Why rejecting clients can save you money, plus the vital business function your firm is missing

A recap of our first Accountancy Firms Business Breakfast.

Seven take-homes from the first SKS Accountancy Firms Business Breakfast

Our inaugural Accountancy Firms Business Breakfast gathered practices from North West England to hear from expert speakers and exchange invaluable peer-to-peer advice.

Here’s what we learnt:

1.You can afford to be picky (it will even save you money)

All business is not necessarily good business: demanding customers are a costly drain of time and resource. This includes those who ignore advice, are late with information and use dated (or no) technology. It is time to look honestly at your customer list and remove inefficiencies.

2. You are almost certainly under-valuing yourself

On a similar theme, if you accept customers who want a quick tick-box service don’t be afraid to send them to a different practice. Know that your value (and most lucrative income stream) lies in expertise, strategy and advisory.

3. You need a marketing function

Marketing isn’t just for the Big Four; it is essential to attracting quality leads and employees. A dedicated head of marketing (or specialist agency) removes partners’ workload and has the specialised skills to better promote your practice.

4. Cloud adoption is less prevalent than you think

It is easy for tech-savvy practices to assume that their clients have adopted cloud accountancy software, such as Xero. However, a surprising number still use internally hosted systems or even paper. Helping them upgrade can drive efficiencies for them and you.

5. Aim for advisory over admin!

Senior accountants in short-staffed practices are getting bogged down with box-ticking tasks, such as payroll and bookkeeping. As a result, firms are losing out on higher-fee (and more interesting) advisory work. Outsourcing these basic tasks enables partners to focus on growth and is a cost-efficient way of adding ‘extra hands’ during busy season to prevent team burnout.   

6. Employees want to know what you stand for

Firms are competing for the best candidates amid a UK accountancy skills shortage. And it’s not just down to pay: what work-life balance do you offer? What are your values? What about benefits? Working on your ‘employer brand’ is essential to successful recruitment.

7. Your clients’ most significant challenge is uncertainty

Inflation, a cost-of-living crisis, unstable geopolitics, and a forthcoming general election…your clients’ biggest worry is uncertainty. Accountants can help alleviate this by providing financial strategy, scenario planning and regular reporting.

8. UK accountants are underusing technology

Compared to markets such as New Zealand and Australia, UK accountants are reluctant to use technology, such as data capture tools for receipts and payment gateways. Practices that adopt these tools have the competitive advantage of offering clients deeper data analysis.

Meet your peers and hear from the experts

Our event showed the power of meeting face-to-face in the new world of video calls and hybrid work. Join our next event to continue exchanging ideas and benefiting from peer support.

Event Dates

Tuesday 12th March – Manchester (Deansgate) – 8:00am – 10:00am

With thanks to our speakers

Conrad Ford – Chief Product & Strategy Officer, Allica Bank

Ian Phillips – Head of Partner Sales,  Xero

Steve Darnell – Director – Virtual Finance Director, VDF Pro

Want to attend our next event?

If you would like to register your interest in attending either of our next event on the 12th March 2024 please get in touch with Steve Grigg via steve.grigg@sksbusinessservices.com.