There’s no escaping that accountancy clients’ have very different expectations of the CPA firms they choose today compared to a few decades ago.
These days, clients are more likely to choose an accounting firm that demonstrates empathy, a social responsibility, and an ability to move with the times. Additionally, a shift in business reporting provides opportunities for accounting firms to help clients make sense of how their operational practices impact people, communities and the planet.
CPA firms must nurture their credibility by demonstrating these qualities and establishing themselves as leaders in clients’ minds to ensure long-term success.
In this article, we discuss why credibility is important in leadership, and how CPA firms can market their accounting services to build credibility with clients.
Establishing your CPA firm as a market leader starts with building a brand that people see as trustworthy and an industry authority. In most cases, people judge your credibility by comparing what you promise to do with what you actually deliver. Leaders who don’t deliver on their word lose authenticity and trust that's essential to establish your firm as a leader in the marketplace.
Clients also judge your firms’ credibility by looking at your ability to act as a leader, by confidently handling their accounting needs and professionally helping them weather any financial storms that may emerge. People have always been nervous when it comes to money, and with the pandemic throwing us into unchartered territories, your clients expect you to know what to do. While it’s not possible to have all the answers in this ever-changing environment, demonstrating confidence and empathy is key to building credibility with your clients.
Additionally, leadership also involves creating a work environment that fuels productivity and makes employees feel valued and supported. A true leader doesn’t march ahead, leaving the pack behind –– they walk behind the team to make sure everyone follows. Building an encouraging, positive and inclusive company culture is critical to increase efficiency and build a strong reputation with your clients.
Building credibility with clients is crucial to your CPA firms’ success in today’s competitive and global marketplace. Here are four steps to building a credible brand for your firm:
Formality is almost an industry-standard in financial services, and the sector is well-known for its jargon-filled language. Most non-finance professionals will shy away from this complicated and intimidating communication style.
One of the most effective methods to build credibility is to show your firms’ human side. Challenge the status quo by swapping the stiff and complicated language for a friendly, light and professional tone.
Choose a specialisation
Specialisation helps your firm stand out and build credibility by showcasing your expertise in a particular area. Like the common expression suggests: “if you try to reach everyone, you’ll reach no one”. Once you define your niche be sure to demonstrate your firms’ proficiency on your website, social media, advertising and marketing.
Remember that clients don’t want to pay for services that don’t solve their issues, so be honest about what services you provide. Give them the whole, unvarnished truth, and let your prospects decide if your services will work for them.
Share your expertise
Sharing your expertise is a key building block to creating a credible CPA brand. Actively seek to share your knowledge and resources with prospective clients looking for exactly what your firm offers. Speak to current clients about their most pressing needs and problems and focus on providing information that directly solves those problems.
Another way to build credibility with clients is to communicate and behave in a consistent manner. Live by your values and stick to your chosen approach to present your firm as a confident partner and reliable service provider.
To achieve long-term success, you must market your accounting services efficiently to attract the right clients. Here are a few examples of highly effective marketing tactics that many CPA firms forget about:
- Partnerships — Partnering with businesses local to your clients such as legal offices, investment brokers or recruiting offices are an excellent way to get your name in front of more clients. As they say, “there’s strength in numbers”.
- Online presence –– Accounting firms tend to gravitate towards more traditional marketing methods, but establishing a strong online presence is key to reach the modern client. Digital marketing campaigns can be strategically tailored to the unique needs of your accounting firm and your target market. Increase your online presence with a professional and welcoming website and by networking with partners, existing clients and prospects on social media. Blogs and content marketing help you build trust and credibility by sharing your knowledge with your target audience.
- Referrals — Word of mouth is one of the most effective ways to grow your business since people are more inclined to trust a CPA firm that someone they know recommended to them. If you succeeded to build trust and brand credibility with your existing clients they won’t hesitate to refer you to friends and family. There are also ways you can ask for referrals without being too obvious about it, like adding a note on your invoices or including it in your email signatures. You can also include incentives to encourage existing clients to refer others to your firm.
Upsell or Cross-sell — Upselling new packages or upgrades to your existing clients is a great marketing method many firms overlook that you can do in casual conversations, client meetings or in presentations. Be sure to highlight the benefits your client will experience if they take advantage of the offer, like better service, more reliable data or improved productivity
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