Half of firms’ clients have been with them 8+ years

More than half of accounting firm clients (56 percent) have been with them for eight or more years — and over a third (34 percent) have been with them a decade or longer, according to a recent survey.

The research, part of the monthly Accountants Confidence Index study that Accounting Today conducts in partnership with ADP, also found that more than half of firms have relatively low rates of churn — almost two-thirds (63 percent) reported that 6 percent or less of their client base is new each year.

Even with that low turnover, most respondents (67 percent) are still planning to actively seek new clients in 2020. Literally no firms said they weren’t seeking new clients, but the remaining third said they would consider any clients who came along, and more than half of those said they would be selective in which prospects they’ll take on.

When it comes to finding new clients, referrals remain the most common source — particularly unsolicited client referrals, and those from fellow professionals, which were both named as a top conduit by 79 percent of firms. Solicited client referrals (where the accountant specifically asked their clients to help them find new business) came next, but were a top source at under half of firms (43 percent).

Interestingly, advertising — whether online or not — was one of the least significant sources of new business, with less than 10 percent of firms reporting it as a top source.

The study surveyed 270 accountants in mid-November.

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