Good invoices equates to good business

The other week I had an electrician come to my house to do some basic maintenance work. Nothing major, just a couple of hours of fixing some light fittings and changing the position of a few power points. I’ve used this chap several times before and have always considered him to be professional and a really good operator.

A few hours after the electrician left, I received an email with his invoice attached. Even though he was at my house for about 2 hours he provided me with a detailed, itemised and easy to understand bill. I knew exactly what he was charging me for and I was pleased to pay the bill right away. The bill amount was $198.25. If a busy electrician can find the time and make the effort to provide his clients with completely transparent bills, how much more should an accountant, lawyer, consultant, adviser and the like provide the same? I’ve heard many stories from business clients, irrespective of their size or industry, receive bills from professional services firms saying something like: “For services provided during August 2013 ……. $18,575 + GST” Come on good people – is that fair to your client?

Until next time.

James E

Accountants – this video will help you win more business!

This will more than likely be the shortest post I have ever posted!

Go to the Video below. Watch the video right through. Then think about how the lessons & exercises suggested by Professor Amy Cuddy of Harvard University apply to you & your practice.

See you next post.

James E

What Do Clients Really Want

Marketing tips for accountants (3 of 3)

Here is the last installment of this 3 post series on marketing tips by Harry Kafka @ HDK Consultants.

How do you get prospects interested in changing over to your accounting services?

Let me dispense of a myth first: You don’t make a difference by using superlatives about your own skills and superiority.

See. EVERYONE does that already, so that’s NOT DIFFERENT.

Quite the contrary… by using the traditional marketing & presentation methods only serve to prove conclusively that you’re THE SAME as their current accountant.

He, too, did just that. He told them how great he is, how good his services are… and now the business owner KNOWS it was all “not true.”

What we have to understand here is that the human thinking evolves around self-made truths.

What’s true for him is true… and that’s the long and short of it.

The problem here is that if you try to reason with someone whose self-made certainty is based on a negative FEELING, they just refuse to accept “your truth” and the more you try, the more they’ll stick to their view… and the harder it becomes to convince him or her otherwise.

So the solution is that you DON’T try to “talk sense” to them at all.

Instead, you let THEM tell you how “useless all accountants are…”

The way this is done involves quite a lot of skill though. It needs to be done so that the prospect realises on his own a few things along the way.

See you next post,

James E

Marketing tips for accountants (2 of 3)

Following on from the last post, here is a continuation of the article by Harry Kafka @ HDK Consultants.

WHY THEY DON’T CHANGE ACCOUNTANTS?

As things stand, the “negative ignorance” out there about accounting ensures that business owners do NOT CHANGE accountants easily.

Let’s compare it to a car and the difference becomes evident. Everyone is eager to change their car, provided the car isn’t brand new and they can afford to change… and often even when they can’t.

Why? Well, because a new, better, bigger, faster, fancier vehicle represents POSITIVE things.

They UNDERSTAND the values that come with a better, newer model of an automobile.

Status, pride of ownership, pleasure of the ride, sense of fulfilment… all positive things.

Now, let me assure you that research shows most business owners are DISSATISFIED with their current accounting services.

And yet, they DO NOT WANT TO CHANGE ACCOUNTANTS.

Not only would it be “free of charge” (as the new service would not cost that much more than the one they’re already paying for) but the BENEFITS of a better service would far outweigh any problems of transition… you’d think, right?

But it’s not so.

It’s not so because they’re negative about accounting and emotions take over.

We all know that where people react emotionally, logic goes out the window.

We make silly decisions if upset… and some say we make equally illogical decisions when in love.

Be that as it may, the fact remains that the operating principle with most business owners in this matter is…

“…better the devil you know than the one you don’t.”

Believe it or not, THEIR basic thinking is that “all accountants are the same so why go into the trouble and expense of CHANGING?”

“Once you’ve seen one accounting professional you’ve seen them all,” in other words.

This lengthy explanation actually shows WHY you (like most other accounting professionals) find it so very difficult to acquire new clients.

The problem is that you offer “an identical accounting service” (as seen by business owners) so they don’t see any reason to CHANGE.

You don’t change a dollar to a dollar… that’s the logic here on their part.

To create interest for your services in order to sign on new clients, you need to offer something BETTER.

One more post will round out this mini-series of marketing tips.

Bye for now,

James E

Marketing tips for accountants (1 of 3)

I was doing some research on the web a while back  and came across some excellent material put out by a group called HDK Consultants in the UK. Here is what I found – its is definitely a worthwhile read!

“I was a CFO at a software company, moved back into public practice which I haven’t done since college. Been a year now and have 5 accounting clients. How do I attract business?”

Essentially, there are a few “hidden” barriers to acquiring new accounting clients.

First and foremost, the average accounting / CPA client simply does NOT understand the service he receives.

This is due to his lack of knowledge in accounting procedures and financial planning.

Additionally, the necessity to use accounting services – to keep books, to file annual reports, taxes, collect sales tax and whatnot – is enforced upon him by legislation, and not something he does voluntarily.

I’m not taking a stand for or against taxation or legislation here, merely pointing out that anything we are ORDERED to do under threat of punishment does NOT bring about POSITIVE feelings.

Thus, we have TWO main factors here, both of which make the average business owner negative about all that has to do with accounting.

He doesn’t understand the information he receives from his accountant and he doesn’t like having to pay for it.

Subsequently, he feels negative about his accountant TOO although it’s illogical.

YOU are there to HELP him handle these demands set by the government, YOU didn’t legistlate those laws, right?

Right you are… but here enter the frailties of human thinking where it is based on negative emotions.

“I don’t know and I don’t care” becomes the “defence” against any sensible advise from the accountant.

Tune in next time to read the next installment from the chaps @ HDK!

Bye for now,

James E