firms.

Research shows that companies who actively plan, track against that plan, and pivot based on market response, will grow 30% faster. Don’t you want to be the accountant who is known for helping your clients grow faster and more strategically? By offering proactive advising services you can become the hero.

The Sleeter Group has done a study two years in a row asking small business owners what they want from their accountants, and the following service areas have grown year-over-year:

I want my CPA/accountant to offer me:

This data presents two clear opportunities:

  1. Gain new strategic clients: The small businesses who have yet to chose an accountant/CPA are seeking services most accountants don’t offer, so jump on this opportunity and position yourself and your firm more strategically.
  2. Increase revenue and relevance with existing clients: Knowing your current clients want and need proactive advising services gives you an excellent opportunity to expand your services and test-out new pricing models, like value-based pricing for example (get paid monthly for ongoing services you provide to your clients).

Take action – don’t get left behind

Make a list of all the services you currently provide to your clients, and see if any of the ones listed above are in your portfolio. Ask a handful of your clients if they’d be interested in paying for these services. It’s important not to sell the service as it’s named above, rather sell them on the benefit of the service (see below):

Get certified as an Expert Advisor

Adding credentials to your practice will help you not only win new clients, but increase your confidence in your ability to win new clients. LivePlan offers free (for a limited time) certification where you can also gain 2 CPE credits. Click here for more information and upcoming dates. Learn how easy it is to offer the services listed above to your clients, including how to market and price these services.

Caroline Cummings
Caroline Cummings
An entrepreneur. A disruptor. An advocate. Caroline has been the CEO and co-founder of two tech startups—one failed and one she sold. She is passionate about helping other entrepreneurs realize their full potential and learn how to step outside of their comfort zones to catalyze their growth. Caroline is currently executive director of Oregon RAIN. She provides strategic leadership for the organization’s personnel, development, stakeholder relations, and community partnerships. In her dual role as the venture catalyst manager, Cummings oversees the execution of RAIN’s Rural Venture Catalyst programs. She provides outreach and support to small and rural communities; she coaches and mentors regional entrepreneurs, builds strategic local partnerships, and leads educational workshops.
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