Building strong client relationships in your accounting firm is crucial to creating a successful business. Your firm’s profitability is ultimately determined by how many happy clients you have that keep coming back for more. Therefore, it’s important to fit time for developing relationships with clients into your workload.
This guide will cover:
- Why credibility is important for accountants
- How to build credibility with your clients
- Boost your credibility with Countingup
Why is credibility important for accountants?
Growing a successful accounting practice starts with building a brand that people see as trustworthy and knowledgeable. People generally judge your credibility by comparing what you promise to do with what you deliver. Failing to deliver on your word makes you lose the authenticity and trust you need to establish your firm as a leader in the marketplace.
Clients also look at your ability to act as a leader when judging your credibility. How do you handle their accounting needs and help them avoid any obstacles that may emerge?
Money is a touchy subject for many people and the pandemic throwing us all into unchartered waters made most of us even more nervous. Your clients expect you to act as an authority and take charge in these financial storms.
While you can’t have all the answers all the time, demonstrating confidence, honesty and empathy will get you a long way in building credibility with your clients.
How can I build credibility with my clients?
Below we’ve listed some of the main ways you can establish trust and build credibility with your accounting clients:
1) Show your human side
The finance industry is known for its overuse of jargon. Unless your clients have a finance background, they will likely shy away from this complicated and intimidating communication style.
Showing your firm’s human side is an excellent way to differentiate yourself and build credibility with your clients. Swap the formal and complicated language for a friendly, light and professional tone that your clients can relate to.
2) Choose a specialisation
Focusing on one speciality builds credibility by showcasing your expertise in a particular area. Choosing a specialisation allows you to perfect your skills so you can cater to clients in need of that particular service. Be sure to demonstrate your firm’s proficiency on your website, social media, advertising and marketing so prospects and clients know what you can do.
Remember to be honest about what services you offer. Clients don’t want to pay for things that don’t solve their issues, so give them the whole truth and let your prospects decide if your services will work for them. Learn more about what accounting clients really want.
3) Share your expertise
Sharing your expertise is key to establishing yourself as a credible accounting professional. Share your knowledge and resources whenever you can with prospective clients looking for the services you offer.
Additionally, speak to your current clients about their most urgent needs and problems and provide information that directly solves those issues. Your clients will trust you more if you show that you understand their situation.
4) Set realistic expectations
Understandably, you may be tempted to go above and beyond for every request, especially with new clients.
However, while you obviously want to keep your clients happy and meet their needs as much as you can, it’s important to set realistic expectations from the start. If you over promise and fail to deliver, you instantly lose credibility with that client. You could also risk burning yourself out trying to live up to these unattainable expectations.
To build trust and credibility with your clients, you must be clear about what you can and cannot do and only promise services you know you can deliver.
5) Hold clients accountable
This one is maybe not mentioned as often, but to build credibility with clients, you need to be clear about what you need from them to be able to do your job. As their accountant, you need to request information from them, such as earnings, expenses, debts, bank statements and more.
Part of setting expectations is to communicate this to your clients and tell them about other tasks you need them to complete, like signing documents before you file them. If you’ve requested a document from them several times and they still haven’t sent it to you, that’s not your fault. At the end of the day, you’re supposed to work together to drive their business forward.
6) Ask clients for feedback
As well as holding clients accountable, showing a dedication to bettering yourself is a massive building block towards a credible accounting business.
The best way to improve your service so it matches your clients’ needs better is to get the information straight from the horse’s mouth. Ask your clients for feedback about your service, including quality of work, progress, customer service and other areas of your relationship.
Use the feedback to optimise your service offering: focus on providing more of the things clients praise and improving the aspects they’re not as pleased with. Don’t be afraid of constructive criticism! Instead, take it to heart and use it to respond to clients’ needs. This way, you can maintain the relationship for the long term.
7) Use up-to-date accounting software
Leveraging modern accounting technology to streamline repetitive and tedious tasks allows you to focus on creating a tailored financial plan for your clients. Keeping your systems up to date demonstrates agility and dedication to finding the best solutions possible.
Accounting software like Countingup will help you to minimise costs and work faster, while delivering high-quality services to your clients. As clients increasingly expect more from their accountants, achieving optimal efficiency levels will be crucial for building credibility and growing your accountancy practice.
Improve your profit margins and help your clients save time
You can start saving your practice time on manual admin and help your clients keep organised records with Countingup’s free accounting software, 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. With instant invoicing, automatic expense categorisation and cash flow insights, your clients will be able to confidently keep accurate bookkeeping records everyday.
Countingup’s accounting software is MTD-compatible and full of features for you to review and manage client accounts efficiently, with direct access to their real-time organised data. Find out more here.