The modern accounting practice is a very different beast to firms that have operated in the past. A growing shift towards advisory means client onboarding, marketing strategies, and high-level services need a greater focus. Which means your practice can’t consist solely of staff who will pump out tax return after tax return.
The changes the industry is seeing requires you to look at staff roles and responsibilities that you wouldn’t even have heard of, let alone considered in years gone by. Here are five that you need to take your practice forward.
Social media coordinator
Your inbound marketing plan must include a social media strategy to help promote your brand, communicate your messaging, and engage with existing clients. You might ‘own’ profiles across the popular platforms, and post something every now and then, but this isn’t enough. Don’t make the mistake of overlooking the importance of your social media needs—remember most people now rely on the Internet to discover a new business or service.
With one team member responsible for this, who actually has the time and expertise to put thought into what you’re communicating, you’ll be comfortable in the knowledge that your brand is being represented consistently, professionally and often.
Client onboarding specialist
It cannot be understated how pivotal the client onboarding process is. A new client who has a positive early experience with you will be more likely to stay with your firm long-term, and you’ll have a greater chance of successfully up-selling your services or gaining referrals from them down the track. The time client onboarding takes also affects your other processes and the bandwidth of your team as a whole.
These days, there’s a high chance you’re asking clients to learn new systems or processes. So with the onboarding period being so important, it makes sense that you do everything in your power to ensure they pick everything up as quickly and smoothly as possible. And the most foolproof way is to have a client onboarding wizard who will manage it all.
Today we have a dedicated outbound sales team, a business development function, a marketing team, and a customer success team. While the majority of our team are still accounting professionals, these new roles have allowed us to scale the business at a much more rapid pace.
Another essential part of your inbound marketing plan is content. Well-crafted and original content will position you as an expert in your area of focus, increases your search engine rankings, gives your business a personality—there are many benefits. You need someone in your team who can coordinate and create this.
To be effective, content needs to be produced regularly. A person trusted with the responsibility of managing this is the only way you can ensure you’ll produce relevant and high-quality material often.
You have an excellent opportunity to expand the value you are providing to clients by assisting them to choose, adopting and use the right systems available to them. A specialist in this area will set you apart from your competitors.
Someone with expert IT skills can also help to identify the best solutions for your team amongst the growing app ecosystem, and guide the implementation of a new system internally. And trust us on this one—this role will only become more important.
This is the one role that no matter what size your firm is—you simply can’t afford to go without. If your practice is like most others, the focus for your team is predominantly on output—for everyone. While the work is obviously essential, you can’t neglect your strategy and direction, so you need a leader who is freed from delivering services who can focus on your overall strategy and leading your direction from the front.
Your practice needs a CEO to be responsible for this, who can provide vision and lead from the front, without being bogged down with a need to produce work.
Your practice might be on the small size, or without resources to add new team members right now, but that’s not an excuse to neglect any of these roles. While they’re all important, they don’t necessarily need to be full-time roles or the sole responsibility of the person who fills them. For example, you might look asking one team member to take on social media responsibilities for five hours a week to begin with.
What we’re saying is that you simply must provide the time and resources for these areas, and have at least one team member who is capable of managing the processes involved. Each of these roles will play a key role in gaining great clients, maintaining the smooth running of every process, and ensuring output is of the highest quality your clients will expect.
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