Accountants – are you really communicating well enough with clients & prospects?
Why is producing engaging and easy-to-understand website content even more important for accountants than it is for most other professions?
There are two main reasons - a) what you do is complicated and specialist, and b) it involves people's money. People, especially businesspeople, are more sensitive about money than they are about most other topics and you, as an experienced accountant, can save clients thousands, if not more, every year. The problem is that it’s really difficult for you to explain how you do it.
If what you do or what you sell can not be summed up succinctly, precisely, and for an audience of laypeople, a barrier comes up between you and your potential client. Even more fundamental is that people don’t understand that they need something if they don’t understand what it is in the first place.
My personal experience with accountants
I have been in business since 1998 when my brother and I launched our first company (we sold it seventeen years later). Being cost-conscious, right up until 2005, we did our own self assessments, VAT, and corporation tax. The business we were building was not particularly large-scale at that time (it would become so later) and we thought that it’s better to just do it ourselves than pay someone to do it for us.
We were wrong. Over the course of the six or seven years we did it ourselves, we were wrong to the tune of tens of thousands of pounds.
We didn’t know about dividends so we paid ourselves exclusively via PAYE. We weren’t as forensic with our bookkeeping as our accountant was and that meant that we ended up paying far more VAT to the Exchequer than we needed to. We probably overpaid on our corporation tax over those years too.
We only became aware of this when we decided to engage an accountant in 2005 and, within a month or two, our VAT bill was a lot lower than usual despite the fact that our turnover was going up and up. Within that same timescale, our new accountant introduced us to dividends and how to balance them with PAYE when paying ourselves. We paid so much in personal tax we didn’t need to.
My brother and I felt a sense of relief that we weren’t paying more than we needed to anymore and a little bit foolish at the same time. We felt foolish because we had actually shot ourselves in our own feet by doing it ourselves. If we had used an accountant from the start, we would have saved so much money – our course of action was a real-life example of a false economy.
It’s always the same with technical professions
Q: How many accountants does it take to order a taxi?
A: Six. One to double-check it's still a claimable benefit-in-kind at HMRC, one to check that a staff member has been working later than usual, one to ascertain that it's not a regular occurrence, one to verify that there's no public transport available at the time you order it, one to ensure that less than 60 taxis have been booked that year, and one to confirm the fare was paid by the company and not the staff member.
This list of what you know that your clients don't know gets longer every year. If ordering a taxi involves six different checks for HMRC compliance, how impenetrable is the rest of the system? When you try to explain how the system works, it’s like you’re talking a different language at the very time we, as clients, need more clarity than ever.
Businesspeople, at some point, begin to understand that they KNOW that they NEED you but they don't know how much we need you because of those gulfs in clarity and understanding. Speak to any solicitor and they have the same communication difficulties with their end clients.
Every day, tens of thousands of entrepreneurs and landlords search for…
…every imaginable and unimaginable question about running their businesses and how to make the most financially out of their professional activities.
And in the current internet-led commercial environment where buyers and enquirers expect instant gratification, being seen as the accountancy practice with the solutions needed in everyday language is going to give you an ongoing competitive advantage.
The wording has to be simple, the tone has to be friendly, and, at the end of every article, there must be a strong call to action encouraging the visitor to get in touch with you. All business relationships start off with a conversation where someone who needs support gets advice, counsel, and suggestions from someone qualified to provide that support. It’s our job to make sure that that person is you.
How accountants work with us
The experienced More Than Words team write completely original articles for over 20 accountancy and bookkeeping firms in the UK. We see it as our mission to show a customer or reader just what your accountancy and bookkeeping services can do for them.
Titles and topics we've written about include...
What questions do HMRC ask us about your business and personal tax?
"Accountants bat back numerous enquiries from HMRC every year about different aspects of your company's and your individual accounts. What do they ask us and how do we answer?"
Child tax credits and the £50,000 threshold. What counts towards that £50,000?
"Child tax credits start to be clawed back once you're earning £50k or more. But what counts towards that £50k - tax, NI, dividends, CGT? And what are HMRC's most typical mistakes?"
Forecast your cash flow
"Here's a simple way to use Excel to forecast how much cash you'll have in the bank at the end of every business day for the next 12 months"
With so many different types of finance available, how do you choose the one that's right for you?
"There's never been so many options you can access for funding your business. What are the main types you can go for and what help do you need from us to get it?"
Are you on the right VAT system?
"We look at the different VAT systems out there and work out the best one for your business"
Short of cash for PAYE, VAT or Corp Tax?
"Time To Pay can be a huge help for a business that's had a slowdown or is overtrading. But what do HMRC want to hear when you ask for Time To Pay?"
Low order values - are some orders costing you money?
"Two of the most important numbers in business are cost per customer acquisition and average profit margin. We show you how to work out both and whether you should impose a minimum charge on customers to make sure you make money on every order."
Are you ready to sell your business?
"It can take a few months to line up all the ducks in a row to make your business market-ready. Getting us involved to make it most attractive to potential purchasers is key."
Long-term benefits of regular article posting
There are two accepted ways to get your website to the top of Google search rankings – you can either pay for it with the AdWords program or you can embark on a sustained campaign of investment in quality content written in such a way that Google recognises its quality so that it lists you at or near to the top of the search listing pages.
When you pay for advertising, you have to pay every time a visitor clicks through to your site. With investment in content marketing, quality articles are the rising tide that lifts all boats – your entire website benefits and each page climbs the search engine rankings. And, as long as you keep updating your website with new content, the positive effect is essentially permanent on how you’re listed when people are looking for the help and advice you can provide them with.
Using powerful search engine analytical tool SEMRush, we ran reports on four of our accounting partners who have been wish us for 12 months or more. These are the results we delivered through SEO-focused, reader-friendly writing:
Accountant in Surrey – 300% increase in general website traffic – saving £8,220 worth of paid-for advertising a year
Accountant in Oxfordshire – 200% increase in general website traffic – saving £5,892 worth of paid-for advertising a year
Accountant in Cheshire – 100% increase in general website traffic – saving £15,612 worth of paid-for advertising a year
Accountant in West Midlands – 1,550% increase in general website traffic – saving £32,276 worth of paid-for advertising a year.
We help entrepreneurs and landlords seeking the best accounting and financial advice connect with the experts local to them.
Talk to us today about your areas of expertise and how to use the power of content to your own advantage on 0330 010 8300.