Young Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) often find it difficult to make a name for themselves. It takes years of practice, luck, hard work and many satisfied clients before you achieve some sort of notoriety.
Moreover, with so many CPAs all looking for clients it can become competitive. Making the extra efforts can help you set yourself apart from others in your industry.
Here is what you can do to stand out among other CPAs and build a name for yourself in your chosen profession.
1. Get a Website
Many accounts forget the importance of being searcheable online. One of the first things that you need to do once you get your certification is to buy a domain and a web hosting service. If you do not want to hire expensive web developers, set up a simple Word Press website. Make sure the website includes contact details, your credentials, and your area of expertise, and ensure that all this information is easily visible on the website. It also helps to set up a blog and write articles about what you know, as that helps increase the chances of being found in web search results.
2. Establish Your Brand
It is important to establish your brand, not only online but also in person. Items like your logo, colors, and tagline should all be consistent across all platforms. This includes letterhead, business cards, and envelopes. Branding is tied into how your business is perceived, and it is tied into providing a quality customer experience. If they see a website that looks well put together, or if they have a business card that immediately reminds them of you, this can help them remember you over your peers. This can either be done by hiring an agency that can assist you with professional branding, it can also be done organically by you.
3. Rent a Nice Office
Your office is part of the customer experience. Having a nice-looking office in a satisfactory location shows your clients that you are professional and organized. This helps to convey to them that you are credible, serious about what you do, and that you are also successful. While most accounting projects take place online, it is still important to have a physical office, as many clients prefer to talk face-to-face. Invest in quality furniture and decorations, and arrange your office in a minimalist and clutter-free manner.
4. Offer Customer Support
It is very important to treat your clients well, and that includes making sure that there is always somebody available to receive calls. When your customers call, it is always important to have someone available who can answer the calls, schedule appointments and provide basic customer service. While a live receptionist is a great option for providing support to your clients, it can also be costly. A virtual receptionist is outstanding alternative. They can be available to your clients 24/7 and they can help you to set yourself apart from your competition.
5. Hire an Assistant
It is simply not possible to engage in administrative work, and also help your clients with all the accounting that needs to be taken care of. Hiring an assistant will free up responsibility and allow you to spend your time being productive in other ways. It is easy to hire an assistant, but it may not always be easy to afford to pay an assistant’s salary until you are financially established. A virtual receptionist will help you fill the gap, and will double up as an assistant who takes calls, schedules appointments, and answers basic inquiries.
One of the best ways to stand out among other professionals is by becoming a thoughtful leader. When you share the knowledge you have accumulated, people will begin to respect you and find you more credible than your peers. Share your knowledge on your blog, attend conferences and participate in discussions, write an ebook, or hold offline events that help people and businesses to gain knowledge about taxation, accounts and other subjects at which you might have expertise.
7. Entertain Your Clients
Once you find long term clients, offer to entertain them. You could invite them all to dinner, or for a small get together in your office. While everyone may not be able to attend, there may be some who can and they can use the time to network or get to know you and your business better. This is a win-win situation. Clients who manage to find more business at your get-together will likely recommend you to others as well. Most importantly, even if nothing comes out of it, such events help you to build personal relationships with your existing clients, and reduce the chances of them seeking other CPAs.
8. Engage in Lead Generation
Last but not least, you need to actively work toward finding new leads. Use social media accounts such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, all of which can help you find potential clients. Engage in discussions on LinkedIn groups, and begin to maintain a record of prospects. Contact them regularly and try to convert them to leads. Lead generation exercises need not be elaborate and can be as simple as maintaining a record of possible customers and following up with them regularly.
Focus on Marketing and Automation
Other than the tips mentioned above, begin to invest in automation and productivity tools. While these tools may seem expensive in the beginning, they will help you to become more productive. This will eventually helps you to increase your income and get back the money you’ve invested. If you cannot purchase expensive automation tools right away, you can at least begin with a virtual receptionist service that will help you to offer better services than your competitors. Technology and marketing will help you to stand out from other CPAs and make you more successful.