How to Attract The Best Talent At Your Accounting Firm

Your firm is more than a workplace. It’s where you dedicate your time and resources to further not just your career, but also those of your colleagues. Together, you form a team that builds a name and reputation for the firm.

The strength of your team and firm depends on attracting the right talent. How can you ensure your firm does this?

Attracting Seasoned Talent

Attracting seasoned talent isn’t a matter of targeting the professionals with proven talent and offering them a bigger salary. The top talent in the industry usually has 10 plus years of experience backing them. In order to attract them, you need to show your interest in:

  • Growth – Top talent are searching the best career growth opportunities. When recruiting seasoned talent, outline how your firm will provide training and development to keep their career growth moving upward.
  • Work Environment - Now more and more, people are looking for a better work/life balance. You could promote this at your firm by hosting team bonding and fun activities for the office. For more specific ideas to promote a better work environment check out the book: Accounting Firm Owners: The 7 Secrets You Know To Increase Profits in 2014. 
  • Money - Seasoned candidates are often looking for the next big challenge, but they’re still going to compare your salary offering to that of other firms. Make sure your employment package is competitive when it comes to money and benefits.
  • Location - Seasoned candidates are interested in better schools, transportation, and housing when compared to their current location. Highlight these amenities near your firm’s location to attract top-notch talent.

Attracting New Blood

Attracting new blood isn’t simply a matter of snatching up the best and the brightest entering the industry. It’s also about attracting candidates that bring real world knowhow capable of propelling the firm forward.

As new professionals enter the accounting industry, they bring with them insights about the best technologies to perform their jobs and better serve your clients. Address this when searching for new talent. Make it clear that you want to see a proactive candidate, capable of propelling the firm forward with new technologies.

Accounting graduates will find your firm attractive if you can show them:

  • Status – Is your firm well known? If it’s not, attracting new blood will be a challenge. Accounting graduates want to work for firms that can show they’re established, respected, and visible to at least the local area.
  • Networking - Although graduates are somewhat “green behind the ears,” they know opportunity when they see it. If your firm works with important people and organizations of influence, new talent will be more likely to seek out your firm. LinkedIn is a great resource to highlight connections.
  • Culture – Workplace culture is important to fresh blood because they prefer to combine work with play. Your firm can attract them by showcasing its social side through tasteful team photos and videos.
  • Location - Fresh talent is often looking for a great nightlife, young demographic, good weather, and diverse culture. Highlight how your firm’s location delivers this to attract them.

Your firm no doubt has many assets to offer seasoned and new talent. Be sure to showcase these assets through social profiles and web copy. By spotlighting assets openly, you’ll encourage a steady stream of all the right talent.

 

 

Accounting Discounts – Do or Don’t?

We all know that customers love a deal. In fact, some people live to coupon. Discount hunters are almost always on the prowl.
You want more business. You want to attract new customers. How do you do it?

If you’re thinking about running a promotional sale, discount or other sale, you might want to reconsider. Here’s why:

The Woes of Discounting

It’s true. Discounts can quickly generate a sizeable sales spike.

While seeing your sales numbers rise can be euphoric, discounting may not be the way to go. It’s true that business after business runs sale after sale, but discounting can quickly destroy your business.

For example, JCPenny ran so many sales and discounts that less than 1% of their sales came from full priced items. As a result, the listed price of their products meant nothing.

In an effort to change this, JCPenny tried selling a $14 shirt that normally sold on discount for $6 at a new list price of $7. Sales tanked when JCPenny tried this “low price all the time” strategy because customers no longer saw a sale or discounted price.

JCPenny customers stopped buying because they were waiting for a discount to come along.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Discounts

Discounts are a terrible idea if you want to see long term business growth. Once you start offering discounts and sale prices, your customers will be trained to expect it. When you don’t run a discount, your sales will tank—just like JCPenny.

Discounting can erode the value of your brand to your audience. Once it comes at a discount, they no longer want to pay full price.

Once a customer thinks they can find a discounted price for your product or service, they will actually delay a purchase to search for it. The best strategy is to never use a discount or coupon to begin with!

Adding Value vs. Lowering the Price

If discounting is detrimental to your business in the long term, what can you do to spike sales? The answer is simple: add value.

You can add value to generate new sales growth by promoting the full price of your product or service plus an addition at no extra cost. For example, if you want to generate more business during tax season, you might offer your services at full price plus a free eBook stuffed with tips that can help increase the client’s tax return next year.

By adding value versus offering a discount, new clients will pay full price and get an incentive to buy now. Putting a time limit on the added value is important so that potential customers won’t want to miss out on the additional value.

You can promote healthy long term business growth by avoiding the pitfall of discounting and running promotional sales or coupons. By adding value, you’ll train your customers to expect more bang for their buck through incentives, not discounted prices. As a result, they’ll return and purchase even when you aren’t running a promotional offer.

To see how you can add more value and charge higher prices, check out our ebook, Accounting Firm Owners: The 7 Secrets You Must Know To Increase Profits in 2014.

How to Gain Accounting Credibility With Potential Clients

If you’re starting a new firm or simply trying to build you’re firm’s online presence, you’ve likely heard one word a million times: credibility.

Credibility is about experience. What can you do if you don’t have much experience or feel like the experience you have isn’t enough?

Take Heart…

…we’ve all been there! We’ve all clawed our way out, and we’ve picked up some decent advice to share during the process:

  • Be honest
  • Don’t try to sound better than you are
  • Don’t scam people

Now that you know the basics, let’s take a hard look at how to build your credibility and authority. It’s worth building because these two attributes, once recognized by your audience, will earn you respect and sales. But you’re going to have to prove your credibility before you earn it from your audience.

3 Ways to Build Credibility

We’re going to discuss three proven ways that you can build your credibility. The first revolves around honesty and doing the right thing.

1.     Argue against yourself. You do this by letting people know up front who won’t benefit from your product or service. Does this sound counterproductive?

Well, it’s not. By openly letting the audience know who the product or service isn’t for, you show that you’re all about doing the right thing.

Don’t try to sell yourself as the “perfect fit for anyone.” This isn’t realistic. There’s no such thing as a product or a service that is all things to all people, and selling yourself this way will harm your credibility.

Take the time to know who you’re business isn’t for and talk about it openly. People will instantly see you as credible because you’re honest and open. It’ll also make it much easier to get people that are the right fit to hire you.

2.     Use precise numbers. People believe precise facts. It’s easy to be lazy and round statistics or numbers up or down, but it also hurts your credibility.

For example, let’s say I specialize in tax return services. If I told you the customers who I filed taxes for received a return that was 5 percent higher than the average tax filer, and I then said I filed returns that were 5.3 percent higher than the average filer, which would you find more credible?

Precise numbers are automatically considered more credible by your audience. Use them whenever possible on your website and other marketing content.

3.     Provide proof to back up your claims. It’s easy to spout opinions because all we have to do is state them and move on.

Building credibility and authority involves backing up your claims with proof. People can get opinions anywhere. They come to you for proven facts.

You can find and present the proof you need by:

  • Using precise statistics and referencing where they hail from
  • Inserting your own personal stories or stories from your customers
  • Including testimonials from the people you work with
  • Researching via authoritative academic and business sources and presenting the information with a source reference
  • Finding and using professional or media-given accolades

Whether you’re new to the industry or packing years of experience, you can get more info on building credibility and getting better clients by reading our ebook, Accounting Firm Owners: The 7 Secrets You Must Know To Increase Profits in 2014.

How to Avoid Haggling Over Accounting Rates

“You’re going to charge me how much? Can’t you cut me a deal? I’d be willing to hire you if you’d drop your price to…”

Sound familiar? When someone tries to haggle down your rates, it’s likely you’ll hear them say something similar.

One of the most frustrating scenarios is when a potential customer tries to haggle over our rates. It’s even more irritating when a returning customer takes it upon themselves to say, “I should get a discount for being loyal.”

Rewarding loyal clientele with discounts is a good business practice, but the client who receives this type of treatment is a proven asset. They’ve likely returned numerous times and brought new business with them.

Deterring Hagglers

Haggling is part of business. You’re going to run across it from time to time. Remember: you don’t have to lower your rate, ever.

The trick to dealing with and deterring hagglers is all about confidence and knowing how to talk with the haggler.

The first thing to remember is to avoid getting offended. Allowing yourself to instantly take on a negative attitude—not matter how justified—will hinder your ability to handle the matter professionally.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • You can’t work with everyone. If you’re intent on delivering high quality, it isn’t possible for you to take every job that comes your way. Don’t expect to work with everyone who contacts you, and don’t be afraid to turn someone away.
  • Use your contact page wisely. Your contact page should reflect your commitment to high value by explaining that you may be able to work with the person who is about to fill out the contact form. If you can only take a few new clients each month to preserve quality, state this on the contact page.
  • Be ready and willing to lose a client. If a client questions every penny, fights every field on the invoice or doesn’t feel you’re worth the rate you’re charging, don’t be afraid to walk away. These people take more energy and time than they are worth.

How to Pacify a Haggler

What do you do when someone says they just can’t afford your rate, and they want you to drop it? First, don’t feel like you are obligated to drop your rate just for them.

You can address the issue by letting them know that you realize they appreciate value and are on a budget. Explain that in order to meet their proposed rate, you would have to rush and sacrifice quality.

You’re not in the business of sacrificing quality. However, assure them that you can offer something else at a different price point. This shows your willingness to work with them, but clearly shows that you’re staying on your terms.

Let’s face it: no matter what you do, you will never avoid haggling over your rates completely. There will always be a person who is bent on finding the best deal and looking to negotiate. Be ready to respond by sticking to your terms and spotlighting your strong commitment to quality.

For more information on building value and getting better clients so that you no longer have to deal with hagglers, check out the ebook, Accounting Firm Owners: The 7 Secrets You Know To Increase Profits in 2014. 

How to Stop Procrastinating

We all do it. Procrastination is part of human nature. Even the very best accountants have days where they delay tackling the work that must inevitably be completed.

If you’ve ever felt like procrastination is a chronic illness you can’t shake, then you’re not alone! You can beat the urge to dilly-dally during work hours by using a simple behavior tactic.

Admission is the First Step

Before you can start to reverse an attitude prone to delay, you must admit that there is a problem in the first place. It’s like being an addict; you can’t get life changing help—the kind that makes a plausible difference—until you acknowledge and admit to the fact that there’s a problem.

Right now you’re thinking about your work and saying, “But I finish what I need to each day. How is that a procrastination problem?”

Procrastination comes in many forms. For example, do you tend to push certain tasks off until the last minute because you lack motivation or an interest in completing them? Perhaps you push these tasks off to accomplish less productive but more pleasant tasks?

Accountants are trusted with time sensitive and in-depth projects. If we put tasks off until the last minute, we run the risk of:

  • Missing an important deadline
  • Making stupid mistakes
  • Not catching our mistakes
  • Completing work that is less than acceptable
  • Ruining client relationships

If you have a tendency to put projects off and then later rush to get them done, you have a procrastination problem.

Killing the Habit to Procrastinate

Procrastination is a habit. It isn’t something we learn overnight. It’s a pattern we fall into over a period of time.

Therefore, in order to kill the habit successfully, we must condition new behavior. This is the behavior tactic we are going to cover.

Conditioning new behavior may sound daunting, especially when you consider how busy you are. You can easily condition procrastination free behavior by following 5 easy steps:

  1. Create a to-do or task list. Every night, list everything you need to accomplish the next day. There should be about 6 1hr tasks. Next prioritize each task and assign a time when each one will get done. The most important should go earlier in the day to avoid running out of time. Also, don’t plan more than 6 hours of work because likely some tasks will run over or you’ll have unplanned interruptions. The key to this is doing it the night before, not the morning of, when you’ll be less likely to commit to the more dreaded tasks.
  2. Finish the hard stuff first. Tackle the really big and in-depth tasks first. Get them out of the way before you feel the urge to delay.
  3. Do five-minute tasks. When you hit a task that you just don’t want to do – tackle the aspects of the project that take a few minutes before diving into the rest. Your goal is to be productive with each five-minute task while feeling a sense of satisfaction upon completion.
  4. Take a break. If you can’t focus and are daydreaming, take a break. Give yourself 10 minutes to breathe, and then force yourself to finish the task.
  5. Banish distractions. Banish co-workers who like to chat. Eliminate distractions so that you are not tempted to remove your attention from the task at hand.

For more information on becoming more efficient, check out our ebook, Accounting Firm Owners: The 7 Secrets You Know To Increase Profits in 2014.

Every accountant experiences procrastination. By developing behavioral habits that promote productivity, you can focus your time and energy while lessening the temptation to put tasks off.