Cross-selling client accounting services within the firm


As businesses look for new ways to grow in a competitive business environment, accounting firms can position themselves as more than just the traditional provider of tax or audit assistance. Accountants become trusted advisors whom their clients rely on for a wider range of business advice. A strong Accounts Receivable Services (CAS) offering allows companies to capitalize on this opportunity.

If your company’s CAS program hasn’t taken off as quickly as you’d like, one way to speed things up is to cross-sell services between firms. The more services you can provide to a given client, the deeper your relationship. And the deeper the relationship or the more accountants can create with each client, the harder it is for them to replace you with someone else.

With the availability of real-time data via the cloud, accountants can offer their clients proactive advice in a way that would never have been possible before. The value this can provide extends across the business and further enhances the ability to cross-sell and deepen those customer relationships.

Accounting managers may assume that cross-selling happens organically within their company, but the reality is that many companies struggle to achieve this. Two keys to improving your CAS cross-selling effort are leadership and internal marketing.

Effective Leadership

Leadership is the single most important factor for companies to successfully cross-sell to accelerate their CAS strategy. The right leader is not only one who will champion the initiative as a whole, but also has the political capital within the company to rally the rest of the leadership team to support it.

Two important factors in choosing the right person to lead your company’s CAS initiative are level within the organization and social connections with the rest of the team. You need someone in a high enough position to be able to advocate for meaningful change and get buy-in from people who may not initially see the value of growth through CAS. Equally important, regardless of position, the leader must connect with people in a way that promotes trust in that person’s skills and judgment among the rest of the team.

In a large multi-office firm, these qualities are all the more important since this leader must be able to get the program off the ground in all offices. Leaders from other functional areas, especially those not based in the same location, may take more time and effort to convince that the program will benefit their practice. The right person leading the charge can make this happen faster and with less difficulty than someone who is not at the right level or who is not as well connected within the company.

If building a successful program is really the goal, choose a strong candidate worthy of leading this important new segment of your business, then provide that candidate with the resources – in terms of time and money – to build a team. solid.

In addition to finding the right person, success requires that leading the CAS effort be a full-time job. If it is considered a side project or an evening job, it will never be perceived as having the same priority – for the leader or for the rest of the team – as if the company invests in a dedicated resource to carry out its CAS initiative.

Part of the role of the CAS leader is to be proactive in talking with customers about how the company can provide them with more value. This allows the leader to credibly tell those in a sales position what customers actually want. It’s easy to assume customer satisfaction if they’re not actively complaining or validating past results. But what you’ve always provided in compliance or transactional work may not provide the value that every customer is looking for. Beyond the fact that leaders have direct contact with customers to understand how to increase the value provided to them, they must effectively share what they learn within the company.

Internal marketing

Internal marketing tends to be underestimated. It can encompass several elements, including education, case studies, safeguards, thought leadership, peer mentoring, networking and team building, and even competitions, all of which work in concert to improve cross-selling efforts.

Earnings highlighting is invaluable in promoting internal cross-selling. Not only can accountants learn from each other by sharing success stories, but they gain confidence when they see evidence of customer satisfaction in other service areas, making them much more likely to sell. these services. It can also encourage their competitive spirit, pushing them to seek out similar opportunities.

Promote customer successes from a quantitative perspective, showing how profitable the work can be for the company. Identify CAS cross-selling opportunities and their impact on business units within the company. Show how it can be done profitably and how cross-selling a single new service can create opportunities for the business as a whole. Considered individually, new revenue may not attract attention, but cross-selling a new service can have a ripple effect that can be impressive. View the customer’s annual revenue before and after CAS startup to get a picture of the total value.

Success stories also need to be told from a qualitative perspective. Customer testimonials are powerful, especially about the value they gain and the insights that can be gained from real-time data. Share examples of advice the firm has been able to provide clients on how to run their business better to inspire other accountants to consider new services that their clients could also benefit from. Also, consider the amenities your business offers to its customers. For example, with CAS technology like Bill.com, customers have the ability to manage AP and AR on the go. Meanwhile, your business gains a new level of efficiency to be able to handle more customers with the same number of resources.

Successful cross-selling within a company rarely happens without dedicated education efforts. Host a breakfast or lunch and learn how to reach large numbers of people in the practice to introduce the CAS program and what it can do for them and their clients. A more targeted approach could include individual meetings with certain accountants. This can be particularly effective with those who seem reluctant to onboard, as it allows you to address their concerns in a more personal and relevant voice. But it can also be useful in identifying those who might be excited about the initiative and willing to act as influencers among their peers.

Internal influences are huge assets in the company’s efforts around CAS cross-selling. Encourage them to promote their own thought leadership in the industry by writing or speaking, which is positive exposure for the company and can inspire others to seek similar recognition. Leaders of other business units in the company will take note and want these influencers on their teams as well. Once they fully understand the value proposition for their clients and the benefits for their practice, they will be eager to find ways to cross-sell CAS.

CAS isn’t the only offering that can lead to more consulting and advisory services, but it’s probably the fastest way to get there. Today’s technology fosters a real-time, collaborative environment that lends itself to offering customers proactive advice. This does not mean abandoning your traditional transactional and compliance services, but rather complementing them with advisory services in which clients find significant value.

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