[IMGCAP(1)]It can be difficult for accounting firms to set themselves apart. Most clients don’t see a competency difference between accountants. As a result, it’s important for a CPA firm with hopes of growing to distinguish itself from the competition.

A unique specialty can do wonders for growth. Just as finding a niche is important in business, specializing in a specific area can help a CPA firm build a strong client foundation. Never has that been truer than now.

As China grows as a world leader, more and more Chinese businesses and individuals are looking for CPAs who are familiar with taxes in both the U.S. and China.

Here are five ways in which Chinese expertise will distinguish your firm from the competition:

1. It’s a growing market: As China grows, so does the number of high net worth Chinese individuals. Many of these individuals are moving to the United States, as are many growing Chinese companies. These individuals and businesses are going to need accountants. Having some accountants on staff with Chinese expertise, or building a firm with this specialization, will allow you to tap into this growing market.

2. Establish yourself as a firm that can help: Those Chinese individuals who are settling in the States understand that U.S. tax laws are complicated; they see the need for help. Having someone who understands both China and the U.S., in terms of finances as well as customs and culture, will allow them to feel more comfortable navigating the transition. It will also enable them to feel confident putting their ongoing finance needs in your hands.

3. You can secure loyal clients: If you help someone with their accounting when they first move to a new country, they will likely appreciate you even more than they already would. Chinese individuals who use your services when they first move are likely to continue to come to your firm. Having loyal clients who appreciate your work means you’re building business for years to come (and possibly gaining even more when your clients’ friends, family or business associates move to the States as well).

4. Become a bilingual firm: Make sure to package your Chinese expertise services in both English and Chinese. Chinese expertise will help, but you must keep in mind that, while most Chinese people speak some English, they may not be proficient in the language. This means they aren’t likely to understand all the accounting terms. You’ve probably encountered English-speaking clients who don’t, so it will be more difficult with an English-learning client. Your new Chinese clients are also unfamiliar with U.S. accounting and tax rules. So having a Chinese translation of your services—whether you contract with a translator or have Chinese-speaking accountants on staff—is a good idea for the entrepreneurial-minded CPA firms.

5. Build relationships with other businesses: You can create a referral pipeline by partnering with other providers; it’s a mutually beneficial arrangement. When Chinese high net worth individuals or companies are moving to the U.S., they all have to go through certain steps: immigration processes, buying a home, etc. You can build relationships with these providers to ensure you’re getting the business you need. By developing a solid referral pipeline with real estate agents and immigration attorneys that serve the Chinese customers, you’ll constantly get high-quality leads.

Building your business around a specialization is a smart way to set your firm apart from the competition. China’s growing economy and the influx of high net worth Chinese individuals and businesses moving to the U.S. means there are a growing number of clients for firms with the right skills. Consider developing Chinese expertise. You may find you can grow your CPA firm more than you ever thought possible.

Wendy Huang, CEO of the China Success Institute, was born and raised in China and graduated from Northwestern University. Nicknamed “The China Success Coach”, Ms. Huang coaches executives and professionals for success in Chinese language and culture. She is the author of the upcoming book “Win in China—Strategies and Tactics to Capture the World's Most Fascinating Market.”

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