Should your accountancy firm have an app?

Look, I know it’s the latest fad, and every marketer-to-accountants is telling you that having an accountancy firm app is the latest and greatest thing which will bring clients to you in droves.

That’s just not true.

As I’ve mentioned before, there is no “magic marketing wand” for accountants (or any other type of business) that will bring clients to you in droves.  Granted, you may over time discover something that works brilliantly well for you – which is great! Perhaps telemarketing does actually bring you good leads. Or your Google adwords account is starting to tick over nicely.  Or Twitter is beginning to show a return you didn’t expect.

The point is, when choosing your marketing focus, what works for other accountancy firms is not the easy answer.  Yes, what these guys did over here may be helpful. It may work for you, and by all means give it a try.  But think hard about that new accountancy app, because from what I can tell, many of them are simply a carbon copy of the brochure-style website that so many accountants have, with tax updates and tax tips and generic advice. (Read why your clients don’t care about that.)

Apps are used when they are useful.  Are you really thinking about how this app will be practically useful to your clients, or are you thinking, “Hey, everyone has an app, I should have an app, it’s not that much to get one for my firm”?

If you want a really useful app, by all means get one built for your firm.  Create one that is unique to whatever your firm does really well – overseas property owners, or creative agencies, or restaurants.  Inheritance tax updates that relate to a particular target market.  A community app that connects them to your local area, and your firm.  Something along those lines may just appeal to the type of people you want.  Then you can add to the app the accounting and tax elements that are exactly what those people need.

Naturally, analytics are helpful here.  Check the downloads of your app, or the number of times it is accessed. Listen out for what your clients are saying.  If everyone is saying, “I love this app so much, thank you!!” – then by all means keep it!

But don’t get an app just because it is a new thing.

Here are my tips whether you have an app or not:

If you have an app for your accountancy firm already:

  • Check the stats.  How many downloads have you had?
  • Check in with your team. What do they hear from clients? Are people mentioning the app? Struggling with it? Appreciating it?
  • Talk to clients directly.  Do they like the app? Do they use it?
  • Download the app yourself. Keep it on your phone, and check in regularly. Does it work well? Do YOU think it’s useful?

If you’re considering an app for your accountancy firm:

  • Think about your target market. Who are you trying to reach? If you know that, it will help you identify what should go in the app.
  • Think about your clients.  What have they said they most want from you?  Again, this will direct what goes in the app.
  • Look around at what is working for a variety of businesses – not just accountants.  Could an online appointment scheduler be of more use? Live chat on your website? An out-of-hours phone number?
  • Talk to your clients. What do they appreciate most about your firm, and how can you embed that into an app?
  • Do you run events? Can you make it super easy for people to register using the app – and even view event resources and video?
  • Get specific.  Put into your app a focus on specific tax advice or issues.  Or create an app unique to a target market or area.

Many of the accountancy firms we work with start with a content marketing strategy for these reasons – because until you are crystal-clear about who you’re focusing on, and what they need, any marketing you do is just a knee-jerk response to what the industry is doing.

Don’t be a follower, be a leader. Be the firm that everyone else wants to be like – app or no app.

And have a great Friday!


P.S. If you do have an app and it’s working brilliantly, I’d love to hear about it!