Accounting Marketing

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Does the Location of My Accounting Practice Matter?

If you want to develop a high quality clientele gradually over time, the location of your office matters.  Ideally, you will want an office location that is near businesses that you’ll ideally want to attract into your practice.  In other words, if you locate your practice in a glitzy part of town (Wilshire Boulevard, Park Ave, Michigan Ave, etc.), you will attract businesses and individuals in that immediate area.  If you locate your office in a suburban location, make absolutely certain the location has a population large enough to support your growth goals and demographically, it matches your ideal client.

While your accounting practice does NOT need a retail office space with walk-in traffic, the physical location does matter in today’s digital world.  In other words, when someone is searching for a CPA or accounting firm near their business location, you will want your accounting firm to be located nearby because most business owners “feel” that they need an accountant nearby in the event of an emergency.  Perception does matter.

By this, I mean that you can be located on a second floor or third floor of an office building to avoid paying retail office space pricing but the physical location should be near the businesses that are in your target audience.  Also, the location should be near the center of the city.  If you want to be towards the top of the list on Google/Bing/Yahoo when someone is doing a search, you need to be physically near the location the searcher requests.  With geographic targeting capabilities improving all the time, it is becoming far more challenging to dupe the search engines if your actual location is not in the city being requested.  In other words, you can’t claim to be located near Times Square in New York City when you are actually located in Staten Island or New Jersey.  Yes, I understand it is relatively close in miles (from your perspective) but the prospect wants a firm near Times Square, not someone in Yonkers.  The days of saying you are located downtown when in fact you are 8-15 miles outside the city are over.  And if you are successful duping the search engine, the prospect will eventually find out and dump you before you get to establish yourself as the trusted advisor.

With the explosion of smart phones and tablets, increased sophistication of search engines, combined with prospects becoming more adept at searching, the location of your accounting practice is become more and more important.  Location matters now more than it has in the past.

Increasing Conversion Amongst Visitors to YOUR Website

Generally, 98% of visitors to your website never take that next step to complete the sale.  In other words, they read a couple pages on your website, may like what they see, but don’t call or register on your website.  If you think about your own behavior, this probably makes sense to you as a prospective buyer.  In other words, you like to browse online for tons of information and prefer to shop online incognito.

As a business owner, what proactive steps should you take to increase the number of inquiries and target your advertising to people who are actively shopping for accounting and tax services?  Have you considered behavioral retargeting?

Behavioral Retargeting

Retargeting Adv2Behavioral retargeting (aka – remarketing or retargeting) is a form of online advertising targeted to consumers based on their previous internet shopping behavior.  In other words, suppose you were shopping online for an SUV and noticed that you were all of a sudden seeing lots on ads for SUVs.  In fact, the ads were for Jeep, Toyota Land Cruiser and Ford Expedition, all of which you were seriously considering.  Is this a coincidence that you were seeing tons of online advertising after visiting the Jeep, Toyota Land Cruiser and Ford Expedition websites?  No, this would be an example of behavioral retargeting where these brands have placed a cookie onto your browser after you visited their website, and they are now targeting ads based on your potential interest.  This is behavioral retargeting, at its best.

Basically, retargeting is serving ads to people after they left an advertiser’s website.  Retargeting pinpoints advertising to prospects soon after they visit a website and is very effective.  Retargeting helps companies advertise to visitors who leave without making a purchase – which is approximately 98% of all website traffic.

Early Adopters of Retargeting

Z - Oil and GasimageTo help accountants generate more leads from the internet, Build Your Firm has been using remarketing for years to help accountants improve the quality of lead generation and increase the quantity of leads.  This is particularly true for those that have niche accounting services because the ads are extremely targeted, and stand out.  For example, if someone is searching for an oil and gas CPA firm and conduct a Google search, they will easily find McKinnon Patten & Associates as a leading provider of oil and gas accounting services.  Regardless of where the prospect comes from, they will probably land onto the McKinnon Patten website for oil and gas services, a cookie is placed onto their browser, and they will see McKinnon Patten oil and gas advertising for over the next thirty days.  This targeted advertising raises the awareness for McKinnon Patten and encourages them to return back to the oil and gas website.

Another example would be a restaurant owner in Indiana who wants to hire a CPA firm that specializes in Z - Rest Acctgaccounting for hospitality businesses.  They may have conducted a search for a CPA and landed onto Garrison Sims CPA Group website, which targets hospitality businesses.  And for the next thirty days, they will see Garrison Sims CPA advertising as they navigate the internet. The retargeting advertising will elevate awareness of Garrison Sims amongst restaurants, hotels and bar businesses, and attempt to bring them back to the website to create the lead.

In summary, retargeting increases lead generation amongst prospects who are actively searching for accounting and tax services by keeping your brand name front and center.  And, it seeks to bring “window shoppers” back when they are ready to buy.  If you would like to generate more traction amongst visitors to your website, consider using retargeting.

Refinancing Student Loan Debt

Z - RefinancingWhen was the last time you took a close look at your student debt? If you’re like most borrowers, particularly those with six figures of student loan debt from graduate school or MBA programs, you probably shudder at the thought.

Chances are, you set up a loan repayment plan after graduation and figured you’d revisit it “later”—say, when you’re making more money, when your career is more secure, when you have more time.

With the skyrocketing price of advanced education, the recent graduates owe lots of money.

          Average Principal Loan Balance

Dental school grads                                        $200,078

Medical school grads                                      $169,775

Law school grads                                            $100,454

Veterinarian school grads                               $ 68,598

This approach is understandable, since after receiving your undergraduate or graduate degree your focus is on other things (like building a career that will help you pay off your loan balance). But if you let that nebulous “later” date turn into “never,” the repercussions can be costly. At some point, refinancing your student loans could save you a significant amount of money. You just need to figure out if you’ve reached that point.

So how do you know when it’s time for a student loan debt check-in? Here are four factors that should prompt a second look:

  1. Your current student loans have high interest rates.

The first thing you should look at is the interest rate that you’re paying on your student loans, particularly federal (direct) unsubsidized loans, federal Graduate PLUS loans and/or private loans. These loans tend to have higher interest rates than federal subsidized student loans, and you may be able to find a lower interest rate private loan option.

Depending on how high your loan balance is and how much you can cut that interest rate, your cost savings can be significant.

  1. Your financial situation has improved since you took out the loans.

You were likely a starving student when you first applied for your student loans, but ideally your financial situation has improved with time. This is great news for your bottom line, because a higher credit score and income level are key to helping you qualify for a lower interest rate.

And if you expect to stay on an upward financial trajectory, you might even consider refinancing with a variable rate student loan. Variable rate student loans typically offer lower interest rates than fixed rate loans; however, the rate is tied to prevailing interest rates, which are very low today but should go up over time. The upshot is that these loans are usually best suited for qualified borrowers who intend to pay off their loans at a relatively fast pace.

  1. You don’t get any advantages from federal student loan benefits.

Certain types of federal student loans offer perks that should not be overlooked before considering refinancing. If you’re a borrower who is a teacher, enters the military, or goes to work in the public sector, you’ll want to read the fine print on your federal loans to see if you qualify for federal student loan benefits (such as potential loan forgiveness) before you consider refinancing.

Some federal loans can also offer relief for borrowers that experience financial hardships (such as loan deferment and graduated/income-driven repayment plans). If you expect your income to be unpredictable, it’s usually a safer bet not to refinance federal student loans that are eligible for these benefits. But if you aren’t able to take advantage of any of these federal student loan benefits listed above, refinancing could be a good option.

  1. You’re about to take out a loan for a mortgage or other large purchase.

For loans like mortgages, lenders will take a look at your FICO score/general credit rating before moving forward with your application. To get the best interest rate on a mortgage, you’ll want to improve this score as much as possible before proceeding. Buying a new home or taking out another loan for a large purchase could be a good time to refinance your student loans for a lower interest rate, because it could help you get into better financial standing to get a good rate on loans like a mortgage, too.

If you’ve answered yes to these four questions, you may be a good candidate for student loan refinancing. The next step is to do a little research by checking out several private loan providers to compare interest rates and other features.

The market leader for student loan refinancing is SoFi.  We recommend you start there as there.  They offer rates as low as 2.615% APR for variable, and 3.35% for fixed rate loans.

Strength Training for Accountants

Strength T2Just like a fitness nut requires various techniques and novel approaches to perform at their best, accountants need strength training as well to constantly raise the bar and strive to become the best provider for their niche audience.

Developing a niche within your accounting practice requires new ideas from industry thought leaders, shared best practices, and a motivational push to take your team to the next level.  That’s right, doing more of the same does not cut it in a competitive marketplace.

For example, Build Your Firm is hosting a Dental CPA Summit in San Diego immediately after tax season and fourteen (14) CPA Firms will be attending from all over the country.  The keynote speaker will be the largest dental law firm in the country providing updates on legal matters impacting the dental industry.  Another speaker will be a Dental CPA Firm sharing the techniques they have developed to create a robust network that feeds a steady flow of dental leads to his practice year around.  And another speaker will cover a software program to support profit coaching techniques.  The collective goal is that we want each of these accounting firms to become the best coaches for their dental clients locally because we fundamentally believe that “a rising tide lifts all boats.”  If you want to become a Dental CPA Coach, visit the Dental Accounting Association.

My point is that to become the best in your local market, you need to constantly learn new techniques, build a little muscle, and be pushed outside of your comfort zone on things you would never try on your own.  The process for strengthening your niche is a combination of mental enrichment, muscle building, and experimenting with some new techniques.  Just do it!

Dental CPA Summit in San Diego – Speakers Announced

Immediately after tax season, the Dental Accounting Association will host a Dental CPA Summit in San Diego, CA on April 21, 2017.  The educational workshop will provide Dental Accounting Association members with legislative updates AAO Annualand dental practice management coaching insights to improve our collective capabilities for the dental industry.  On April 22nd to 25th, the Dental Accounting Association will also have a booth at the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) Annual show which is expected to attract 15,000 orthodontists.

Z - Bassim headshotBassim Michael, CPA will be our first featured speaker covering best practices for dental practice coaching.  Bassim Michael is the owner of Only for Dentists which has been providing dental practice accounting, tax planning and profit improvements services for over ten years.  Within California, Bassim frequently speaks to dentists on topics ranging from retirement planning, business valuation and various other dental topics.

P WoodOur keynote speaker will be Patrick Wood, founder of the largest dental law firm in the United States, Wood & Delgado, servicing over 5,000 dentists.  Patrick has been helping dentists for over 35 years with emphasis on dental transitions, lease reviews, partnership agreements, and related dental transactions.  Patrick is a frequent speaker at dental conventions, dental societies and dental schools.  Currently, Patrick provides fifteen practice transition seminars throughout the country.

 

Dental Accounting Association

Logo - PNGThe Dental Accounting Association is a network of CPA Accounting firms located in North America focused on elevating the quality of dental practice accounting, tax reduction planning, and financial management.  Each member of the Dental Accounting Association is committed to providing the tax reduction planning services, dental practice profit improvement coaching, and benchmarking.  Particular emphasis is paid to minimizing your taxes legally by taking full advantage of the tax laws.

Each Dental Accounting Association member delivers these services on a fixed fee basis to avoid hourly billing surprises. Each member of the Dental Accounting Association is a licensed CPA firm, typically close in size to most dental practices (e.g., mostly single owners, occasionally two partner CPAs) and actively speaks to dental study clubs, dental schools and dental associations.

The Dental Accounting Association was founded by Build Your Firm.  Each participant in the Dental Association participates in the outsourced marketing program that Build Your Firm provides to many accounting firms throughout the United States.

 

 

Transportation Accounting – Often Overlooked Expertise

In uncertain economic times, every advantage counts.

TruckingThat’s why savvy transportation businesses are searching to work with CPA Firms that specialize within the broader transportation industry.  That’s right, all aspects ranging from trains, trucks, boats, airplanes, couriers, freight forwarders and intermodal containers.  And as you might suspect, the accounting and tax rules for maritime accounting are radically different than aviation and rail and trucking.  And often, manufacturing and distribution companies are using various combinations of transportation carriers to squeeze costs out of the system.

With legislative changes around the corner, it pays to align yourself with the best regional CPA Firm that focuses on transportation accounting.

Transportation CPA Accounting

Shipping ContainersGraber & Associates is a CPA Firm focused on providing accounting and tax solutions for manufacturing and logistics firms using various combinations of transportation.

  • Cargo consolidators
  • Freight forwarders
  • LTLs
  • Ports
  • Truckload companies
  • Bus, shuttle and taxi fleets
  • Boat marinas and maritime freight providers

To learn more, contact the Transportation CPA team at Graber & Associates.

Dental CPA Summit – Strengthening Your Niche Capabilities

Logo - PNGTo improve upon our dental practice coaching capabilities and strengthen our niche offerings, the Dental Accounting Association will be headed to San Diego immediately after tax season.  All members of the Dental Accounting Association will be in attendance sharing best practices and hearing first hand from dental industry experts on dental practice management, fraud prevention, dental practice benchmarking, profit improvement techniques and legal challenges for dental practice owners.

AAO AnnualImmediately following the Dental CPA Summit on dental practice coaching, we will attend the American Association of Orthodontists Annual from April 22nd to April 25th meeting prospective orthodontists from North America.  The trade show is expected to attract 15,000 orthodontists into the San Diego Convention Center.  The Dental Accounting Association will have a booth that will be collaboratively staffed by members of the Dental Accounting Association (all independently owned CPAs).

The Dental Accounting Association is a collaborative group of CPA Firms that are focused on tax savings, practice benchmarking and profit improvement for dentists.  Each member of the Dental Accounting Association provides fixed fees (no hourly billing) and works with the dental specialists such as:

Dental Room

Dental Practice Management Coaches

Dental Law Firms

Dental Transition Brokers

Dental Practice Real Estate 

Dental Loan Providers

In fact, our keynote speaker for the Dental CPA Summit is Patrick Wood, founder of the largest dental law firm in the United States, Wood & Delgado.  Patrick will be providing a Dental Legal Update so all Dental Accounting Association members understand the changing legal landscape for dental practice owners.

 

Outsourced Marketing for CPA Accountants

All members of the Dental Accounting Association are independent CPA Firms scattered throughout North America.  Each member CPA Firm works with Build Your Firm (BYF) in the Outsourced Marketing Program.  BYF has been providing Outsourced Marketing and Coaching for over twelve years and is the leader within the accounting industry for outsourced marketing and lead generation programs.   This Dental CPA Summit is the second annual in-person meeting and is supplemented by regular educational webinars throughout the year.

To learn more about BYF’s Outsourced Marketing comprehensive system, visit our Outsourced Marketing video library.  BYF’s Outsourced Marketing Program extends well beyond the dental and medical industry.

International Tax Alliance for Multinational Businesses

Intl Tax AllianceThe International Tax Practitioners just relaunched their online presence and continues to expand their global footprint.

The international tax global alliance dates back to 2013 and consists of independent accountants and tax lawyers who are focused on international taxation as goods and services become more global in nature.

If you are searching for international taxation guidance, then this website is well worth investigating.

Intl Tax Alliance Flags

CPA Accounting Firms for Lawyers and Attorneys

Law Firm 2Just like there are all kinds of law firms and specialties, the same applies to the CPA Firms.  There are generalists and then there are specialists who provide additional expertise to law firms.  Below are examples of CPA Accounting Firms that focus on the legal industry and provide additional guidance to

Law Firm Accounting and IOLTA Compliance – Maryland CPA – Graber and Associates – Graber and Associates has operated since 1993.  They have two offices locations to better service lawyers throughout Baltimore, Annapolis and greater Maryland.

Law Firm Accounting – New York City CPA – Mark Feinsot CPA services law firms throughout the Tri-State region of New York.  They have two offices in New York City.  Mark has been a CPA for over twenty years.

Law Firm Accounting – Chicago – 1st Chicago Accounting services law firms throughout Chicago.  They have three office locations to conveniently service busy law firms.

More examples of law firm accounting websites designed by Build Your Firm.

Law Firm3

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