The lazy accountants´ guide to winning work (hacks that don´t work and 5 that do!)

Finding the time to expand your accounting practice while managing day-to-day responsibilities can feel like an uphill battle. And we know this first hand! At the Accountants’ Growth Club and AGC Digital, we’ve worked with enough accountants to know that winning work and business development are among the top challenges. For the vast majority, it is finding the time to do it (and do it consistently), and for others, it’s focusing on the right tasks – the ones that will generate the most bang for their buck.

If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “There must be a better way to do this…”, then this article is for you. We’ve seen what works and what doesn’t in the quest for growth, so here is our guide to winning work as an accountant. 


Winning work as an accountant – the challenge

a woman hiding her face to represent the difficulties of winning work as an accountantWinning new work is an essential part of growing any accounting practice, but it’s often easier said than done. For accountants running their practices, the challenge is not just about finding new clients but finding the time to do so effectively. Between managing current client portfolios, keeping up with the latest tax laws, and handling the myriad of daily administrative tasks, carving out time for proactive business development can seem almost impossible.

While most accountants know what needs to be done – strategies like finding a niche, optimising your business profile, and using social media are not new concepts – knowing isn’t the same as doing, especially when time is your most scarce resource. So, how do you commit to growth-focused activities when your schedule is already overflowing? And how do you actually prioritise these growth activities when your day is already packed with plenty of urgent and important tasks?

First, we´ll show you what not to do.


Hacks that DON’T Work

In the pursuit of growth, it’s tempting to latch onto quick fixes and so-called hacks. However, not all shortcuts lead to success. Some strategies, while popular, may actually do more harm than good.

Here’s a closer look at what you should avoid:

1. Don’t invest in basic LinkedIn ads

While LinkedIn can be a goldmine for professional networking, merely throwing up basic ads without a targeted strategy or compelling message is like casting a wide net and hoping for the best. Such ads often fail to resonate with your specific audience and can result in wasted resources with little to no return on investment.

The truth is that the accounting landscape is crowded and competitive, so standing out requires a lot more than just basic ad placements. You need to be strategic with your marketing and create engaging content with a clear call to action. Once you´re speaking directly to your niche, you´ll soon see results from your marketing efforts. There will be the right kind of leads for you to nurture and build relationships with and they will be far more likely to convert.

a woman with her thumbs downa

2. Dissing other accountants

It might be tempting to criticise competitors to make your firm look better, but this approach is fraught with risks. Negative commentary about other accountants can be seen as unprofessional and could even turn potential clients off.

The accounting community thrives on professionalism and respect, so it’s better to focus on your unique value proposition and let your work speak for itself.


3. “We pay for referrals” in emails

Please please please don´t offer monetary rewards for referrals in your client communications. There´s a difference between asking a client for any referrals after you´ve provided them with excellent service and having this statement in every email. In short, it cheapens your service and devalues the strength of what referrals actually are – genuine word-of-mouth recommendations from people who love your service and want to help others.

Building genuine relationships based on trust and outstanding service is a more sustainable approach to generating referrals.

Read: 5 types of referral friction you need to overcome if you want a reliable stream of referrals from your introducers


4. Networking for the sake of It

Networking is a vital part of business development, but aimless networking without clear objectives or genuine engagement is inefficient. Attending every possible event or meeting without a strategy can lead to burnout, missed opportunities, and wasted time.

Now, we´re not saying not to network. We are just saying don´t attend events just because you feel like this is the done thing to winning work as an accountant. Instead, strategically select events that you feel will be most valuable (for example, what events will potential clients or good connections be attending?), and then set yourself clear goals for each interaction and focus on building meaningful, mutually beneficial relationships.(Read: Work the room: how to network confidently and make the right impression)


Solutions for effective growth in your accounting practice

Now that we´ve covered what not to do, here is what to do. When winning work as an accountant, you need to spend your time on high-value tasks – the things that will drive growth – so here is what you should focus on.

1. Plug your leaks

a leaky pipe to represent plugging leaks when winning work as an accountantIt can be tempting to dive straight into winning work when focusing on business development, but the most valuable first step is actually to do a thorough internal assessment to identify and ‘plug’ any leaks. These leaks can take various forms, such as digital presence, operational processes, client communication strategies, and service delivery.

  • Operational efficiency: Review your internal processes for any outdated or cumbersome procedures that might be slowing down your team. This could include manual data entry, repetitive tasks that could be automated, or convoluted approval processes.
  • Client communication: Examine how you communicate with your clients. Are there consistent touchpoints? Do clients have a clear understanding of the services you provide and the value they receive? Regular, transparent communication can enhance client relationships, leading to higher satisfaction and retention rates.
  • Service delivery: Assess the quality and range of your services. Are there additional needs your clients have that you’re not currently meeting? Could you offer more specialised services that could set you apart from competitors?
  • Digital infrastructure: Beyond the website, consider other digital tools and platforms you use. This includes your social media presence, online appointment booking systems, client portals for document sharing, and your overall online footprint. Each digital touchpoint should offer a seamless, user-friendly experience that reinforces your brand’s values and professionalism.
  • Physical presence: If your practice operates from a physical location, ensure that the office environment is welcoming and professional. The physical space should reflect the quality and nature of your services and provide a comfortable and confidential setting for client meetings.
  • Team engagement: Don’t overlook the importance of your team’s engagement and morale. A motivated, well-supported staff is more likely to provide exceptional service that keeps clients satisfied and loyal. Regular training, clear communication of goals, and recognition of achievements can all contribute to a positive workplace culture.


2. Deepen relationships

At the core of any thriving accounting practice is the strength of its relationships with clients. Far more than just a retention strategy, nurturing these connections opens doors to collaborative opportunities and broadens your impact through referrals.

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  • Building trust with tailored services: Trust forms the foundation of every strong client relationship, and this is cultivated by genuinely understanding and addressing each client’s unique challenges and ambitions. That´s why, with every client we work with at AGC Digital, our first step is to create detailed client personas. Once you have these, you can easily customise your services to meet their specific needs and adapt your marketing strategy to talk directly to their problems, positioning you as their solution.  
  • Expanding your role through additional services: Engaging in regular, meaningful conversations with your clients will reveal opportunities where you can offer further support. Whether it’s guiding them through strategic financial planning, improving their cash flow management, or assisting with the complexities of succession planning, you can easily be proactive and upsell other services you provide, elevating your role from a service provider to a valued advisor.


3. Outsource strategically

Consider outsourcing tasks that are outside your core expertise or are low-value, such as certain administrative duties, basic compliance work, or even some aspects of marketing.

This is where specialists, like the Accountants’ Growth Club and AGC Digital’s marketing experts, come in. We can handle these aspects more efficiently and effectively, allowing you and your team to focus on high-impact work and advisory services.


4. Delegate authority

Delegating authority to team members in their areas of expertise does more than just enhance efficiency and job satisfaction; it’s a strategic move that frees up your time as a practice leader. This empowerment allows you to focus on broader business growth initiatives and strategic planning.

By entrusting your team with decision-making responsibilities, you create a self-sustaining environment where the practice can thrive even in your absence on specific tasks. This not only develops your team’s skills and confidence but also ensures that your practice is resilient, adaptable, and poised for growth.

As team members take on more responsibility, you gain valuable bandwidth to explore new business opportunities, develop innovative services, and engage in high-level networking that can propel your practice forward. (Read: Delegation tip for accountants: Learn to delegate authority not tasks)


5. Use our Check-Up Tool

doctor with a stethoscope to represent winning work as an accountantLast but not least…if you want to win more work, you need to know what´s currently working in your operations and processes and what´s not. And that´s where our Check-Up Tool is invaluable. By answering multiple rapid-fire questions in specific areas, you will:

  • Have a comprehensive overview of your practice’s current state in critical areas like client personas, visibility, content strategy, account management, and more.
  • Identify gaps in your sales and marketing strategies, and get clear guidance on how to attract more of the right kind of clients and grow your practice effectively.
  • Receive a tailored report with actionable insights and resources. This will act as your personalised roadmap, helping you refine your approach to business development.
  • Be able to confidently take steps to enhance your practice’s market positioning and client acquisition strategies, as we will provide specific recommendations and resources to help you do so.

By addressing these key areas, you can create a more streamlined, efficient practice that not only retains current clients but also continuously attracts new, high-quality business. Remember, growth isn’t just about working harder; it’s about working smarter and making strategic choices that align with your long-term vision for your practice.


Take the Business Development Check Up

Grow your Practice the smart way, not the hard way

Growth in accounting doesn’t mean working harder; it’s about working smarter. So, if you were among the accountants thinking, “There must be a better way to win work,” try these five strategies we outlined above.

By identifying what´s not working using our Check-Up Tool, fixing what’s not working, building better relationships with clients, outsourcing low-value tasks, and giving your team more responsibility, you can grow your practice without the extra stress.

Ready for easier growth?

We’ll make your marketing work smarter, not harder, getting you the right clients with less hassle.