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How to grow an accounting firm

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Last editedJun 20222 min read

The UK is known for its entrepreneurial culture. This has expanded rapidly over the last few decades thanks to the internet. It burgeoned over the course of the pandemic as people looked to find ways forward. Now, the UK probably has more entrepreneurs than ever before. That means this is a great time to grow an accounting firm. Here are three tips to help.

Define your market

In general, you need to dig down before you can grow up. With accounting firms, there are two main ways to achieve this. You can either become sector experts or key resources to businesses in your local area. Work on growing your business through one of these specific channels. Once you’ve expanded as far as you can or want to, move on if you wish.

Defining your market can also help to boost your marketing efforts. Knowing your market gives you a starting point for determining where and how to reach them. For example, if you’re targeting digital creatives, then social media should probably be a high priority. By contrast, if you’re targeting established trades, then established trade publications could be a more effective option.

Regardless of your market, you should almost certainly have a website and a LinkedIn profile. Also make sure that both are of as high a standard as you can make them. This is particularly important for your website. Ranking organically in search results tends to happen with time and care. This means you need to look after your website carefully: you cannot just cram it with content right before a marketing campaign.

Commit to improving your business processes

The more time you spend on everyday business admin, the less time you have to work on growing your accounting firm. This means that elimination, automation and delegation should be high priorities. In other words, you should make it a habit to check your business processes to ensure that they still have meaning.

If they do, check that you are undertaking them in the most effective way possible. This generally means that you should automate as much as you can. Then delegate as much as you can of the tasks you can’t yet automate. These days, automation can go a lot further than just basic tasks such as sending email auto-responses.

For example, you can set up repeating invoices in accounting software (e.g. Xero). These can then be automatically charged through GoCardless and then automatically reconciled in Xero. This may only save a small amount of time per invoice, but over time those savings really add up.

Likewise, delegating non-core tasks to freelancers often makes financial sense as well as practical sense. Freelance rates tend to reflect how long it takes a freelancer to complete a task. A specialist freelancer will almost certainly complete a task more quickly than a non-specialist. This means that using freelancers is often more economical than trying to perform tasks yourself.

Help your clients improve their business processes

Helping your clients improve their business processes can benefit your business in all kinds of ways. The most obvious one is that it helps your accounting firm to become a go-to resource for them. Many businesses, especially SMEs, are very well aware of the need to optimise their processes as much as they can, but they just don’t know how to do it.

As an accounting firm, you are well placed to advise them on anything related to financial management. Fill your website (and socials) with general tips for SMEs. Also consider offering more tailored assistance; for example, you could run periodic live webinars or offer consultancy packages.

The less obvious benefit is that helping your clients to improve their business processes can also make your life a lot easier. For example, logging onto your client’s cloud-based accountancy package is a lot simpler than having to figure out spreadsheets and shoe-boxes of receipts. The less time you have to spend to get the results your clients want, the more clients your accountancy firm can take on. 

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Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help

Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help

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