Hold on to your abacus: 46 percent of small businesses don't work with accountants, according to a survey by GoDaddy. Of the few small businesses that do, 47 percent only enlist an accountant's services at tax time.
Those numbers are doubly disheartening when you consider this demographic could really benefit from an accountant's help when it comes to:
- Estimating and paying quarterly taxes.
- Tracking revenue and expenses.
- Verifying invoices and paying suppliers.
- Monitoring accounts receivable.
- Creating financial reports.
If small businesses stand to gain so much by simply working with you, why aren't they knocking down your door? Chances are they don't realize just how much you can do for them, and it's your job to change that.
So if you want to expand your accounting firm's client base, small-business owners are the people to target. Here are a few ways you can get their attention.
1. Demonstrate that your services can help small businesses get a loan.
For most small businesses, funding is the bane of their existence. When they aren't praying for angel investors, they're going from lender to lender in search of financing. Getting a loan for a small business is notoriously difficult – so much so that the Small Business Administration launched the LINC (Leveraging Information and Networks to access Capital) program to make borrowing easier. The SBA estimates 80 percent of all small business loan applications are rejected, namely because lenders aren't confident that they will be repaid.
That's where you come in. Make sure potential clients know that working with an accountant lends credibility to their cause. Plus, you can help prepare and strengthen their loan applications by putting together revenue projections and expense reports for the lender.
2. Highlight that you can help prevent or handle an audit.
There are few scare words quite as potent as "audit," so playing to this pain point can help you shake small-business owners out of their sleepwalk. Ensure prospective clients know that your bookkeeping services can prevent an audit from happening in the first place. If they do face an audit, let them know you can handle that, too, and can cover their fees if it happens on your watch.
3. Showcase your small business tax expertise.
As the Go Daddy survey reinforced, tax prep services are your bread and butter. But prospects need to know that they shouldn't simply make a mad dash for tax help every April. Rather, taxes should be tended to throughout the year.
As the survey notes…
- 32 percent of small businesses don't put aside money for income taxes.
- 12 percent don't know how much they owe in income taxes.
Good thing you can help small-business clients understand exactly how much they need to pay and how to budget accordingly. Be sure they are aware that you can potentially reduce their tax bill, too, by helping them take advantage of every applicable deduction.
4. Emphasize the importance of good bookkeeping for growing businesses.
As a business grows, so do its financial pressures. Let prospective clients know that you can help them make strategic financial decisions, such as when to:
- Hire new employees.
- Rent or expand commercial space.
- Offer more services or products.
Each of these moves requires careful planning and budgeting to support growth.
5. Demonstrate that you can help them with selling their business.
If the time ever comes when a small-business client wants to sell off their business, let them know that you can help facilitate that endeavor. After all, they will need someone to prepare financial reports for prospective buyers and ensure they get the best deal – that someone might as well be you.
For more tips on attracting small business clients, check out our guide Small Business, Big Numbers: An Accountant's Guide To Landing And Keeping Small Business Clients.