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The ultimate cheat sheet on growing your accounting firm

Posted by  on 02 November, 2017   3 minute read

The accounting industry has always been a vital contributor to the country’s economy. In 2016, it not only provided career opportunities to 1.25 million accountants and auditors in the US but also generated an impressive revenue of USD 94 billion from 2009 and 2014.

Not only this – 1.4 million accounting professionals are projected to join this industry by the year 2022 (Statista, Mar 2017). It is a fact the number of people using accounting services in the US has gone down in the recent years. But this hasn’t stopped CPAs from starting their own firms. There are about 42,000 accounting firms in the US, and the number is at a rise.

Have you taken the plunge and set up your own accounting firm? Congrats! Are you a fast growing accounting firm? Good to know! Has your CPA firm hit stagnation? Uh oh! Running an accounting firm is “never not challenging” and if you don’t have an expansion strategy, your business might run into muddy waters.

Let us take a look at five steps you can take to scale your accounting firm:

1) Dive into paid and highly targeted marketing

No matter how big or small your accounting firm is, it is imperative for it to be supported with marketing. Gone are those days when marketing involved sticking paper ads on the office window. Today, marketing a business on all major channels has become a norm.

 If you want to ensure your business expands, explore paid marketing besides just focusing on organic methods. Conduct a market research. Study your prospective clients’ movements on your website, their social interactions and email responses to run paid LinkedIn campaigns or Adwords.

People in general respond well to situations carved specifically for them. Potential clients will not come to a business that isn’t digitally ‘out there’. Re-think your marketing strategy.

Also read: Ways to enhance your CPA firm’s marketing potential

2) Promote company culture and staff success stories

The biggest catalyst for business growth is the work culture. When a business is new, publicizing its services makes sense. But when a firm has spent a substantial period of time in the market, the best strategy involves promoting the culture and employee testimonials.

Why? Because it is the people who drive a business. Therefore, spread awareness about the employee-centric activities and the overall happiness quotient of your staff. Use social media to do the needful.

Accounting is such a profession wherein you and your staff have to attend informative seminars and give exams to stay updated. Your employees would want to work with a firm where the employees are genuinely happy in their jobs, and not miserable.

Therefore, don’t compromise with the company culture if you are looking at long-term growth.

3) Re-brand

Your job as an accounting firm owner doesn’t stop at establishing an authority in the market, among your employees, clients and prospects. It also means you have to consistently find ways to up your game – and this also includes refreshing the brand image.

Why? Because “change is the only constant in life”. Through rebranding, your accounting firm will not only be able to remain relevant in your industry but also connect with new audience. A rebranded company reflects new goals, products and values, and this in turn boosts business growth.

Also read: Why your accounting firm needs a brand identity

4) Diversify to new target markets

Although it is advised to set the tone of a new business by specializing in the sector you best understand, scaling up happens faster when you also get a grip on other industries and leverage that opportunity.

Take Deloitte for example.

It is currently the #1 accounting firm in the US with an annual revenue of $13,067 million! Deloitte provides audit, tax, consulting, enterprise risk and financial advisory services and has employed more than 263,900 professionals across the globe.

But when it was first established in 1845, Deloitte was solely into auditing work. When it saw an opportunity to branch out to other sectors, it did and it succeeded.

The point is don’t stop at offering services to just one business. It may be best to stick to just one thing till your firm gains a certain level of stability. But once you have that, diversify to newer markets.

5) Outsource tedious accounting jobs

Doesn’t it make sense to get accounting support from an external company while you can focus on more innovative tasks? Of course, it does! Outsourcing is a wonderful option when you don’t have enough employees on board and too much overflow work in hand or when you just want to create more time to focus on expanding your core business.

There are so many providers of accounting services that will help you eliminate staff shortage, scale your practice and drive revenues by managing books, processing payroll and filing tax returns. Get rid of low-margin and time-consuming activities and get started on making your practice more profitable.

Also read: 5 concerns CPAs have about accounts outsourcing

6) Run referral programs for your clients

While your candidates are important, taking care of clients is also crucial. We are in an age of influencer marketing where client decisions are increasingly being based on their own experiences and those of others who have engaged with your firm. Therefore, you must keep them happy.

Get feedback from the current clients on what worked and what didn’t, and steadily fix all loopholes. If you have started to offer new services, present them at a discount to your clients. Find new and innovative ways to stay in the good books of your clients.

And when you do, run referral campaigns. Ask them to refer other potential customers who may require your services. Expand your network by banking on client testimonials. Word-of-mouth is a powerful medium.


Accounting is one of the most dynamic and relevant aspects of a company. To ensure your business continues to succeed, be adaptable to changes depending on where your business situation is like. Good luck!