As I was watching reruns of the legal drama series “Suits,” one quote from the character Harvey Specter really resonated with me. When asked what to do when someone puts a gun to your head, he famously replied, “You take the gun, or you pull out a bigger one. Or, you call their bluff. Or, you do any one of a hundred and forty-six other things.”
What’s interesting is how applicable this quote is to the challenges faced by CPAs and Accounting firms today as they navigate the rapidly evolving landscape of the future of accounting. These professionals are facing intense competition not just from other firms within the industry but also from non-traditional sources.
The AICPA’s 2022 PCPS CPA Firm Top Issues underscores this point, revealing that competition from other practices or professions is one of the top concerns for CPA and accounting firms over the next 5 years.
To succeed in this new environment, CPAs and Accounting firms must embrace innovation and constantly adapt to new technology, changing regulations, and evolving customer demands. This means they must be willing to take bold, proactive steps and explore new, unconventional strategies beyond what has traditionally been done. Ultimately, those who can think creatively and take decisive action will be the ones who grow their CPA practice and thrive in the future of accounting.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the key competitive business strategies that CPAs & Accounting firms can adopt to thrive in the future of accounting.
Competitive Business Strategies for CPA & Accounting Firms to Stay Ahead
- Develop Niche Specializations
By focusing on a particular industry or service area, CPA firms can differentiate themselves from their competitors and position themselves as experts in that field. This can lead to higher fees, more significant client referrals, and increased brand recognition.
Some potential future niche areas are:
- Sustainability accounting: With an increasing focus on sustainability and social responsibility, CPAs with expertise in sustainability accounting can help organizations track and report on their environmental and social impact.
- Forensic accounting: Forensic accountants investigate financial fraud and other crimes, making this an important niche area that is likely to continue to grow in demand.
- International taxation: With businesses operating globally, CPAs with expertise in international taxation can help organizations navigate complex tax regulations in different countries.
- Mergers and acquisitions: As companies merge or acquire other businesses, CPAs with expertise in this area can help with due diligence, financial analysis, and other key aspects of the transaction.
- Healthcare accounting: With the healthcare industry growing rapidly, CPAs with expertise in healthcare accounting can help organizations navigate complex regulations and financial challenges unique to the industry.
- Real estate accounting: Real estate is a complex and highly regulated industry, making CPAs with expertise in real estate accounting highly sought after. No wonder, accounting firms that have diversified into this are faring well in the tumultuous market
- Nonprofit accounting: Nonprofits have unique accounting and financial reporting requirements, making CPAs with expertise in nonprofit accounting highly valued in this sector.
- Family office accounting: As wealthy families seek to manage their wealth and finances, CPAs with expertise in family office accounting can help them with tax planning, investment management, and other key areas.
- Cybersecurity: As cyber threats continue to evolve and become more sophisticated, CPAs with expertise in cybersecurity can help organizations identify and mitigate risks to their financial and other critical data.
- Blockchain and cryptocurrency: As more businesses start using blockchain and cryptocurrency, CPAs with expertise in these areas can help ensure compliance with tax regulations and other legal requirements.
Here are steps to help you specialise in any of the above niche areas and grow your accounting practice with ease:
- Identify a niche area: Start by identifying a niche area that aligns with your interests and skills. Consider the industries you have experience in, the types of clients you enjoy working with, and the specific services you excel at providing.
- Research the niche area: Once you have identified a potential niche area, research it thoroughly. Read industry publications, attend relevant conferences and seminars, and speak with other experts in the field to gain a deeper understanding of the market, trends, and challenges.
- Develop your expertise: To become an expert in your niche area, you need to continually develop your knowledge and skills. Consider obtaining specialised training and certifications, attending webinars, taking online courses, and seeking out mentors and coaches to help you improve your expertise.
- Build a strong network: Networking is critical in any industry, and it is particularly important when you are trying to expand your accounting expertise and business in a niche area. Attend industry events, join relevant associations, and participate in online forums to connect with other experts and potential clients.
- Market your services: Once you have established yourself as an expert in your niche area, it’s time to market your services to potential clients. Create a website, publish articles and blog posts, and develop a social media strategy to help build your brand and attract clients who are looking for your specialised expertise. A solid strategy to grow your CPA business!
- Continually improve: The world of accounting is constantly evolving, and it’s essential to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and technologies. Continually seeking out new learning opportunities, attending seminars, and connecting with other experts can help you stay at the forefront of your niche area and provide the best possible service to your clients.
- Build Strategic Partnerships
CPA firms can also stay ahead of the competition by building strategic partnerships with other businesses and professionals. By collaborating with other professionals, CPA firms can expand their service offerings and provide clients with a more comprehensive solution. Strategic partnerships can also lead to new client referrals and opportunities for growth.
There’s the list of potential strategic partners:
- Attorneys: Attorneys often work with clients on legal and financial matters, making them natural partners for CPAs.
- Financial planners: Financial planners help clients with investment planning, retirement planning, and other financial matters, making them a potential source of referrals for CPAs.
- Insurance agents: Insurance agents work with clients on risk management and insurance needs, and can refer clients to CPAs for tax and financial planning.
- Bankers: Bankers can refer clients to CPAs for financial planning and tax preparation, while CPAs can refer clients to bankers for financing and other financial services.
- Business brokers: Business brokers work with clients on buying and selling businesses, and can refer clients to CPAs for financial analysis and due diligence. A partnership that will help both parties grow.
- Marketing agencies: Marketing agencies can help CPAs with branding, digital marketing, and other marketing initiatives, while CPAs can help marketing agencies with financial analysis and tax planning.
- Human resources consultants: Human resources consultants work with businesses on staffing, benefits, and other HR-related matters, and can refer clients to CPAs for payroll and tax compliance.
- Real estate agents: Real estate agents can refer clients to CPAs for tax planning and financial analysis related to real estate transactions. Partner with a realtor to discover more ways to grow your CPA business in 2023!
- Technology consultants: Technology consultants can help CPAs with IT infrastructure, software selection, and other technology-related matters, while CPAs can help technology consultants with financial analysis and tax planning.
- Industry associations: Industry associations can provide networking opportunities and referral sources for CPAs who specialize in particular industries.
- Chambers of commerce: Chambers of commerce can provide networking opportunities and referral sources for CPAs who serve businesses in a particular area
Steps to build strategic partnerships are similar to identification of niche areas. Here are some of the major ones:
- Identify potential partners: Start by identifying potential partners who can refer clients to you. This can include other professionals in related fields, such as attorneys, financial planners, and insurance agents, as well as businesses in complementary industries.
- Research your partners: Before approaching potential partners, do your research to understand their needs, target clients, and areas of expertise. This will help you tailor your approach and build a stronger relationship.
- Develop a value proposition: Once you have identified potential partners, develop a value proposition that highlights how you can help their clients and add value to their business. This could include specialized accounting services, tax planning, or financial analysis.
- Initiate contact: Reach out to potential partners via phone or email and introduce yourself and your services. Be clear about how your accounting firm can help its clients and how a partnership could benefit both parties.
- Meet in person: Once you have made contact, try to schedule an in-person meeting to further build the relationship. This can be a great opportunity to get to know each other and explore potential partnership opportunities.
- Formalize the partnership: If the initial meetings go well, formalize the partnership with a written agreement that outlines the roles and responsibilities of each party, referral fees, and any other important details. Solid paperwork and understanding will help both parties grow in the future!
- Nurture the relationship: Like any relationship, a strategic partnership requires ongoing effort to maintain. Stay in regular contact with your partners, refer clients to them when appropriate, and look for opportunities to collaborate on joint marketing or educational events.
- Evaluate the partnership: Finally, regularly evaluate the effectiveness of your partnerships to ensure that they are still delivering value. If a partnership is not meeting your expectations, consider ending it or pivoting to a new approach
- Offshore! Offshore! Offshore!
The significance of offshore accounting services cannot be stressed enough. It is not just because we excel in providing efficient and world-class offshore accounting services, but also because it continues to be the most valuable player for your business. Regardless of your personal preferences, offshoring is a constantly growing trend that cannot be ignored. Therefore, it is crucial to accept and harness its potential, in order to maximise the growth of CPAs and accounting firms.
Offshore is here to stay, and it is an essential aspect that should not be overlooked. It is not just about the top-notch offshore accounting service that we provide, but also about the immense potential it holds for your business. With its continuous growth, it is imperative to embrace offshoring and make the most of it, in order to fuel the growth of your CPA firm or accounting business.
For CPAs and accounting firms to prioritise their specialisations and cultivate strategic partnerships, they need to have ample bandwidth to devote to these initiatives. This is where offshoring comes in as a vital component, as it provides the additional resources necessary to focus on and leverage their strengths.
By outsourcing certain tasks to an offshore team, CPAs and accounting firms can free up valuable time and resources to invest in their core competencies and build beneficial partnerships. This approach can help ensure that they are able to provide top-notch services to their clients, while also expanding their reach and building a competitive edge in the market
Watch what the leading bookkeeping firm of South Florida has to say about Finsmart Accounting
- Embrace Technology
One of the most significant changes in the accounting industry is the increased use of technology. CPAs must embrace technology and use it to their advantage to stay ahead of the competition. Technology can automate tedious and time-consuming tasks such as data entry and tax calculations. It also provides real-time financial information, improves accuracy, and reduces the likelihood of human error. Furthermore, technology can help CPA firms collaborate more efficiently with their clients and offer new services, such as data analysis and business consulting. This is why thousands of accounting firms in the USA are embracing tech in a big way.
Read our Guide in Adapting Emerging Technologies that can help you embrace and grow with technology.
- Focus on Client Experience
In the future of accounting, the focus will be more on the overall client experience rather than just providing traditional accounting services. CPA firms should strive to create a positive and memorable client experience by understanding their clients’ needs and offering tailored solutions. This can be achieved by providing personalised service, offering value-added services, and being available and responsive to clients’ needs.
It’s easy to talk about, but much harder to put into practice. Nonetheless, we have provided a comprehensive approach in the article for managing client expectations and needs
- Foster a Culture of Innovation
To thrive in the future of accounting, CPAs & Accounting firms must foster a culture of innovation. This means encouraging creativity, taking calculated risks, and embracing change. Firms should strive to implement new technologies and processes, develop new services, and create a dynamic work environment that attracts and retains top talent.
In the words of Harvey Specter, “Winners don’t make excuses when the other side plays the game.” So, instead of making excuses, take action and pursue one of the strategies available to grow your accounting firm’s business and outperform the competition.
At our outsourced accounting firm, we are dedicated to supporting the growth and success of our clients. So, if you’re ready to take your CPA or accounting practice to new heights, we are here to provide the guidance and resources you need to achieve your goals. With our assistance and your perseverance, there is no limit to what you can accomplish.
Connect for Accounting Offshoring Support
Finsmart Accounting with its 15 years of outsourced accounting space uses its own proprietary framework called DPPT – Definition, Process, Precision & TAT that has been the success mantra for supporting the firms in the US to stay ahead of the competition.
By partnering with an experienced offshore bookkeeping services provider in India like Finsmart Accounting, CPA firms can access a team of professionals who are knowledgeable about the latest technologies, up to date with ever-evolving accounting norms, and also domain experts in US accounting.
In addition, offshoring can also help to streamline operations, reduce costs, improve the overall quality of services provided to clients, and manage risks.
Share your thoughts
Would you like to know more about managing risk effectively to grow your accounting business or CPA practice? Start the conversation below or check out our recent blogs on offshore accounting:
Ensuring data confidentiality & security
Tips to engage the best bookkeeping outsourcing company in India
2023 strategies to expand accounting business
India entry services to expand and scale in India
Director Growth Strategy & Alliance at Finsmart Accounting
1. Thriving in the Future of Accounting: Strategies for CPA Firms to Stay Ahead
2. The Art of Managing Client Expectations in CPA & Accounting Industry
3. Adapting Emerging Technologies in Your CPA Firm: 2023 Guide
4. Navigating Accounting Regulatory Landscape: A Challenge for CPA firms
Maanoj Shah is a finance and outsourcing expert with strong Business Strategy and Scaling-up experience. Over the last 20 years, he has incubated multiple businesses and helped build global enterprises in verticals as diversified as hospitality, technology, and healthcare.