For accountants the past few years have all been about moving forward. Several blogs have been suggesting accountants be one with technology. But it raises a question: is technology all that accountants need to keep going? Certainly not. There is more to accounting than just cloud accounting and online accounting software.
Connections play an equally significant role in taking accounting to the next level. Businesses run on connections and every new business coming forward with fresh ideas will need an accountant backing it up. There are legal formalities, forms to fill, finances to be taken care of, and business owners often have to chance their arm in accounting.
So, Are Connections Benefitting Accountants Alone?
Certainly not. Connections can act as the heart and soul of a business. Especially, when those connections are meaningful, a business can multiply manifold. The same applies to accountants and accounting firms. A simple concept can be applied here: firms need accountants for effective business management and accountants need to identify these firms. With every new accountant entering the industry, there are many more startups coming up.
How Do Connections Work?
Connecting with people and building networks is not a one-man job. There is more to building connections. An accounting firm needs investors to guide and business owners to help with their accounts. This will all look good when the right clients meet with the right accountants. There are a number of ways in which connections can be built:
The Role That Social Media Plays
Social networking is an old concept. Be it the mercantilists or the entrepreneurs of today, building connections has always been the top-notch strategy for business growth. If you want your business to be profitable, you need to let people know you exist. And what’s the best platform to demonstrate your presence? The social networking sites. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, Vimeo are some of the common sites that have taken networking by storm. They are helping businesses:
- In building connections
- In finding leads
- In spreading information
- In giving out knowledge
- In creating a credible image
Business owners can create profiles on these social media sites. You can join chat groups, connect with people delivering services similar to yours, educate people about the services you provide and generate leads. Several surveys have concluded that businesses actively participating on social media reported that their presence was felt more after coming on social media.
Conferences and Seminars That Bring Together Professionals and Business Owners
So what did businesses do before social media came into existence? They attended social gatherings. Accounting firms often conduct seminars, conferences and social events to bring together accountants from all over the country on a single floor. These conferences are open for business owners, young entrepreneurs, and startups as well. Such platforms are great for lead generation, for meeting prospects and for finding the right resources.
Collect As Many Business Cards As Possible
When you meet your prospective clients, collect their business cards. This is one practice that every experienced accountant follows. Business cards may not always be useful, but you never know what your client may ask for and when. Being prepared is key to a functional relationship with all of your clients.
If you meet a prospective client or an associate at one of these conferences or meetings, make it a point to contact them within a couple of days. Just a text message or an email will be enough to sow the seeds of a long-term relationship with these prospects.
So you met a young entrepreneur at a social event, you indulged in small talk and during the conversation, he mentions needing help formulating future plans. You can either pick up on the hint or you completely ignore it and move forward.
What an alert accountant will do is follow up. Successful people know the value follow-ups carry. It helps in rapport building, tells the clients you are responsible, makes them feel valued and visible, and in a completely indirect way you let them know that you are available. A casual ‘how is everything?’ and ‘Let me know if help is required’ can be a winning move for you and your firm.
Social Presence Will Take You A Long Way
Social media platforms, conferences, and seminars are one way to expand your circle. Another great method of stealing the limelight is being an active part of social events. Not exactly talking about yard sales, but several accounting firms conduct events here and there either to raise money for social causes or to generate awareness.
Accountants must make it a point to attend these events, take part or rather conduct one themselves. Being a responsible citizen will help strengthen relationships. It will help you in two ways:
- Give you a platform to build connections
- Help you develop a good impression
The Power of Writing
A vast majority of accountants today understand the value of informative blogs. The percentage of accounting firms using the power of the word to pitch in clients has also increased in recent years. Content proves to be a great channel for educating people about your services, for helping them to clear their doubts, for sharing information etc. Qualitative and informative blogs are a great way of developing a credible image for your firm and letting your readers know the kind of expertise you offer.
Last But Not The Least
As mentioned earlier, businesses need human connections, and building a network needs hard work and consistency. Collecting thousands of business cards is no longer enough and online presence is not all that is needed. You have to push boundaries, make time to mark your presence in social events and value your commitments. Create your presence in as many areas as possible: no matter virtual or real.
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