In the never-ending hunt for more billable hours, it’s easy to forget that a big part of increasing profitability is being able to charge more for the work we do. Making new contacts, strengthening your team, developing your brand, incorporating new skills, and even making sure your proposals are top-notch are all examples of “non-billable” activities that can go a long way to increasing your firm’s profitability.
If you currently think of non-billable time as wasted or useless, flip your attitude and see the glass half-full: by refining your image and adding more to your roster, you can charge more for the business you do get. Below are some tips to help you put every non-billable minute to good use.
Re-engage Old Prospects
Slow business presents the perfect opportunity to reach out to past customers and attempt to re-engage them. Before you pick up the phone, jot down a few things your firm has changed since you last spoke—did you acquire a new client portal software that protects client data? Have you added new team members who can give your client more personalized attention? Have you switched over to digital time and billing software, instead of tracking hours manually? If so, now is a great time to share your new changes and pitch a bigger, better you.
Another strategy is to consider how they’ve changed. Take a moment to browse a client’s social media, and you may find that they’ve had a new baby, revamped their business, or had some other big life change. Showing interest in the other party’s life is often a much more effective business strategy than a sales pitch.
Gather Feedback from Clients
Another great way to take advantage of a slow period is to gather customer feedback. While it may be hard to hear, understanding areas where your firm can improve will help you deliver a better client experience (and, optimally, raise your rates). You might create and distribute a survey that asks clients where they feel you can improve. Or, you could simply reach out to clients in person or by phone, and reward them for their time with a discounted rate.
Polish Your Online Reputation
Many accounting firms forget that in the digital age, almost all non-referral clients will come from Google. That means that it’s essential to manage your online reputation just as you do your website and social media accounts. If a Google search of your firm yields a lot of low-star reviews, take some time to repair your image. This can be accomplished by reaching out to clients and offering an incentive to remove the review, or, if that’s not possible, crafting a polite response that shows searchers you are able to react professionally to criticism. (Never respond angrily to a bad review—this will almost always place you in a bad light, not the client.)
You can also even the odds by reaching out to good clients—the ones who have been pleased with your services—and asking them to leave a positive review that will balance out the negative. Remember, you have about three seconds to convince a prospect to investigate your firm—so those little stars are worth spending some time on!
Upgrade Your Accounting Due Date Monitor Software
What does your firm currently use to keep track of impending deadlines? How do your employees keep track of their hours, and convert those hours into invoices? When you share sensitive client data, is it on a safe, encrypted server? All of these are questions you should be asking yourself—and if your answers aren’t satisfactory, you can resolve them all by investing in accounting due date monitoring software.
Accounting time trackers like ImagineTime are a simple, affordable way for accounting firms to keep all balls in the air at the same time— client management, time entry, invoicing, reporting, data security, and more. To view our products in action, request a free demo here. And the next time you find yourself with some non-billable hours on your hands, use them to their best potential!