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5 Ways Accountants Can Market Themselves on a Shoestring Budget

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There is no shortcut or easy way to get you more clients. But simple marketing techniques could help you stay ahead of your competitors and earn new clients.

There could be nothing like an economic downfall that would remind CPAs and accountants that marketing too is an essential part of doing business.

For sales people, the task is easier; they can run ads, cold call or beat the bushes for referrals. But it’s not possible for CPAs and accountants to go door to door. So how can they attract new clients?

Here are five tired and true marketing strategies that can help market your firm on a shoestring budget.

Regular Blogging Can Help Emphasize Your Niche

Many CPAs and accountants may find it awkward about writing a blog. After all, they are the numbers people who are more involved in handling complicated budgets. But by not having a blog, you are missing out on a lot of opportunities.

Maintaining a regular blog is a struggle for everyone, but it’s especially difficult for accountants with their smaller budgets. They might not afford to have a dedicated copywriter.

Your staff is a wonderful place to start with. Leveraging your employees is perhaps one of the most effective ways to generate high quality content regularly.

Let’s be real – the only reason holding them back to blog is the nagging feeling that this is what they are getting paid for. Good content will not come for free, so offer them gift cards when someone contributes to the blog.

Quick Tip: You can’t make accounting fun, but can make it bearable by writing.

Ask For Referrals, Don’t Wait For Them

This would be one of the most common pieces of advice you would find for accountants. That’s because this is one of the best piece of advice there is. This business model has worked successfully for years.

Most accountants and CPAs are “shy” when it comes to asking for new business. After all, they tend to never learn how to market themselves. But accountants have to do it because they understand how important it is. This is something similar to changing baby’s nappies. Zero fun but has to be done.

Quick Tip: One true secret to get more referrals – Just ask. And don’t wait for next six months after your project is completed. Your existing client could be the fastest route to your next client.

Get Social, Gain Opportunity

Accountants are rapidly embracing the latest technologies to manage their financial activities. Yet, they seem to have not fully embraced the technologies for promoting their services. This could be because of people’s preconceptions of accountancy as a dry profession.

You’re probably ignoring social media because you think it’s a fad. Well, it’s time to stop ignoring social media. It’s not what you think about it. Social media is not just pictures of what you had for dinner or getting in touch with old classmates.

Social media has a business purpose too. These sites are free resources and work best to get the word out. For accountants, LinkedIn is one of the most important sites to be on. It offers an unprecedented access to a wide audience of new clients.

Quick Tip: Gimmicky slogans are now replaced by developing relationships with others, demonstrating your expertise.

A Website That Attracts More Clients

In today’s market, you have to put together a marketing plan and seek out clients proactively. And it starts with online presence. Clients are turning to the web to gauge legitimacy of a company and will require that your practice has a website as a prerequisite to working with you.

Accountants are busy professionals who don’t have much time to waste, particularly in the tax season when most CPAs burn the candles at both ends of the day.

No matter how busy accountants are, they cannot ignore the need to make rain. Consider your website as a sales team that works 24/7/365. They can easily convert idle browsers into leads without lifting a finger.

Quick Tip: A website can be considered as a constant window that allows prospects to explore business any time.

Don’t Market Yourself as an Accountant

One common mistake made by most accountants when it comes to marketing – they sell themselves as accountants. But wait, “I am an accountant”, we can hear the protests. Yes, you’re right. You are an accountant but the bad news is that the majority of your prospects don’t want an accountant. They want the best solution for their problems, a solution that only an accountant can provide.

Most businesses look at things in three ways: is it necessary, how much will it make me or save me?

Companies need you because they have a hole in their business and it would be your job to fill that hole.  This is the golden rule in marketing. You don’t sell features, sell benefits. So, give them what you can offer them, what sets you apart and your range of services.

Quick Tip: You focus on being an accountant while your prospects would focus on what business needs from an accountant.

Wrapping It Up

These are few sound tips to keep your marketing program rolling even during busy season. What is important is that prospects find your name when they are searching for the services they need.

Many accountants, especially those starting out, don’t have lots to spend on marketing. While the old saying – you need to spend money to make money – is true. If you believe in your services, you should be 100% interested to invest in getting your services into the world.

Marketing for accountants could sound easier in theory. It won’t take too long to figure out that it isn’t a piece of cake. Tax season can put all the tasks on hold. But remember that your competitors are always working. If you are not able to find potential clients, someone else will.

Keep your marketing engine revving with new leads.

written by Renuka Rana of Ace Cloud Hosting

Callum Connects

Agnes Yee, Legal & Compliance Recruiter of Space Executive

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Agnes Yee started Space Executive in Singapore, which is a hub for businesses in some of the world’s fastest growing economies.

What’s your story?
After graduation, I joined a design media company as a Business Development Executive, during the era when ‘reading a magazine online’ was unheard of. I believe that laid the foundation for being unfazed by rejections.

I fell into recruitment pre-GFC and rode the highs and lows in the early years. A decade later, I decided to set up my own recruitment company, partly because I could. I’m acutely aware of the face that being an Asian female in Singapore is sometimes a privilege, and that many women in the world are living a very different existence.
Thereafter, we joined Space Executive as part of a merger. I am currently the Partner of Space Executive, a recruitment company focused specialist disciplines, including Legal, Finance, Digital, Sales and Marketing and Change. We also run Space Ventures, a venture capital business, which invests in seed and pre-series A businesses.

What excites you most about your industry?
On a daily basis, we’re influencing how one spends a third of their day. It is interesting how the Internet has transformed the industry, and I’m excited to see how we can harness technology to bring us to the next phase of this business.

The VC is an extension of applying our skills and experience in reading people. We very much invest in the people as much as the idea. Being a native Singaporean, it’s been exhilarating watching Southeast Asia becoming a hotbed of ideas; and young entrepreneurs simply daring to dream.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I’m a born and bred Singaporean. I love that I speak both English and Mandarin, grew up playing with Indian friends and eating Malay food.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore for the low barriers of entry to set up a business, but has to be China (and Hong Kong) for their hunger and constant innovation.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
青春不要留白 which translates to ‘Don’t waste your youth.’

Who inspires you?
Anyone who has gone against the grain.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
It wasn’t recent but reading the article on https://waitbutwhy.com/2015/12/the-tail-end.html never fails to blow my mind how little time we have left. Charting our lives in weeks, and realising I only have enough time left to enjoy 60 Christmas turkeys, read 300 books (all if I’m lucky); and mostly, I’m left with the last 5% of the time that I spend in-person with my parents.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I’m cognisant that every decision I made in life has brought me to where I am today, and I wouldn’t change one thing. But I’d really like to have had more time to travel.

How do you unwind?
Exercise and wine.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Trekking any mountain in Asia. It brings us back to the most basic. To overcome elements of nature and our own mind.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Start with Why, Simon Sinek

Shameless plug for your business:
Space Executive started in Singapore, a hub for businesses in some of the world’s fastest growing economies. We assist organisations in accessing a targeted and specialised, and often times transient talent pool.

Out of Singapore, we have recruited across 14 countries; and have embarked on our global expansion plans with offices in Hong Kong and London this year, and US, Japan and Europe in the following years.

Space Ventures provides funding, management and financial guidance to young businesses with original ideas. We have invested in peer to peer lending platforms, credit scoring, social media education, and other start-ups spanning diverse industries. We are always interested in hearing more about new ideas.

How can people connect with you?
https://www.linkedin.com/in/agnesyee/

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

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Callum Connects

Chrystie Dao-Szabo, Founder of iPayMy

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Chrystie Dao-Szabo founded iPaymy for Business – a secure and easy to use
platform enabling SMEs to pay rent, salaries, invoices, and even corporate tax using the credit cards they already have in their wallet today.

What’s your story?
I’m Chrystie Dao-Szabo, and I’ve worked as an international banker for over 22 years. During that time, I travelled through Asia, Australia and Europe, and everywhere I saw how my clients struggled with managing their finances and keeping cash around.

I wanted to use my experience to help them, but I also knew the solution they needed didn’t exist yet. This pushed me to give up on my secure career, and instead look into the innovative world of FinTech for an answer.

This is how I founded iPaymy – at its launch, a platform to help consumers pay their monthly expenses using their credit cards. We’ve grown a lot since, and today, iPaymy for Business is a platform that allows business owners to use their credit cards to pay for rent, salaries, invoices and taxes, freeing up their cash for business-critical operations.

What excites you most about your industry?
What excites me most about FinTech is it’s culture of constant disruption, thanks to cool and innovative products and services coming out every day.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born in Vietnam, grew up in Australia and worked in Asia, Europe and Australia. Being raised by traditional Vietnamese parents meant that deep down I was still an Asian at heart, so I have a strong connection with the region.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore of course. It’s easy to do business, English is the main language, and the infrastructures like public transportation are great. Also, the government supports local innovation in multiple ways, like giving grants for SMEs and FinTechs.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Keep giving, and one day you will receive.

Who inspires you?
My parents. My father had a successful business in Vietnam just before the fall of Saigon in 1975. After the war, my father was sent to a re-education camp for three years, which meant my mum had to bring up two young kids – a 3-year-old, me and my 4-year old brother on her own.

In 1980, we all fled Vietnam on a boat and arrived in Sydney, Australia via refugee camps in Indonesia and Singapore. There, my parents had to start over with nothing to their names and only AUD 50 given to them by the Australian government.
They went on to build several businesses in Australia!

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
The number of young and smart people who have carved out successful careers by founding their own startups (or joining really cool ones). When I was starting out my career, doing any of these was not a viable option; it was either working for an accounting firm, an insurance company or a bank.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
If I were starting out my career now, I would choose the path of joining a startup as you get to learn so much about running a business and how to assemble a winning team.

How do you unwind?
I like travelling to a beach or a resort destination and just relaxing by the pool or beach. I also like to unwind after work with a glass of champagne or wine, and a bowl of truffle fries.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Thailand. I love the people and the spicy Thai food.

Everyone in business should read this book:
The E-Myth. It’s a book series that dismantles common myths about entrepreneurship in different industries.

Shameless plug for your business:
With iPaymy for Business, SMEs can pay rent, salaries, invoices, and even corporate tax using the credit cards they already have in their wallet today. SMEs love iPaymy because it works like a credit card, but pays like cash.

iPaymy’s secure and easy to use platform reliably delivers payments to vendors while freeing up cash and providing access to interest free credit. Forget the delays and aggravations that come with traditional SME financing options. Schedule recurring payments, manage invoices, set payment reminders, and monitor payment status all from one dashboard.

It’s never been easier for SMEs to meet monthly payment obligations while keeping cash available to fuel growth, bridge receivable gaps, and make immediate investment in the supplies, services, and expertise needed to drive a growing business forward.

How can people connect with you?
You can find me on LinkedIn or contact me by email.
My LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chrystiedaoszabo/
My email: [email protected]

Twitter handle?
https://twitter.com/ceedeees

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

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