How Important Is the Cost of Accounting Services in Acquiring and Retaining Clients?

Many accountants, especially those who want to run their own accounting practices, are preoccupied with the price of accounting services. Obviously, they want to be paid fairly for their hard work and their professional skills. However, they don’t want to price their services so high that they alienate clients. The cost of accounting services is an important factor, but it is still only one factor in the total value that an accountant provides.

Pressures Affecting the Cost of Accounting Services

There are many factors that influence accountants when setting the prices of their services. They may feel pressured to match or beat the costs their competitors charge in order to attract or retain clients. Sometimes, this pressure is only imagined, based on what the accountant thinks a competitor will charge or a client is willing to pay, but the outcome is no less real. The accountant finds himself or herself struggling with the difficult decision of choosing whether to lower the price of their services. In economies where individuals and corporations are trying to stretch their dollars as far as possible, either by searching for the best bargain or by cutting out the role of an accounting professional entirely and using tax preparation software programs instead, it can be tempting to give discounts to keep clients or draw in new ones.

When it comes to “selling” your accounting services – to either new prospective clients or existing clients – accountants should focus on value rather than cost alone, according to Accounting Today. Cutting costs isn’t a long-term solution, and it can force accountants to take on additional work to avoid losing money, meaning that they have less time and effort to devote to the clients they already have.

The Value of Accounting Services

To focus on value, accountants must first know the value of their services beyond simply what they cost. They must understand and be able to articulate all that they do, and can do, for their clients. After all, today’s accountants do more than fill out paperwork. When they prepare tax returns, they also help their clients plan to manage their future tax burdens and to achieve their big-picture savings and financial goals. An accountant who creates a corporation’s financial statements is often asked to recommend ways for the company to decrease costs and increase efficiency, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Perhaps most importantly, the best accountants develop and grow relationships with their clients.

Clients look for many attributes in their accountants, from the “hard skills” to prepare accurate financial documents and reports to the “soft skills” like listening attentively, knowing when and how to take the initiative to discuss clients’ long-term goals and simply making clients feel valued and important. Good accounting professionals provide far more value to their clients than the technical skills of performing accounting services, and that overall value is more important than a single factor such as cost.

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