The main services provided by public accounting firms are the preparation, review, and auditing of financial statements, tax work, and consulting and advice on accounting systems, M&A (Mergers and Acquisitions), and capital raising.
Accounting firms offer a myriad of services that help business owners stay financially organized, tax compliant and that help prepare for business growth. Business owners shouldn’t look at an accounting firm merely as an outsourcing cost for bookkeeping but as an integral business partner.
Outbreak of Corona pandemic in 2020 has literally brought life across the globe to a halt. It has created an emergency situation which is quite unlike anything the world has witnessed in recent memory. Corona scare is still very much a reality in 2021. In most parts of the globe, the restrictions owing to COVID-19 are still in existence and we are almost half-way through 2021.
The most dominant feature of the past year which was overshadowed by the effects of pandemic has been the nature of communication. Across the globe, people have had to make do with staying indoors and within their homes and yet find means to interact with one another.
Like it is with most activities around the globe, accounting industry too has seen tumultuous changes in this crisis situation. As everybody is aware of from personal experience, pandemic has put a brake on interpersonal interactions and face-o-face meetings. So, a lot of communication today is happening online or over the phones.
In just about a year or so, the way people meet and talk with each other has turned increasingly virtual – since we can’t do it in real or in the flesh. In the past year, accountants may have spent most of the time without having met their clients but may have contacted them almost entirely through devices of technology. By the looks of it, the alterations in the accounting business which have been brought about in the pandemic-infected world may be here to stay for a long time to come.
Prevalent Marketing Trends in Accounting Firms
As the probability of interpersonal meetings get fewer, the chances for lead generation too dwindle. Demand generation is the process where a business works towards increasing the demand for its products and services. It is a series of steps whereby the business integrates itself into every stage of customer purchase cycle, from an anonymous visitor to a contented customer, through supply of relevant data.
Creating strategic and well-timed data is one of basic prerequisites in the process of demand generation.
2.Online Brand Awareness
Like any business worth its salt, your accounting firm needs to exist in the digital space. Period. Accounting firms which are rigid in their approach to marketing and don’t change with time are facing the danger of relegated to keeping a low profile and getting left behind.
Creating brand awareness online has to be among the preliminary steps in your marketing plan. It doesn’t happen overnight. Building brand awareness is matter of careful planning and strategy. One of the most effective means by which you can create an image for your brand is through the online options. There are various ways and methods in which you can be present in the online world and some of them are elaborated below.
Your accounting firm needs to possess a well-designed website which is informative and engaging. It goes without saying, visit to a company’s website is the entry point for most transactions that follow. Your website design should leave an impression on the minds of the visitr and also convey all the necessary information about your firm.
You need to keep tabs on your competitors to ensure that your website looks unique and stands out from the crowd.
Accounting firms must make it a point to keep their websites updated and refreshed as regularly as is possible.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, are tactics which ensure that your product or service has a greater chance of being shown up in search results when clients Google relevant topics.
You need to optimize your accounting firm details in such a way that it gets shown on search engines whenever there is a search for accounting products and services in your locality. This can be achieved through the use of right keywords in right ways when you put up information about your accounting firm on the website or other publications on the internet.
5.Emails and E-newsletters
E-mails are one of the most convenient forms of one-to-one communication. E-mails are also a preferred technique of information dissemination and converting subscribers into customers. According to Statista, in 2018, there were 3.8 billion registered email users worldwide. This number is predicted to jump to 4.4 billion users in 2023.
Emails are a great way of lead nurturing and lead engagement. Thus, they act as the first step in converting prospects into clients.
You could build up a email list of subscribers comprising your clients. You could start circulating e-newsletters which inform and educate your clients about the activities at your firm. If such newsletters get forwarded by your subscribers and get circulated among a wider circle of people, there are chances that it might attract new subscribers to your fold and further bolster your database. This is turn may lead to these subscribers getting converted and they becoming your future clients.
In the same vein, you could start a periodical blog which briefs your readers about the work of your accounting firm. It could end up having the same effect as a popular newsletter and attract prospective clients.
6.Social Media Presence
Social media is becoming increasingly popular with people of all ages and the size of community of social media users is burgeoning by the day.
Accounting firms could do well to sign up on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Each of these platforms has its own strong points and accounting professionals need to study them and project their promotional data accordingly. Facebook consists of a generalized cross-section of users and they welcome data with words and images – like new product launches or start of a new service. Twitter is more suited for short, crisp messages like updates and advice on matters of tax and finance. LinkedIn is apt for staying in touch with clients who are professionals and business oriented.
Social media marketing as a strategy goes a long way in building your brand awareness and you never know when and what can convert your “Followers” into consumers.
To keep the information flow going, content marketing is a great strategy. Accounting professionals need to find ways to avoid a lull in their communication channels with clients even during lean phases. You need to identify your target audience i.e. customer persona and formulate your content in ways to appeal to them.
Accounting firms could specialize in preparing video and audio content which are relevant and useful to clients. This is a great substitute for events which demand in-person attendance.
Another way to make up for the inability to conduct programs like seminars would be to organize podcasts, live sessions and webinars. In the pandemic-dominated world of 2020, Cloud-based apps like Zoom and Time were the go-to methods for arranging events which asked for the involvement of a group. These virtual events are ideal ways to keep in touch with your clients and also make up for the paucity of events in the real world.
The methods devised for content marketing in conditions of pandemic are here to stay and are sure to become the norm in the days to come.
Your existing clients are as, if not more, important as your new customers. By constantly keeping your customers in the loop, you show appreciation for their presence and they in turn are sure to continue to do business with you. Also remember, your existing clients are one of the strongest channels for your firm to get introduced to your prospective and future clients.
Clients like to feel that they are wanted and remembered. You would want to prevent all chances of your clients migrating to a different firm because they were unhappy with your services. When it is called for, you need to intimate your clients with the necessary data and information without the slightest delay. This is sure to win your accounting firm a lot of admiration from your clients.
Pandemic-induced circumstances in 2020-21 have made accounting firms realize better than ever before the worth and benefits of client retention.
Activities at accounting firms involve a lot of communication. The restrictions imposed by the pandemic on interpersonal interactions demand that the accounting professionals find new ways to meet and talk to their clients. Thankfully, the digital world has come to the rescue. Consequently, the communication methods via technology have attained greater significance than ever before. In the post-Corona setup, accounting firms may have found ways which may have permanently changed the manner in which they deal with the clients.