How do you find out what your accountancy firm is good at?


It can be tricky to know what people like about you. But as we said in our recent ‘Be more mouse’ , knowing what you’re good at is a vital part of understanding your firm’s own brand.

If you don’t know the firm’s good points, you can’t make sure you’re constantly focusing on them and trying to make them even better.

And if you ever decide to rebrand or restructure the business – without first knowing your strengths – then there’s every chance you’ll end up throwing the baby out with the bathwater (this is a metaphor: we don’t advocate launching small infants into the air, especially at bathtime!).

So, how DO you find out the things your firm does well?

Client satisfaction surveys

The people best placed to tell you what you’re good at are your clients. After all, they’ve chosen to engage your business services – and, so far, they’ve decided to stick with you…so you must be doing something right, eh?

So, how do you find out what your clients like about the firm?

  • End-of-engagement feedback surveys– Are you sending clients a questionnaire at the end of each piece of work? If not, it’s an excellent idea. A few short questions around the theme of ‘How was the work from your end?’ will bring some really insightful opinions to light.
  • Ad-hoc customer satisfaction surveys–Online survey sites, like Survey Monkey, are a fast and simple way to ask clients for feedback. Keep the questions to a minimum (if you want people to bother filling it out) and focus on finding out where they feel you do well.
  • Just ask them– You can just ask clients directly, when you see them. We hope you’re meeting with them regularly anyway, so work a few questions around performance and customer experience into these regular chats.

Service software and solutions

Another option is to use some of the customer-focused cloud tools that are available.

  • CustomerSure is probably going to be top of your wishlist. It’s one of the ever-growing community of Xero Add-ons out there, but this one has a pretty unique role to play in your Xero set-up.
  • Every time you send out an invoice, CustomerSure can send out a customer satisfaction survey at the same time. And you get to track the responses, comments and feedback you get through the CustomerSure dashboard.
  • You can even have customer feedback appearing live on your website. If you believe that a recommendation from your peers is the best kind of referral, having genuine testimonials from other customers on your site is well worth looking into.
  • Apps like ZenDesk and Capsule can also be handy if you want to get a better view of your customers’ likes and dislikes. They both give you a clear overview of your clients’ account information, so you can see where they’re purchasing and where you’re doing well.

Breaking down your business information

If you’re using cloud accounting software like Xero (and if not, why not?) then you have a goldmine of client data already sitting in the cloud, waiting to be mined.

By analysing your top-selling services, your most popular packages and the clients who are spending the most on certain projects, you can full together a really informative view of what you’ve been good at over the past few months and year.

  • Your online accounting software will have built-in reports for sales and purchases. The information may be basic, but use them and see where you’ve been making the most sales over time.
  • Business intelligence software, like CrunchBoards, can take that same core client and sales data and visualise in ways that will make the positive areas of the firm really stand out. Run reports on popular services and you’ll get to see whether people love your tax planning or your simply go nuts for your payroll services.

Checking out your online and social media activity

Your online and social metrics might not be the first place you think of when trying to find what the firm’s good at. But if you use tools like Google Analytics, you can delve into your online data and start seeing where the patterns lie.

  • Look at your service pages and see if your payroll page is getting more love than your auto enrolment page (no-one loves pensions, after all, but maybe that’s why clients are looking for an adviser).
  • Work out which of your blog posts is getting more hits, likes and comments from your followers. Are there certain core themes that get more attention? Do you blogs on ‘issues facing start-ups’ get twice as many hits as those on ‘the complexities of EU VAT legislation’? (we’re guessing they do…and if not, you have some very dedicated exporters as clients).
  • Which of your tweets and LinkedIn posts has had the most likes and shares? Are you becoming known as a visible expert in any specific areas? And if so, which niche areas of business are they?

Read more of Karen’s marketing tips on social media and SEO here.

Now you know how your accountancy firm excels

So, do you have a better idea of what your firm is good at now? You certainly should do, but this is a constantly evolving set of skills and something you need to keep on top over time.

Set yourself some time each quarter, or even every couple of months, to create a list of your strengths and weaknesses. Run reports from your cloud software that set metrics and key targets for all areas of the business and keep tabs on them.

And, most importantly, make sure you’re talking to your clients!

Ultimately, it’s your clients’ opinion that counts. They vote with their wallets when they decided which accountant or business adviser to work with, so if you can understand the areas that your firm does well, you’re in a far better position to keep these clients happy.

And, as we all know, happy clients are the ones who stick around, and the ones who tend to buy more services.