Getting new clients tops the list of accountants’ concerns for the future of their practices, according to a new survey.

Among the 533 members of the Sage Accountants Network who responded to a survey by Sage North America in December 2010, 34 percent said that getting new clients was their main concern.
Twenty-eight percent cited tax law complexity and changes as an issue. That was followed by the effect of new regulations and standards on small firms, keeping up with technology, and time management concerns, all at 24 percent.

At the same time, 83 percent of participating firms currently specialize or are planning to specialize in specific vertical business segments, with consulting services as the most popular category for specialization, followed by construction and retail. Other popular areas of specialization include working with nonprofits, restaurants, and manufacturing and distribution clients. 

“Fundamental to Sage’s commitment to accounting professionals is a clear understanding of the common issues facing those in the profession, open dialogue with accountants, and finding ways we can better help them with their most pressing concerns,” said Jennifer Warawa, senior director of partner programs at Sage. “Based on our research and in anecdotal conversations with our membership, specialization is currently at the forefront for most firms. In the coming months, we will be introducing elements to our Sage Accountants Network members that will assist them in taking that step toward specialization in their practices, and give them the tools they need to ease that transition.”

In addition, the survey focused on the use of social media for business purposes. Forty-three percent of respondents revealed they do not use any form of social media. Among those that did, 37 percent said they use their own Web site, 28 percent use LinkedIn, 19 percent use Facebook, and only 7 percent use Twitter.

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