Monday, July 14, 2008

Don’t be a Small Fish in Your Accountant's Pond

Ever feel like you are one of the smallest fish in your accountant’s pond?

If so, it may be time for a change.

Being the small fish means that you are last in line to hear about changes in the tax code that could benefit you and your company…it means you receive answers to your questions weeks after you ask them…it means virtually no tax planning is done throughout the year to benefit you come tax time.

The main reason why accountants treat their smaller clients like “small fish” is simply due to the fact that they are not good business people themselves. Tip #1…if your accountant does not run his own business well, why do you have him on board as a trusted advisor for your business?

Let me explain to you why my firm, Merl & Hanley, LLP has made a conscious decision to view our smaller clients as our best clients:

1) Accounting is a service-driven business that revolves around one main thing…time. There are only so many hours in a day…a week…a year. Accountants gauge the success of their practice by their hourly rate. Taking on larger clients that provide us with 10, 15, 20+ hours of billable hours each month typically means having to offer these clients some type of “volume discount.” So, if we are able to earn $150 per hour working on the smaller (1-2 hour per month) client, we can only earn $125-140 per hour working on the larger (20+ hour per month) client. Since hourly rate is the driving force of our business, the smaller client is actually our better client since we are able to earn more per hour working on the smaller client’s file. That is why our smaller clients come first!

2) Accounting, like all other service-driven businesses succeeds due to referrals and satisfied clients are the number one source of referrals. By choosing to service 200 smaller clients for the same amount of fees that we could earn by servicing 50 larger clients, we expand our field of referral sources by 300%. Growing our business through referrals means spending less time on marketing, which means more time to service our existing clients.


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