Churning through more and more tax returns isn’t the only way to grow an accounting firm. Many firms are choosing a more boutique-style growth model, emphasizing premium client experience. Rather than growing the quantity of clients served, these firms focus on providing more services and more profitable services to a smaller number of clients.
Here are a few tips for firms looking to grow a boutique-style accounting firm:
1. Offer specialized services
While it's important to provide traditional tax and accounting services, offering specialized services such as tax planning, financial planning, and consulting can set firms apart and attract more clients. Predictive intelligence technology can help firms identify potential opportunities, while automation can help free up time for more value-added services.
2. Focus on client experience
The most important factor in growing a premium accounting firm is to have happy and satisfied clients. Firms must be responsive to client needs and go above and beyond to provide excellent service. Pay special attention to any client-facing technologies. For example, consider implementing a modern collaboration hub instead of a more traditional first-generation portal.
3. Build a team of experts
As a firm grows, it's important to build a team of experts who can help handle the increased workload and offer a wider range of services. Look for experienced professionals with diverse skill sets who can help the firm grow. Firms can attract the best staff and expand the potential hiring base by offering flexible, remote work situations. Provide staff with ample opportunities to grow beyond tax preparation with self-service tools that help them proactively identify errors and improve their quality of work.
4. Manage complexity
More profitable clients are typically more complex clients. That means boutique firms must be positioned to handle returns with complex tax issues, like rental property, multiple K-1s, multi-state income or foreign income. While many small firms can work effectively with basic tax software, premium firms may need to upgrade their tax software to a package that includes more advanced features, forms and calculations.
5. Leverage expertise
While automation can help firms work faster and more efficiently, it can also improve staff satisfaction by minimizing the monotonous data entry that is often associated with tax work. With data entry largely automated, junior-level staff can become first-level reviewers, learning the ins and outs of job more effectively. Systems with integrated research information provide staff with the answers they need in just a few clicks, so they can provide the expert service clients expect.