A great accountant can be very hard to find. To have someone who knows the trade backward and forwards, who understands a client or his or her business, and who can combine a keen eye for savings with an attention to detail and commitment to ethics that will keep that client on Uncle Sam’s good side is an incredibly valuable thing. So you would think that individuals and business owners who find great accountants would do anything to make sure they held onto them and would spread the news to others.
And, sometimes, they do! But the unfortunate truth for great accountants (and a saving grace for terrible ones) is that clients aren’t always rational. To a client, accounting can seem like wizardry. After all, they’re not the ones who are experts in balancing books and paying taxes — that what they hired you, their accountant, for. How should they know that you have maximized their legal deductions? And if they move or start a new business, they may or may not remember where you are or how to reach you. Where did they put that business card? Oh, well — back to Google they go.
That’s no good for great accountants. That’s why savvy accountants should remember that, while their work remains the most important thing, that great work should not be the only thing that they do in order to attract, serve, and retain clients.
Branding and the brain
The fact that people are irrational will not be news to anyone who works in retail sales or products. For hundreds of years, customers have shown a willingness to turn to certain brands over others. Sometimes, this is at least a little rational: Customers like knowing what they’re getting, and reliable brand-name products can be worth more if they are truly consistent and excellent. But, in other cases, customers are willing to make irrational decisions to seek out brands that they have seen on TV or have seen friends consuming.
Brands work on the minds of clients and customers. They can be honest and excellent tools for keeping great products and services associated with their makes, but they can also be key advantages in an unfair marketplace. In short, every business should have a brand — including your accounting business.
Personalization and professionalism
Accounting can seem like a rather dry professional to many, but marketing your business and keeping your great work on your clients’ minds in between services are tasks that require a bit of psychology and artistry. Without a logo, business cards, and other personalized branding tools, an accountant will have a hard time getting and keeping clients.
A good accounting business should have a logo and a company name wordmark, and those things should go on networking tools and customer-facing products: Business cards, presentation folders, letterhead, and more. With every turn of the page in your report, a client should be reminded of who and what created this insightful work. Branding matters! A client should be able to reach you easily by checking your letterhead for contact details or Googling the brand name on the front of the folder holding the report they got from you.
This sort of branding can be done with custom printing services that serve businesses of the same scale as yours, explain the B2B printing experts at Mines Press. And getting custom printed materials will give you the opportunity to further personalize and brand your work. Show your clients that you care about them specifically by customizing presentation folders with their brand as well as yours. Customize binders and other materials with the name of your firm and the names of your clients or their representatives. Addressing your work specifically can make a difference and show large institutional clients that their business means a lot to your firm.
All of this is no substitute for great work and attention to detail. But nor is your superior work good enough alone. An accountant’s skill and service is the most important thing, but every accounting firm is also a business — and, like other businesses, it must consider branding, marketing, and everything else that it takes to grab customers’ attention and to keep it.