When you run an accounting firm, chances are you’ll encounter some challenges that can slow down your efficiency and overall success. As a self-employed accountant, you must overcome these challenges to grow your client base and sustain earnings. If you know which challenges in the accounting profession to expect, you can use this knowledge to your advantage and manage them better. 

This guide will list common challenges in the accounting profession, including: 

  • Client satisfaction and retention 
  • Technology and automation  
  • Time management and slow periods
  • Knowledge development

Client satisfaction and retention 

The satisfaction of your clients determines the success of your firm. Accounting clients trust you to manage their financial data accurately, and you’ll need to build credibility to satisfy them. Developing strong relationships with your client base helps you build this trust. 

Client retention is also important as an accountant because most of your clients will need your services continuously. But if you struggle to satisfy your clients, it’ll be even harder to keep them in the long term. Even more, some small businesses may try to save money by doing their own accounting when they can rather than hiring a professional. You’ll need to convince them that your services are worth investing in. 

Solutions

To increase client satisfaction, you may want to focus on improving their experience. Accounting can be mind-boggling for some, so if you simplify your language and make friendly conversation, you can put your clients at ease. 

For example, you might want to introduce an FAQ’s section to your website to explain your services and the tax system in general. Plus, you could structure and regulate your processes and make expectations and contracts clear to new clients, so everyone is on the same page. 

As far as client retention, you might want to specialise in your accounting services to draw in and keep the best clients for your services. Maybe you want to focus on a business sector or area of accounting. Being an expert in a particular field will help you offer niche services that people can’t do themselves. As a result, you’ll satisfy and sustain the right client base.  

Technology and automation 

Adapting to automation and learning new technology are also common challenges in the accounting profession. If you don’t have the right technology skills, you may not offer the most efficient solutions. Digitising your accounting allows you to speed up your services and use tools to automate tedious tasks. Not only is this useful to satisfying clients, but it will enable you to take on more work and increase your earnings.  

Even more, with Making Tax Digital (MTD), the government initiative to digitise tax processes, you need to be comfortable with using technology for tax reporting. Today, only VAT registered businesses must comply with MTD, but it’ll extend to cover many businesses this April. So, you’ll need to transition to using technology for your services if you don’t already. 

Solutions

First, you may want to read up on why digital skills are crucial for accountants and which skills to focus on. Then, to strengthen your technical skills, seek training courses or books that cover valuable skills.

As far as digitising services, you may want to use software and tools that automate and streamline your processes. You can also recommend specific software to clients to make it easier to maintain accurate records and share their financial data. 

Countingup combines a business account with accounting software to simplify financial management, unlike most recommendable options. Countingup is MTD compliant, helping clients share their financial data without worrying about errors. Plus, Countingup also offers free accounting software specifically designed to help you manage self-employed clients. 

Time management and slow periods

Apart from technological skills, time management is another one of the common challenges in the accounting profession. It’s crucial to maintain an organised timetable to manage your workload. As most of your work relies on your clients’ financial data, make sure they promptly share the right documents with you. Plus, you’ll need to be aware of essential tax deadlines. 

Similarly, you may have slower work periods as an accountant. If you primarily focus on taxes, you’ll likely be very busy during tax season. But what about other parts of the year? Less work could lead to irregular business earnings, making it more difficult to plan for and cover regular expenses. 

Solutions

To stay on top of your workload and juggle many clients at once, you may want to strengthen your time management skills. You could also invest in project management software, like Trello, which will help you create tasks and to-do lists, so you don’t miss a beat. Also, try to increase communication between you and your clients. You might schedule a weekly check-in or send reminder emails before deadlines. 

To manage slower work periods, consider how to attract new clients. For example, you could offer financial management advice outside of tax season or help clients prepare for taxes year-round. Also, if you choose a speciality for your practice, consider how relevant services could be continuously helpful. 

Knowledge development

On top of managing their time, accountants must stay up to date with the industry’s current trends, shifts, and knowledge. Over time, financial management regulations and tax processes change. Meanwhile, so do the best practices and procedures for accountancy. It can be challenging to follow everything if you don’t prioritise continued learning. 

Solutions

To keep up with accounting knowledge and best serve your clients, put aside time to read accounting news, governmental updates, and any other valuable sources. You might want to join an accredited association to network and access events and lectures from experts. Also, keep an eye out for and take the time to attend courses and training to maintain your qualifications and further your skills and knowledge. 

Streamline your accounting services with Countingup

You can save your practice time on manual admin and help your clients keep organised records with Countingup’s free accounting software. It’s built specifically to help you manage your self-employed and sole trader clients.

The app automates time-consuming bookkeeping admin for your clients so they can focus on running their business—and send you accurate, structured data to work from. 

Countingup’s accounting software is MTD-compatible and full of features for you to efficiently review and manage client accounts with direct access to their real-time organised data. Find out more here.

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