This post is odd.

But relevant to every firm I’ve ever met in 14 years of working with accountancy firms.

It’s odd because I’m suggesting (insisting) that your accountancy firm’s marketing success depends on your accountants capabilities.

See what you think…

To be worthy of notice your firm must exceed the expectations of your clients.

· Fall short of expectations and you aren’t worthy of notice in a way that will earn the loyalty of your existing clients

· Fall short of expectations and you fail to prompt existing clients to recommend you so that you easily win new clients.

· Simply meet your client expectations and the same result (no recommendations) is the result.

Exceeding client expectations is the key to your success.

Exceeding client expectations is a big subject.

Let’s narrow the focus for this post with a few questions:

· How fast do you produce a set of annual accounts?

· Slower or faster than your clients expect?

· Do you actively set client expectations so that you can demonstrate how well you exceed their expectations?

· How seriously do you measure whether you’re surpassing client expectations or not?

The most consistent performer I’ve seen averages an annual accounts job turnaround time of 18 days from ‘receipt of books/records’ to ‘draft accounts with client’.

Your clients’ value of your annual accounts service diminishes as you move away from their year end date – they simply get less and less relevant to the business owner.

Plus, you give the business owner less and less time to get their cash in place to pay their corporation tax bill.

Earn the right to greater success at your firm…

When and if you tie clients’ expectations to their year-end date you create an opportunity to surpass expectations and earn the right to greater success.

In a recent growth meeting with a prosperous sole practitioner accountant we reviewed his production capabilities. We quickly analysed how many sets of limited company accounts were completed within 3 time frames:

1. Within 3 months of the business year end date

2. Within 3-6 months of the business year end date

3. Within 6-9 months of the business year end date – just before filing deadline

This firm completed most (80%) of his annual accounts in less than 6 months. He’s going to work out how many fall within 3 months and how to improve this performance.

How do your production capabilities stack up?

What’s the value of your accounts production that’s complete within 3 months of client year end dates? What’s the value of annual accounts that’s complete in the 3 month run in to the filing deadline?

The opportunity

Your reputation partly depends on your production capabilities.

How do you measure production capabilities so that you exceed client expectations?

Do you have conversations with clients about their expectations?​

​If you want a great way to set up conversations with your clients about their expectations check out the 4-page, quick-and-easy-to-read, report on Client feedback here.

Paul Shrimpling