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If you’re looking for a chance to break out on your own and build your own independent accounting practice, there will never be a perfect time. At some point, you just have to do it. Is this the year that you finally take the leap?
5 Tips for Building a Practice
There’s something freeing and empowering about building your own accounting practice. It’s not easy, but it’s certainly rewarding. So, if you’re going to go through the effort, you might as well do it right. Here are some tips to help you build with purpose:
1. Get Qualified
The first step to build a quality accounting practice is to make sure you’re qualified. Furthermore, this means getting the proper training, education, and certifications to stand out as an authority.
If you’re going to build your own practice, it’s highly recommended that you first secure your CPA license. This will require you to study for the CPA exam and pass. Although it can be a strenuous process, you’ll learn a lot and add significant authority to your name.
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2. Identify a Niche
Trying to go after everyone at the same time is arguably the biggest mistake you can make when launching an accounting practice. You’ll get smashed by established practices that have a lot more to offer clients on paper. So, the best piece of advice is to find a niche and go hard after it.
It can be scary to niche down. At times, it feels like you’re excluding so many possible opportunities and missing out on potential clients. And this may be true…in the short-term. However, if you focus on a well-defined market niche and become a master in this field, you’ll eventually become the go-to practice for that market.
“Potential clients who visit your firm’s website should think, ‘I had no idea there was an accounting firm just for this,’” digital strategist Jay Baron writes. “This focus will help you stand out against thousands of look-alike full-service accounting firms, launching your firm into the future while simultaneously protecting you from it.”
Once you reach this point, you’ll never again have trouble finding new business. You might have fewer clients coming to your accounting practice, but they’ll be of better quality. And, as we’ll discuss below, that’s a good thing.
3. Create a USP
Part of reaching a niche and resonating with them is creating a Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Your USP is what you’ll use in your marketing, advertising, content strategy, LinkedIn profile, etc.
When creating a USP, focus on how you solve the prospect’s need/pain point. Be specific and pointed. This is not a time to use vague terminology like “holistic practice” or “best in the business.” Granular language will serve you well.
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4. Start Small and Focused
Would you rather have ten clients paying $2,000 per month or 50 clients paying your accounting practice $4,800 per year? If you run the math, the revenue is the same. However, almost everyone would agree that 10 clients paying $2,000 per month is better. Why? Because it’s much easier to provide quality accounting services to 10 clients than it is to stretch yourself thin serving 50.
Start small and offer superior service. Invest time into these relationships and go above and beyond. You can eventually scale up and hire new accountants to handle additional accounts, but build your firm’s identity first. Being big isn’t as desirable as it seems.
Spend a lot of time networking for your accounting practice. This includes both online and offline environments. In terms of online networking, Facebook Groups and LinkedIn are great places to start. When it comes to offline networking, try local business groups and/or anywhere your target market shows up. (If, for example, you’re going after local retailers, try getting a pass to industry trade shows so that you can mingle.)
The key to networking is to go in with zero expectations of earning business. Also, come from a place of gratitude and generosity. People will notice that you’re different and relationships will be easy to build. The clients will come.
Putting It All Together
The beauty of building an accounting practice is that you can decide what it looks like. No two practices are the same. So, this is your chance to create something that fits your personality and career aspirations.
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