Simple, because client dependency on accounting professionals has increased. But work pressure isn’t the only challenge that is affecting the accounting industry. The increased work pressure has triggered a conditional loop wherein accountants are caught in the mid of a low client retention rate. On top of all this, streamlining accounting work while working from home is an added burden that accounting professionals have to manage.
Let’s go back to the good old days when Accounting professionals were living a simple life. Clients were paying on time, collaboration wasn’t limited to Zoom calls, furlough wasn’t even a thing and the accounts seemed to be pretty much straightforward. But things have changed drastically, following the arrival of the COVID-19. As businesses continue to suffer, the client retention rate for accountants and accounting firms is becoming a challenging factor.
But losing existing clients is never an easy pill to swallow, especially during these times when landing new clients is an even tougher task. Apart from paying clients, existing clients also act as no-cost “word-of-mouth” marketers for a business. Undoubtedly, client retention is the key to growth for accountants. So, how exactly can you lock in your clients for the lifetime of their business and beyond? Let’s explore.
Don’t be just a means to an end for your clients:
Accountants and accounting firms that are more focused on data-processing tasks that are seasonal rather than core accounting tasks tend to see a low client retention rate. These low-yield tasks can always be outsourced (discussed below). In order to increase the client retention rate, accounting professionals need to offer more value to their clients if they are to build long-term relationships with them. Reviewing your client’s business needs is what’s needed, and working towards the same is a step forward that every accountant should focus on.
Overtaking advisory for your clients:
Following up on the earlier point, clients need trusted advisors more than they need number crunchers. Yes, tax preparation, payroll management, and bookkeeping are vital tasks, but the global economy is in tremendous transition (especially in the UK) owing to the pandemic outbreak. And in such situations, accountants need to take over advisory roles for their clients. Clients are eagerly searching for that additional value that great accountants bring in with them.
Leverage Technology to enhance Data Analytics skills:
“Data will talk if you are willing to listen.”– Jim Bergeson
This has become the reality of today. Data represents all the information, but sitting down to extract information manually is foolish. Accounting professionals need to upgrade their skill sets (many are already doing so) and lean towards data analytics skills. But in doing so, they need to leverage technology. Technologies like advanced Excel skills, R, Tableau, etc. are some handy tools that accountants need to rely on more.
Focus on the retention of high-value clients:
No wonder high-value clients bring in the most profit. Accounting firms and practicing accountants should focus more on such clients since they not only bring in profit but also serve as long-term business partners. They can also add more credibility to your portfolio, thereby increasing your overall market value.
Outsourcing is a wise choice:
Coming down to the final point, the client retention rate is directly correlated to the things that accountants either don’t do or are unable to do for their clients. In the first point, we have explained how accountants need to expand their domain from just data processors. Here we will shed some light on how outsourcing is a wise choice that accountants need to leverage in order to deliver additional value to their clients.
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