Summer can be a slow time for accountants. The sunny weather and easy pace mean that spreadsheets and taxes aren’t usually top of mind, and clients are often out for weeks at a time. Come July and August, you may find your phone stops ringing and it’s harder to get anyone to call you back.
While this downtime is the perfect time to recharge your own batteries, it’s also a great opportunity to lay the foundation for the strategic growth of your own firm. Because we all know how hard it is to focus on the big picture when you’re buried in client work.
One proven growth strategy is to offer more services to the same clients. Your clients often need more assistance than just accounting and taxes — even if they just turn to you for accounting and taxes. Think about your current client base, as well as your target client: what kind of services do they need? In the past, have clients ever asked for your help in other areas?
Here’s just a sampling of some of the new services you can offer. You can find a silent partner to help you take care of many of these tasks so you don’t need to become an expert yourself overnight.
1. Business formation
Small business owners often have the vision and passion, but don’t always have the expertise or understanding to create the proper legal foundation for their business. You can help your clients fulfill their dreams of business ownership by offering a range of business formation and advisory services, including filing business formation paperwork with the state; getting their legal ducks in a row by crafting a proper operating agreement or company bylaws; applying for all necessary business licenses and local permits; and more.
2. Legal filing compliance
You may already help your clients stay compliant with tax and financial regulations, but there are other compliance services too, namely legal filings with the state. Every LLC and corporation will need to fulfill specific filing requirements with their state, including filing an annual report and reporting changes with an articles of amendment. These are relatively easy forms to file, but are easy for small business owners to overlook. Late filings can result in added fees, and in worst cases, a business can fall out of good standing with the state. You can easily help your clients stay on top of this paperwork through add-on compliance services where you send a helpful reminder whenever a deadline is approaching.
3. Succession planning for small businesses
Family businesses represent up to 90 percent of all business enterprises in North America, and 43 percent of family business owners are without a succession plan. You can help your small business clients navigate the question of “what happens next” with a well-crafted succession plan. These services will require your accounting expertise with strategies for reducing the tax burden, valuing the business and transferring shares, as well as soft skills when dealing with all the different personalities, emotions and egos that may be involved.
4. Bank loan preparation
Maybe your client is looking for financing to help fund a strategic expansion or fill a short-term capital crunch. You can help your clients secure bank financing by adding loan preparation services. Proper preparation is important since the Small Business Administration found that 27 percent of businesses weren’t able to receive the funding they needed. What are some of the things involved in loan preparation services? Business plan creation, credit reports, tax returns and financial statements.
5. Trademark application services
Your small business clients may need a trademark to protect their brand across all 50 states. They don’t necessarily need to hire an expensive trademark attorney to help them with the application, but at the same time, they may not feel like wading through the paperwork and process themselves. That’s where you can come in. You can help your busy clients take care of this important task by offering trademark application services, including helping clients determine the optimal trademark protection and filing the paperwork with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
These are just a few examples. If you’re in touch with your clients on a regular basis, are there certain requests that keep coming up? For example, do clients ask for your help with full-service bookkeeping, payroll setup, 1099 processing, sales tax compliance, growth strategies or software consulting.? Any of these are great ways to build recurring revenue for the years ahead, as well as fill more needs for your clients.
Expanding your service portfolio is a relatively easy, low-risk strategy that is a win-win scenario. You win because you’ll increase your revenue by offering more services. Your clients win because you will be helping take care of something they don’t have the expertise to do. And they won’t have to spend time juggling multiple vendors in the process.