The accountancy industry grows ever more competitive with each passing year. Gone are the days when people considered a “good accountant” as someone who could submit their tax returns on time while possibly also saving them a hundred quid. These days, people want more services, they want flashing lights, they want speed. And, as a result of the gig economy mindset, they also want these things for peanuts.
To compete with this mindset, you have to attack the problem in two ways:
- Play a hot marketing game where you have sufficient materials (website, social media following, glittery brochures, etc.) that convince people of the superiority of your service
- Invest in more efficient ways to run your practice and reduce your workload
You could pay an external company to do these things for you, but that might get expensive. Instead, here are four in-house departments you should invest in so that you can constantly keep on top of your competition
1. In-house web design team
A website is your portal to the world and how people will look at your brand.
Especially for younger clients who do not remember the days of slow modems or of no internet at all, your web presence needs to be smoking hot. At the very least, the website should be mobile-friendly.
But a website is a living thing. It must constantly be updated and worked on or else it’ll gain little to no traction in the search engines.
Hiring an outside company to do this has its pitfalls which usually fall under the categories:
- Low prices but awful website/service
- Amazing website but too expensive
When it comes to updating your website regularly, however, the costs can become astronomical if handed to an external company.
Hire some people to do it in-house. You’ll reap the benefits tenfold.
2. In-house SEO team
While clicks from organic traffic are technically free, companies that regularly get found on search engines for multiple search queries are not there by chance. They have invested heavily and knowledgeably into search engine optimisation in order to be found.
Search engine optimisation is a big subject which encompasses innumerable facets, including:
- How mobile-friendly is your website?
- How readable is your website?
- How good is your content?
- How engaged are your social media accounts?
- Do you even have social media accounts?
- Do you have the right kind of social media accounts?
- Are the social media posts you’re making relevant and useful to your followers?
- Are you gaining high-quality links to your website from other reputable websites?
- Are the inbound links you are gaining coming from relevant websites?
- Do the links have the right text in them which will let search engines know what your site is about?
The size of the subject is genuinely staggering. But its results can mean the difference between an accountancy practice that is skyrocketing compared to one which is merely “doing well.”
The cost of SEO, when done properly, can be enormous. Hire an in-house person or team who knows their stuff to do it for you.
3. In-house social media team
Because SEO is such a large subject, and so tremendously vital to long-term success, the reality is that you’re probably going to need more than one person to take care of it.
I mentioned a few things about social media in point #2 above. If you truly want to leverage social media in your SEO strategy, you’re going to need at least one person working on it full-time.
It’s not only about SEO. It’s about engagement with your clients, and keeping them informed.
People access information in wildly different ways compared to ten or even five years ago. Your clients will look for updates on various subjects from different sources:
- Twitter for quick updates and news
- LinkedIn for more business-related information
- Email for information relating specifically to your relationship with them
You need an experienced expert to take care of this full-time for you, either on a subcontracting or employment basis.
4. In-house tech team
I don’t mean an IT team. I mean a team that implements and invests in highly advanced processes and workflows using the latest technology in order to minimise wasted time and improve efficiency.
There are so many tools out there on how to do this specifically for an accountancy practice, that the knowledge would fill a book.
The accountancy profession is traditionally quite terrible at implementing new tech. But even if it’s good at it, there is simply so much choice available that you do need a dedicated team to work on it so that you’re free to run your practice.
The investment is worth it. Accountancy in the UK is a tight-margin industry, and only through efficient use of tech and cloud-based solutions can one reduce workload and increase effectiveness.
Thinking outside the box
There are so many accounting practices in the UK that believing you can compete with them purely through word of mouth is folly. Not only is our industry tight in its margins, but it is also brutally competitive.
Make the above departments a part of your practice so that you can constantly stay ahead of the competition.