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 the inner city like East LA, you will attract businesses and individuals in that immediate area. If you locate your office in a suburban location, make 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 location 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 matters.
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.