Accounting services should be useful to a business owner, providing valuable insight into the business performance and activity. Accounting professionals believe their services have value, but find it difficult to express that value when selling their services to prospective clients.
The problem is that most professional accounting firms believe that what they sell is accounting: accounting services, tax preparation, audits, etc. While this may be the essential list of functions they perform on behalf of business clients, accounting, per se, is not what the professional should be selling – at least, not if they want business owners to buy.
You see, accounting is dumb and boring – a necessary evil of doing business for most business owners. Accounting is what happens to paperwork at the end of the month. Business owners don’t want to know about accounting. They want to be able to sleep at night. Business owners want to be able to know what they need to do to keep the business moving along. They don’t want to have to check the bank account balance every morning. Business owners simply want to know what they need to do to get the results they’re looking to achieve.
Accounting professionals – don’t talk to your clients about how great your accounting is, or about debits and credits. They don’t know and don’t want to know. Good accounting is expected from you; it isn’t a selling feature. Talk to your clients about the picture the data paints about their business, and about how you can help them to meet their needs and help them achieve their goals. That’s a value proposition that says something.
*Note: this short article is the result of a recent conversation with my good friend and a consummate professional, Penny Breslin of MoneyPenny LLC. Penny and I both work with a lot of accounting professionals and the “song remains the same” no matter where we look. Accounting pros continue to be challenged in communicating the value of their services to business clients, and it’s all because they continue to talk about accounting (thinking anyone cares). Go figure.