Taking on new clients can be exciting for any accounting firm, as it signals growth and greater earnings. But, not every client may be right for you. Assessing potential clients before onboarding can help you understand what they’ll be like to work with. 

So, consider asking yourself, who is my ideal client? With the right plan for choosing clients, you can build a strong and valuable client base that works well with your firm’s objectives. 

This guide will help you uncover who your ideal client is, including: 

  • Thinking about your firm’s strengths
  • Defining potential clients’ values
  • Getting to know the client’s needs 

Thinking about your accounting firm’s strengths 

So your marketing and lead-chasing have brought in potential clients. It may seem like the more you take on, the more money you earn. But you may not always want to accept a client just because they’re the most profitable option. Knowing who your ideal client is will help you choose wisely for greater client retention and a stronger practice. 

Consider your niche

To grow your accounting firm, you may want to focus your services and develop standard, efficient processes. But to do this, your client base must reflect your specialisation. Taking on too many clients that don’t match your strengths means you can’t help everyone equally.

With the right accounting specialisation, you can narrow your client base to the right people. For example, you might focus on doing taxes for small businesses that work in the retail industry. If you’re familiar with your chosen industry and accounting niche, these clients will benefit from your expert knowledge. 

Look at your current client base 

It’s also important to look at your current client base. If you examine the people or businesses you work with now, you’ll spot patterns or similarities that lead you to a niche. 

Plus, assess which clients you work well with and which you find challenging. Reflecting on this shows you who to target in the future and which signs to look for when accepting new clients. 

For example, say you currently work with several bakeries with wealth management and find it rewarding. Plus, working with bakery owners could be interesting and effortless for you. Knowing these strengths can help you seek out more bakery owners as clients. 

Create an ideal customer profile

Once you assess your current client base and decide on your niche, again ask yourself: who is my ideal client? To figure this out, compile an ideal customer profile, which outlines the people you would most like to work with. With this template, you’ll know what to search for when meeting with potential clients to make the best decisions. 

When putting together ideal customer profiles, consider a few things: 

  • Who they are: Gender, age, job title, income, family status
  • Where they are: Country, city, town
  • What they’re like: Interests, characteristics, goals, priorities, motivations
  • How they act: What they look for and need, their pain points, why and how they purchase

Learn more about putting together ideal customer profiles here. 

Defining potential client’s values 

Once you understand who you want to work with, you use this profile to choose the right clients. When you come across potential clients, offer introductory meetings before taking them on. This way, you can get to know the client a bit and decide if they’re right for you. 

In your introductory meeting, focus on learning the potential client’s values to see if they match your own. Can you have a productive and comfortable conversation with this person? Client-accountant relationships require transparency and trust, as you’ll be handling their business finances. So, you’ll need first to see if they feel like a client you could get on with. 

Next, when meeting with potential clients, consider if their characteristics work well with your firm. For example, you find it easier to work with people who are timely and organised. With this in mind, if a potential client shows up to meetings late without the proper documents or preparation, they might not be suitable for you. 

Then, look at the client’s income and turnover. Is it something you could help, manage, and benefit from? On top of that, contemplate what skills you want your clients to have. For example, if you run your business entirely digitally, you may seek tech-savvy clients. But if they don’t have so much as an email address, they might not be the right fit for you. 

Here are some questions you may want to ask:

  • Where would you like to see your business finances going in the next few years?
  • How do you plan your business operations in a day, month, or year?
  • What are your financial goals and priorities, long term and short term?
  • What motivates your daily operations? 
  • What are the biggest challenges?
  • At what point do you consider your business successful? 

If this conversation aligns with your values and the client habits seem to complement yours, they could be a good fit. But, before you take them on, think about how their needs match up with your practice. 

Getting to know the client’s needs 

It’s useful to have clients with whom you work well, but you also need to take on clients with the right needs. For example, if you focus on helping freelancers do their taxes, you may not want to take on a person running a restaurant. So, when you meet with new clients, see if they operate within your niche market. 

To get to know their specific needs, ask more about their business challenges and pain points. What do they struggle with day-to-day? Why are they coming to you? If their needs complement your firm, they could be the right fit for growing a sturdy client base that promotes growth

The accounting software built for sole trader clients

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 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.