What is a business? It is nothing but a group of people serving customers. A business is defined by its customers only, and they are the prime reason for its existence. Any business in the world can face losses and even shut down its operations if its customers keep declining. This is true for the accounting industry, too, where accounting firms compete hard with each other to acquire and retain clients.
Out of the two, client retention holds greater significance since when firms are able to increase retention by 5%, they get to witness a profit increase in the range of 25-95%, explains a study. So, let us dig deeper into the top ways that can help the accounting firms with client retention in 2020.
Top Client Retention Tips for Accounting Firms
1. Personalize Communication
We all know that businesses have a lot of clients to serve and it is very difficult to entertain each and every client. Sadly, the one-size-fits-all strategy does not work anymore as clients seek personal attention from their firms, and this is the only reason clients look for other options when they feel dissatisfied. So, it is imperative that accounting firms genuinely take interest in every client, ask insightful queries, understand specific pain points, and provide appropriate solutions.
2. Automate Messages
Make use of the automated messages in the form of reminders and notifications to let the clients of your firm know that you value them, and they are a part of the everyday process. This one small step will help you in becoming a favorite amongst your customers with the passing of every day. Also, protect their documents through encryption for secure transmission to make them aware of your seriousness regarding their privacy.
3. Leverage Outsourcing
Most of the accounting firms opt for outsourcing bookkeeping and accounting services. This provides them with multiple benefits, with getting their back-office burden managed to be the primary one. Now, you might wonder how this enhances client retention. Well, here is the answer. When you outsource time-consuming tasks, your team gets to save its precious time that can be used to enhance the personalisation of communication with the clients. Apart from this, you save a lot on the infrastructure and workforce, which, in turn, puts you in a position to reduce fees of the clients, increasing retention directly.
4. Upgrade Technology
It is essential to upgrade technology consistently since no accounting firm can today meet the ever-increasing customer demands without technology support. So, make sure you upgrade the technology in your accounting firm in the form of the following:
- Audit and risk support
- Accounting and sales tax software systems
- Expenses, HR, and practice management systems
- Cloud accounting application adoption, integrating with payroll, CRM, and other apps, tax software, etc. for having a unified accounting system
5. Retain Employees
One of the often neglected, yet a highly important factor in client retention is retaining employees first. The reason being clients want consistency, and they like building relationships in the long-term with their tax preparers. They think that a particular individual who has been preparing their taxes for a long time understands them well, and feel comfortable working with him/her. So, accounting firms need to understand the importance of their employees and the value that comes with their presence concerning client retention.
6. Offer Advisory Services
There is no denying that clients hire accounting firms to manage their taxes and other accounting chores. However, in present times, they expect more from their firms. This is the reason most firms have started offering advisory services apart from accounting ones to help clients gain actionable insights into their financial data to aid strategic business decision making, lower expenses, streamline budgeting, increase reimbursements, and more. This is one of the fastest-growing factors in terms of client retention that cannot be avoided at any cost.
7. Beat Deadlines on Client Projects
Client retention is all about impressing and satisfying clients, and there would be nothing better than beating the deadlines on their projects timely. This is not just true for the accounting industry alone but in almost every industry. If a provider is able to serve its clients efficiently before the expected time, it leads to a higher retention rate. So, next time you start preparing taxes for your client or manage his other accounting tasks, try completing it before the deadline, and you will see the results in the long run for sure.
8. Have a Feedback System
Now, let us just face the fact that no accounting firm can be a perfectionist when it comes to satisfying clients. There will be multiple occurrences when firms knowingly or unknowingly will dissatisfy their clients. The only way to not have such incidents impact the mindset of the clients, in the long run, is to have a proper feedback system in place. There is no better way to understand the pain points of clients rather than asking them directly.
So, after you deliver a project successfully, ask for feedback from the client and be very quick to make him realize that you have understood his pain point, and it was the last time he had to go through it. Apart from this, a regular response to the positive and negative feedback of clients on the Internet is imperative as your online presence and the way you handle it have a direct impact on client retention.
Retaining clients is probably the biggest challenge faced by accounting firms, and it is not an option for them but more of a necessity to survive in the present competing times. Irrespective of the size of your accounting firm, the strategies mentioned above will surely help you in boosting your client retention efforts and enable you to stay one step ahead of the competition.
However, firms need to realize that consistent efforts and time are needed to execute each of these strategies. And as we mentioned above, they need to free themselves from managing non-core tasks by joining hands with a top outsourcing provider like Accounting To Taxes.
If you are also thinking about outsourcing your accounting back-office processes, you may get in touch with the expert ATT team (serving clients since 2008) for further assistance. Start a free trial now!