Don’t worry, this isn’t another one of those ‘compliance is dying you must sell advisory services’ articles…
I want to look at it from a different perspective.
Differentiating and developing your product or service offering is a strategy used by all kinds of businesses in different industries.
It involves offering a range of different services, mostly to the same group of customers.
Look at Apple for example:
- They started with computers,
- Then they moved into mp3 players,
- And now they make phones and tablets as well
Who knows what their next product might be?
By differentiating their product/service offering they have not only seen huge growth in their company, they’ve also future-proofed their business and protected themselves against competition.
So, what does this have to do with your accountancy practice?
Compliance isn’t dying – but the industry is becoming more competitive.
And just like Apple, you too can differentiate the services that you offer to your clients so that you help them in different ways, safeguard them from competition and also future-proof your practice.
Let’s start by looking at the benefits of a differentiated service offering…
What are the benefits of a differentiated service offering?
Offering a broader range of services can have a number of benefits for your practice and your clients.
Existing clients are more likely to buy
On average, existing clients are 67% more likely to purchase from you than new clients.
And the reason for this is that you already have an existing relationship with them, providing you haven’t done anything wrong…
So, by having a range of additional services to offer, you can get some quick revenue wins from your existing clients, instead of spending time and money trying to win new clients.
Strengthens client relationships
Another key benefit for your practice is that it strengthens client relationships and increases client retention.
For example, if you have a financial services department (or outside partnership) working with your clients to grow and protect their wealth, as well as you doing all of the compliance and accounts work for them, they are less likely to jump ship to another accountancy practice as it would mean moving a greater part of their life over.
And from the client’s perspective, the relationship has been strengthened and more value added because you are helping them in different areas of their life.
New lead-generation method
A final benefit worth mentioning is that you can use your additional service offering to win new clients, and then cross-sell them into the accounts side.
So, using the example of a financial services team, if they were to win a client doing some inheritance tax planning and wealth management work, you could then cross-sell them into the accounts department to do all of their compliance work as well.
Ok, so what additional services can you offer?
I love the concept for accountancy practices of ‘from the cradle to the grave’.
Essentially, helping people and businesses from the moment they start up, all the way through growth and eventually to the point where they sell up or are bought out.
There’s such a variety of services that can be offered – and not all of them go down the ‘advisory’ route. They could be things like:
- Wealth management and other personal finance services
- Business coaching & accountability meetings
- Marketing help & guidance
- Monthly management accounts meetings
- Forecasts and ‘what-if’ scenario planning
Here is an infographic I created last year with 61 different services an accountancy practice can offer to their clients. It came about after spending a few hours brainstorming with a handful of my boardroom coaching clients.
But it doesn’t have to end there. PKF Cooper Parry are a great example of an accountancy practice differentiating their service offering by acquiring other business. Right now they have an IT and technology department for helping their clients with IT stuff, as well as recently acquiring a creative agency who specialise in making apps.
The opportunities are endless.
How do you go about offering these services?
Thinking about offering these services and having the time and resources to offer them are two completely different things.
Most practices don’t or won’t ever have the budget available to go acquiring other businesses, so how can you offer these services to your clients?
Utilising the latest technology and software will help especially with things such as financial forecasts, what-if scenario planning etc. You will still need to train your team on how to use them and also how to deliver the outcome to the client.
And for everything else, unless you can recruit somebody internally, the chances are that you will have to outsource them or form partnerships where you might be able to white-label the service offering as your own.
There are always ways and means of doing this.
Go out and speak to different businesses. Create partnerships that benefit both of you and your clients. It’s entirely possible.
Future-proofing your accountancy practice
I said at the beginning that this wouldn’t be another ‘compliance is dying sell advisory services’ article and it won’t.
It is worth mentioning though that right now the accountancy industry is changing faster than ever before.
Compliance isn’t dying, but it is becoming more competitive.
And one way to future-proof your practice for the years to come, is to differentiate your service offering so that you strengthen your client relationships, increase your revenue and generate new business.
What additional services could you offer right now that you aren’t doing already?
Let me know below…