Are you a genuinely proactive accountant?

Being genuinely proactive can be a huge selling point, as Shane Lukas of AVN for Accountants explains

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Does the word ‘proactive’ feature on your website? Do you tell potential new clients ‘we’re proactive’ as one of the benefits of working with you?

If so, you’re not alone.

A quick search on Google shows that hundreds of accountancy firms say they are proactive – some of them even incorporate the word into their name.

But what does it actually mean?

None of the websites I’ve looked at explains exactly how they are proactive and what that means for their clients. So it becomes a meaningless term, just another piece of marketing blurb that prospects dismiss because so many accountants use it.

 Here’s what I believe being proactive means:

  • You make recommendations without being asked. Genuinely proactive accountants pick up the phone to their clients and present them with opportunities monthly and quarterly.
  • Your recommendations are relevant to the client, not generic. Otherwise, what’s the point?
  • Your recommendations are valuable – they have clear benefits to your client.
  • Your recommendations are free (in the first instance).

That last point might be making you feel a bit nervous. You want to earn more fees, not less!

But that’s not what I mean. What I mean is: although you should take the time to present a recommendation, there’s no need to carry out rigorous investigations immediately. Simply suggest that it might be prudent and timely for your client to have these investigations or work carried out. Tell them what they should do, not what they should buy from you.

For example, let’s say a client of yours is about ready to incorporate. Don’t say ‘We recommend you incorporate’, or ‘We recommend that you pay us to work out how much you could save by incorporating’. Instead try ‘I’ve taken a preliminary look and I think now might be a good time to incorporate your business. Our initial estimate is that it could save you £2,000 a year, or a total of £50,000 between now and when you retire, so I recommend you take a good look at all the pros and cons.’

By doing this you’ve been proactive, you’ve spotted and presented an opportunity, and now you’re recommending that they incorporate. Your next question can simply be ‘Would you like some help with that?’. If they say yes, you can discuss your fee for investigating the pros and cons for them.

Instead of just saying you’re proactive, why don’t you prove it?

If you are genuinely proactive, your website (and brochures and any other marketing material) should state what that means for your clients.

For example, do you proactively benchmark their performance against others in their sector? Do you suggest ways to improve their profitability? Do you regularly send them business improvement tips sourced from industry experts?

Those are tangible actions that make it easy for your clients and prospects to understand what you mean when you say you’re proactive.

And it’s even more effective if you have testimonials from other clients, explaining how this approach has helped them.

Being a genuinely proactive accountant is a huge selling point for you – as long as your clients know what it means.

Download your free copy of my best-selling book for accountants, Putting Excellence Into Practice.