Identifying the right clients for CAS
Will your existing clients or prospects buy higher-priced and more services from you? If you ask them to, will they feel put off? If you do not ask, will you leave real money on the table? If you do not tell them about more services your firm is capable of providing, will they switch to another accounting firm simply because they were not aware of your other services?
Pitching relevant services to clients and prospects is nearly a fine art. It is fraught with the risk of coming across as salesy or only in your own interest. At the same time, clients and prospects may not even know that you offer such services or that they need those services. You can lose such opportunities even before you explore those with your clients/prospects.
Client accounting services have great potential and promise to speed up your practice growth. But you need to first identify which of your prospects and existing clients are a great fit to offer CAS. Here are some ways to identify which of them will be a good fit for your CAS offering.
Evaluate your existing clients and prospects for the following:
- Does the prospect have five to 25 (or more) full-time employees?
- Does the prospect have 20 or more vendors from whom they buy regularly (at least once in three months)?
- Does the prospect have 50 or more customers/clients to whom they sell regularly (at least once in three months)?
- Does the prospect have 100 or more monthly sales invoices and vendor bills?
- Does the prospect have four or more different/separate business software packages (accounting, POS, inventory, etc.)?
- Does the prospect sell and/or buy on credit (30 or more days between sale/purchase and receiving/making payments)?
- Does the prospect have in-house bookkeeping/accounting staff?
- Is the prospect looking to replace in-house/outsourced bookkeeper(s)/accounting staff?
- Does the prospect have frequent/recurring cash flow challenges?
- Is the prospect frustrated with inaccurate or delayed financial statements?
- Does the prospect's business model involve storing an inventory of raw materials/parts/final products?
- Will the prospect's business benefit from tax planning?
- Does the prospect's business show a consistent growth trend over the last 12-24 months?
The answers to some or all of these questions from any given client/prospect can help you discover if there is a CAS-fit. For example, based on their answers, you can determine:
- The level of complexity in their accounting;
- The volume of work (and hence what their current cost of accounting is);
- The level of dependency on accounting information to make business decisions in time;
- The likely pain points (about accounting processes/outcomes) in the minds of the business owner; and,
- The ways your services can help the business gain/save (e.g. taxes saved), etc.
Based on the information that emerges when you evaluate the answers to the listed questions, you will be able to decide which, and how many types of services the client/prospect will actually benefit from. In many cases, you will be able to offer more than just after-the-fact write-up services, which will likely double your current revenue from most clients.
The essence of this evaluation/discovery process is to find out if the client/prospect is actually doing work that is more accounting-knowledge-based work, or if it mostly performing some business-process-related tasks. If you find that some such work requires an accountant’s expertise, that is where you should pitch your CAS offering.