Accounting Marketing

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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

Restaurant Accounting and Tax Compliance

RestaurantRestaurant businesses constantly juggle staff turnover, inventory management, and operating costs in order to stay profitable and ahead of the competitive pack.  In fact, today’s competition is not only the newest restaurant in town but it often means competing against food trucks and food delivery (Uber, Amazon, and Google).

To help restaurants make better decisions, minimize taxes and avoid compliance issues, the savvy restaurateurs align themselves with CPA Firms that specialize in the food and beverage industry rather than the closest CPA Firm nearby.  With today’s technology, specialized advice trumps location when it comes choosing the right CPA Firm for your business.

Restaurant - bar imageHere are several CPA Firms that specialize in the food service industry and work with all types of restaurants, bars and hotels.

1. CPA Accounting for Restaurants – Florida Panhandle – Pensacola – Turner CPA works with all formats within the food and beverage industry.  Tallahassee to Pensacola and Alabama as well.

2.  CPA Accounting for Restaurants – Indianapolis – Garrison Sims CPA works with independently owned restaurants, franchises, catering, bars and brew pubs throughout Indiana.

3. CPA Accounting for Restaurants in Long Island NY – James Castaldo CPA & Associates works with restaurants, bars, brew pubs and hotels across Long Island.  They understand the need to limit costs, minimize compliance issues, and financial reporting requirements to help your business operate more competitively.

4. Hospitality Accounting in Georgia – Roe CPA works with hotels, golf clubs, restaurants and bars throughout Georgia and understands the needs and demands for various hospitality formats.  In some cases, a focus on internal controls is key and others need to focus on operating costs.

5. Restaurant Accounting in Northern California – Chahal & Associates works with franchise restaurants, family owned restaurants, hotels and bars across the Bay area.

6. Restaurant Accounting in Houston TX – Mike C Manoloff PC is a leading CPA Firm for restaurants, bars and nightclubs in Houston providing restaurant accounting, tax and payroll services.

7.  Hospitality Accounting for Restaurants, Bars and Hotels in Atlanta GA – Delerme CPA works with all types of restaurants, lodging and night clubs throughout Atlanta.

More custom design examples of restaurant accounting websites.

Rest Acctg4 - video

 

Oil and Gas Accounting Expertise

Oil Gas CPAThe petroleum industry has been steadily rebounding and has been a primary economic driver in Texas.

However, accounting for the oil and gas sector requires additional expertise and decades of experience.   That’s why many energy businesses in Texas reach out to McKinnon Patten CPA.  McKinnon Patten has been helping oil and gas clients for over fourty years, which very few CPA Firms can say.

To be a long term player in the oil patch, you need to balance risk and uncertainty.  That’s why experience in a dynamically changing marketplace is imperative.  The original founder of McKinnon Patten CPA was a roustabout in West Texas oil fields and later served as a senior executive in Sun Oil Company.  The oil patch permeates all aspects of the CPAs at McKinnon Patten.

If you are searching for additional guidance from your CPA Firm and would like additional connections to open doors, contact Mark at 214-696-1922.

 

 

 

 

What’s Wrong with Your Sales Process?

The sales process can be arduous when you have a steady flow of leads coming into your office and plenty of existing work sitting on your desk.  Between the appointments that stand you up and unproductive consultations, many accountants get discouraged with the process and wonder how to perfect it.

Conceptually, the sales process is an upside down funnel (a.k.a. inverted pyramid) that has several layers which lead-gen-funnelyour prospects must go through.  In other words, you start with a wide base of leads and the prospects work way down the funnel to a tiny spout at the bottom when you close clients and bring them into your practice.

Much to my surprise, most small accounting firms struggle with separating the wheat from the chaff (e.g., qualifying leads), how long it takes close prospects, and then wonder why diamonds are not dropping thru the spout of the funnel.

Breaking your sales process into individual steps makes it much easier for non-sales professionals to appreciate how the process (or dance) works.  Below is an illustration of twelve steps that you can take to capture more diamonds.

Step 1 – Define your target audience into monthly buckets – Rather than target businesses based on proximity to your office location, target businesses by industry sector (e.g., restaurants, lawyers, manufacturing, wineries, etc.).

field-of-dreamStep 2 – Build your “field of dream” – To establish yourself as a subject matter expert, develop a niche website which establishes your firm as having an expertise within an industry.  Build a compelling story to address their pain points.  To overcome their skepticism, acquire certifications and/or become a member of an association which gives them the confidence to hire your firm over their current “generalist” accountant.  In other words, the niche website should become the needle in the haystack they are searching for…

Step 3 – Craft a targeted message – Develop a direct mail letter that speaks to your target audience.  You want a letter that is compelling and identifies with the problem that keeps the prospect up at night and how your service helps to solve this problem.  The most effective message will have emotion and passion wrapped into the letter, not industry jargon.

Step 4 – Send a follow up message – Develop another letter that builds upon your first letter.  If need be, break the target audience into sub-targets (e.g., break general construction into HVAC, electricians, painters, roofers/siders, etc.).  Craft a letter targeting this specific subsegment (e.g., HVAC/plumbers), not to the general construction industry.  Hit this audience 3-5 times within a six month period.

Step 5 – Qualify ALL leads generated – As the leads come into your office, ALL leads must be pre-qualified by answering a series of questions before you agree to a meeting.  Start the selling process on the phone before meeting in person.

Step 6 – Add ALL prospects to your LinkedIn profile – Add each new lead to your LinkedIn profile.

Step 7 – Add ALL leads to your email newsletter list – All existing clients and prospects should be getting your email newsletter.  This will add value to your relationship and educate them on the breath and depth of your services and keep your firm top of mind.  Even if they don’t come on board after your initial consultation, keep them on the list.  They may come on board many months later or refer someone to you.

Step 7 – Keep a running list of all leads generated and status on a spreadsheet – Every lead that comes into your office should be recorded onto one spreadsheet with the source of the lead, date, contact info, service requested, quote, and next steps.

Step 8 – Send follow-up letters to promising leads from 1-3 months ago – For those consultations that are pending and getting cold, it’s time to warm them up and send them a letter that keeps them luke warm.  Customize it around their situation and why they should get started now.

Step 9 – Call the luke warm prospects again – Make a follow-up phone call to your prospects that are still on the fence (e.g., prospects you met 2-6 months ago).  Try to identify why they haven’t taken a step forward and address their fear.  Try to make the move risk free for them and address their inertia.  Get them to take a baby step forward.

Step 10 – Invite the old prospects to meet you for coffee – Send an email and invite the fence sitters from 6-12 months ago to coffee.  Create a compelling reason to get together and mention that you have something to share with them (e.g., free book or special report) that is relevant to their business and can help them improve the quality of their life.  Soften up the approach and use the meeting as a vehicle to discuss their business in this economy.  Operate like a business coach trying to help them oversee their business, not an accountant.

Step 11 – Send invitations to clients and prospects for upcoming events – Create a prospect event that is informational in nature.  For some events, you can be the presenter and others can be done by outside professionals.  The more you make the event specific to their industry, the better off you will be in getting them to attend.

My point is that the selling process is ongoing because some prospects take 1-3 years to close while others are instantaneous.  Yes, the courting process takes ongoing effort to remain top of mind and overcome their inertia.  The challenge is to recognize that the process is not transactional, it’s evolutionary and takes a series of steps to capture more than your fair share of new business.

Marketing Is Not a Department

marketing-deptIn small businesses, marketing is what YOUR business is all about. That’s right, there is no such thing as a marketing department in a small business.

Yes, I fully understand that marketing is not your forte and most accountants hate marketing.  However, marketing is the heart of every successful business.  And if you do it well, your business will grow easily each and every year despite the overall economy.  Quite frankly, marketing enables you to continuously improve the “quality” of your practice and grow at the pace you desire.

Marketing is the responsibility of each business owner, regardless of the industry.  And when done well, shrewd business owners turn their employees into marketing evangelists, to spread the word and generate word-of-mouth advertising and referrals.

To give you a classic example of grass roots marketing, think about Harley Davidson in the early 1980’s and the phenomenal turnaround they accomplished against competitors like Kawasaki, Honda, and Yamaha who were underpricing Harley and providing higher quality motorcycles.  While Harley made enormous investments to improve their manufacturing operations and product quality, they were facing the fight of their lifetime to stay in business.  Their advertising budget was zero from 1984 to 1996.   However, they created a groundswell of support by creating the Harley Owners Group (HOG) and creating a sense of community.  Using newsletters and club magazines, they managed to grow from one HOG chapter in 1983 to over 1,300 chapters around the world (over 750,000 members).

Keep in mind, I don’t ride a motorcycle but this is truly a classic example of using grass roots marketing to help a company turn around their business.

To improve the quality of your accounting practice, embrace marketing holistically and turn your employees into evangelists.  Marketing is what YOUR business is all about!

 

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