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How to Retain and Grow Client Accounts

May 7, 2021

With COVID-19 wreaking financial havoc across most industries, it’s unsurprising that a majority of accounting firms are putting client retention and growth in the spotlight for 2021. 

Acquiring new clients is important, but it’s worth pointing out that it’s usually much cheaper to retain clients than to recruit new leads. Even a slight increase in your retention rates can lead to a significant increase in profits.

In this article, we will explore various strategies you can implement to retain clients and grow accounts.

But before we dive in…

What Does Client Retention Mean?

Simply speaking, it’s a company’s ability to maintain long-lasting relationships with its existing clients. If a company is experiencing high retention rates, it means that its clients are not “defecting” to other competitors, while low retention rates could be a sign of a larger problem.

Satisfied, long-term clients are worth their weight in gold, as they can increase the credibility and visibility of a firm through word-of-mouth testimonials. Therefore, it’s essential to have a retention strategy in place. Continue reading to find out how you can boost your client retention rates and achieve growth in 2021.

How to Find Clients for an Accounting Firm

Here are four ways to help you acquire and retain clientele:

Go Beyond the Call of Duty

An accountant’s role has changed significantly in recent years – even more so since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. With increased digitalisation and a shift in expectations, clients are no longer looking for an annual bookkeeper, but a trusted adviser who can help them weather any economic storms. It’s no surprise then that 76% of accounting professionals expect most of their revenue to come from advisory services in five years’ time. 

Providing ongoing support to clients and helping them in their decision-making processes could see your churn rate diminish (i.e., the rate at which clients leave). Why? Because you’re positioning your firm as an essential commodity for your clients. This allows you to build long-lasting relationships on a foundation of trust and support. 

Cresco Accounting, INAA member in UAE, Philippines and Seychelles, is just one example of how accounting firms have expanded their offering recently to adapt to clients’ needs. By taking on a supportive role and providing guidance, it’s consolidating its relationships with clients and adding value to its services.

Embrace Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is critical for accounting firms when maintaining client relationships. Despite this, being risk-averse has meant that professionals in the industry have fallen behind in adopting new technologies. Clients, on the other hand, have not. 

Tech-savvy individuals now have higher expectations than ever, as they can use accounting software to keep their books in check via their smartphone. With more demanding clients, retention can be difficult to achieve. However, thanks to technological advances and the ability to automate tedious tasks, accountants are better equipped to meet these modern expectations.

Hopping aboard the digitalisation train can also lead to highly engaged clients, , improving retention rates. Embracing new technology trends is a win-win for everyone involved – clients benefit from greater convenience and efficiency, while accounting professionals can increase productivity and focus on the growth of their business.

Invest in Your Employees

The average employee turnover rate for accountants is higher than most other industries, which can harm client retention, given that clients value relationships with people, not companies. They want to see familiar faces in meetings so that they feel understood.

If employees are constantly coming and going, it can be difficult for clients to build meaningful connections, leading to diminished trust. So, investing in employee retention is critical. Sobell Rhodes, founding member of INAA, puts a great deal of emphasis on employee and customer satisfaction, and by doing so, it managed to achieve a retention rate of 98% in 2016.

There are many ways to boost your employee retention rates, such as providing ongoing training and rewarding success. Regardless of how you do it, maintaining quality talent should be a top priority in any client retention strategy, since it all boils down to happy workers, happy clients.

Personalise Your Communication

Communication has never been so simple, and most companies now place huge importance on connecting with their client base through articles and newsletters. Although, you can take this one step further by adding a personal touch.

Clients don’t want to feel like just another name on a mailing list or a number in the books. By going the extra mile and personalising your approach, you will build deeper, longer-lasting relationships. It’s as easy as asking how they are at the beginning of a meeting or taking an interest in their lives outside of work. 

By getting to know who you’re working with, you will be able to identify their values and needs so that you can provide high-value customer service. It doesn’t cost a thing, but it could be the difference between a loyal client and one that disappears into the void.

Gain Insights with Client Surveys

The best way to find out what your clients are thinking is to ask them. However, it can be uncomfortable to offer feedback in a face-to-face situation. With surveys, your clients have the anonymous freedom to let you know how you and your firm can improve. 

Surveys are also useful to determine a firm’s Net Promoter Score, or NPS. It measures how likely your clients are to recommend your company to others and gauges overall client satisfaction. By uncovering both your loyal and detractor clients, you can adjust your customer service and reverse the possibility of churning.

It’s important to mention that receiving negative feedback is not the end of the world. In fact, it can be a blessing in disguise. By detecting your firm’s weak points, you can dedicate more time to continual improvement and work towards 100% satisfaction rates. That’s all that matters at the end of the day.

Stay in the Loop with INAA

INAA is an International Association of Independent Accounting firms, established over 25 years ago to facilitate cross-border business.

Here at INAA, we understand how quickly the world is changing. Our association is committed to overcoming new challenges and meeting client demands through collaboration and communication.

Join today to stay up to date with the latest industry updates and keep your firm moving with the times.