[IMGCAP(1)]It is a constant battle: CPA vs. marketer, CPAs vs. development of a “sphere of influence,” CPAs vs. the “30-second elevator pitch,” CPAs vs. networking events. And the ultimate three-way battle of CPA vs. billable hour vs. business development.
But in reality, CPAs in public practice do not have work unless somebody brings it to them. Expert technical skills sit idle if the expert fails to draw business by showcasing skills. It’s a tit-for-tat battle of “what comes first, the chicken or the egg.”
CPAs will rarely go out and sell their expertise like insurance salesmen. And I am not suggesting that you do go out and become an accounting salesman. It’s just not the way most CPAs are built and fails to ensure that the client receives an independent viewpoint rather than another product on their shelf. So rather than going around in circles and tripping over one another in attempting to develop relationships, hitting up the networking scene, and standing in front of the mirror practicing your elevator speech, try a new direction. Below are the five steps you need to take in order to create $100,000 (or more) of new billings and can easily be completed in one hour! (As a bonus, you can most likely create a spreadsheet to help you document the following process.)
1. In one row, list your top 10 clients who value your service.
2. In one column, list all the services you provide to all of your clients.
3. For the top 10 clients, mark the boxes in blue that you provide the service for the associated client. (You can pick any color, I just happen to like the color blue).
4. Review the open boxes for glaring opportunities where you are underserving the clients.
a. As an extra step, you can review other services that your firm may not provide, but if you added somebody to your team, that person would be able to handle the work.
5. Give yourself the following pep talk via Dr. Seuss in the book, Oh, The Places You’ll Go: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who'll decide where to go.”
a. Call the client, set up a meeting, apologize if you have been underserving their needs and advise them that the additional services will create one of the following:
i. Reduced costs or taxes;
ii. New revenues;
iii. Reduction in anxiety;
iv. Help in making better business decisions;
v. Let them focus on the things they do best.
Done! You have just created over $100,000 in new revenue. No fighting the networking monster or facing your fear of public speaking. No “Rumble in the Jungle” against the marketing department. You created new billings by being honest with the people that trust you the most (your current clientele) and using your best skills (sitting in a cool office thinking about accounting) to develop this new business.
In the process, you probably just knocked over a couple of other birds with the same stone. You appeased your partners in growing the business. And you are more likely to retain your clients for a longer period because, as you deliver results with the new services added, their fondness for you has ballooned. Did I mention that your clients that have assisted you will probably refer new business to you? As others in their community see their success, competitors are sure to ask “how” and streaming in comes the business.
In short, you spent an hour, you confided in your best clients, you developed new revenues for today, and you potentially secured new revenues for tomorrow. So tell me again, why is taking one hour away from billable work not helping you reach your goals?
Adam Blitz, CPA, is a tax and consulting manager at Wiebe Hinton Hambalek, LLP in Fresno, Calif. Along with his CPA, Adam has a Masters of Arts in Leadership Studies from Fresno Pacific University. Adam authored a thesis entitled, "The Leading CPA—the value of the leading CPA." Adam is focused on working with his clients, colleagues, and industry professionals in enhancing the value of the CPA. For additional information, he can be contacted at Adamb@whhcpas.com or via Twitter @getblitzed.
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