One of the unanimous “winners” of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was the accounting industry. With sweeping changes to the tax code, which was signed into law in December, the theory among the media and its pundits was that the average consumer and small business owner was going to need a lot more help with their 2017 taxes than in previous years, increasing demand for accountants.
While much of this has been opinions and speculation, the February LinkedIn Workforce Report shows that this trend is indeed happening, and the data is there to back it up.
According to the report, “While hiring for accountants has been low compared to the national average in the past year, up only 7.7% compared to 13.0% nationally, demand for accountants has risen significantly in the past month. Seasonally-adjusted hiring for accountants in January was up 16.3% from December, compared to 10.9% nationally.”
Essentially, due to the new tax law, demand is up and supply is trying to catch up to it.
So what does this mean for independent accountants and accounting firms? It means that now is the best time in years to invest in marketing and business development. A little extra effort now could lead to some new long-term clients.
To be sure, competition will be intense to capture these new prospective clients since the industry is clearly still trying to catch up with new hiring. Here are some strategies that can get the future-minded accountant started:
- Open new markets
Lee Frederiksen, managing partner at professional services marketing firm Hinge, says that accounting firms should look to new markets to grow their business. Already servicing many individuals in your area? Maybe it’s time to focus on signing up small businesses. In his article, he covers this and other accounting growth strategies.
- Expand your services
A more complex tax code may mean people and businesses may want consulting and advisory accounting services instead of just compliance work. Ed Kless, Senior Director of Partner Development and Strategy at Sage, provides steps to create and sell new advisory services to clients.
- Target the right clients
Not every client is a good client. Experienced marketer Liz Herbig, Marketing Manager at Sage Accountant Solutions, provides four steps to acquiring ideal clients in order to grow your accounting practice, with step 1 being the ability to identify who the ideal client is.
It’s not often that demand for accounting services sees such a dramatic spike. The most opportunistic accountants and firms with longer-term vision will be the ones that benefit most and grow their business for years to come.