If you’re like most other tax and accounting firms, you’re always looking for ways to grow your business and reach new customers. For a tax firm, business growth often lies in offering services beyond traditional tax advice. Similarly, accountants should be prepared to help their clients with matters that exceed standard accounting issues.
The key to better serving clients and expanding your business is forming partnerships. By intentionally forming strategic partnerships and developing a network of trusted partners, tax and accounting professionals will be equipped to help their clients with everything from legal advice to financial planning, building customer loyalty in the process.
Forming Strategic Partnerships
While an accounting or tax firm would ideally like to handle every client need that might ever arise, that’s not always realistic. Tax and accounting professionals are generally experts in exactly those areas, but your clients have needs that extend into a variety of spheres. For example, clients regularly need advice on things like financial planning, business formation, legal issues, or employee benefit plans – all things that exceed the expertise of most accounting and tax firms.
What you should position yourself to be able to do in those circumstances is refer your clients to other experts in those areas. The most efficient and beneficial way to handle referrals is to create a network of partners that you know and trust, and who are experts in the specific needs of your client base. When questions beyond your expertise arise, you can immediately refer your clients to those experts, improving the customer experience and increasing the satisfaction of your loyal clients.
Through strategic alliances, unrelated firms can leverage a pool of expertise to provide a wider range of services and diversify their client base. Legal advice, for example, is a critical service that every client will need at some point, but one that an accounting or tax firm cannot provide. However, by referring those clients to a great lawyer, you’ve just made their day easier. Clients will remember that additional level of service and will be more likely to continue working with you in the future for their tax, accounting, and compliance needs, rather than considering making a move to a competitor firm that lacks strategic partnerships.
Of course, referrals through your strategic partnership network go in both directions. Just as you might refer a client to a trusted law firm when they need legal advice, that law firm will refer clients to you when they’re in need of tax or accounting expertise. The combined support system not only allows clients to thrive and solve their biggest problems, it allows tax firms and their strategic partners to grow their businesses in a time when markets are competitive.
Building the Right Partnerships
Chances are, you can already name some of your clients’ biggest pain points – some may be things that you address every day, and others may be issues that continue to arise that are beyond your expertise. Getting to know your clients is the best way to address their needs and ensure that they remain clients.
Once you know what those needs are, start reaching out to your contacts in those areas – firms or individuals with whom you’d want to build long-term, trusting relationships. Again, in addition to lawyers, consider professionals like financial planners, business formation specialists, experts in employee benefits plans, and more. Building the right network of partners who understand each others’ businesses and share the same goals can take a traditional tax firm to the next level of customer service.
The relationships you create with your strategic partners can define your own firm’s success going forward. Trust is integral to building a loyal customer base for tax and accounting services. Strategic partnerships will empower you to build upon that trust and grow your business, improving the customer experience in the process.