According to the 2016 global study by CareersinAudit.com over half of the 1300+ accountants polled are considering setting up their own business within five years.
If the poll is indicative of the feelings among UK accountants then, as the report’s authors comment: “Compared with even five years ago, today’s accountant needs to be armed with a much broader range of skills including technology and business development.”
When you’re faced with setting up your own business, it’s natural to focus primarily on getting new clients on-board while keeping out-goings to a minimum.
However, as other business sectors are only too aware, perception and first impressions really count which is where technology can help.
If you are considering setting up your own Accountancy business here are some tips including virtual receptionist services that can transform the efficiency of accountants and project the right image when setting up in business.
1. Virtual receptionist and office services
Professional service microbusinesses employing one to five people are our speciality so we know a thing or two about just how to deploy the right virtual technology to help you. We provide a virtual receptionist service to a many accountants who are in the startup phase of their business. See our professional services portfolio page for more details.
Quite rightly, like many start-ups, you don’t want to go full steam ahead renting office space and employing a receptionist until you’ve built up the business.
However you then need to factor in the cost of missing out on business if you don’t answer the phone (according to BT Business the cost to SMEs of missing just one phone call could be as high as £1,200).
There are various techie options to overcome this, including creating a virtual office to keep your home address private, having calls answered by a virtual receptionist, or simply having an effective telephone answering and message routing service.
Importantly, each service injects an element of professionalism that people have come to expect among accountants.
There are various virtual office suppliers (including us!) so look for one who seems to cater for your size of business, is ready to chat through and understand your situation, and is flexible enough to alter the service provided as your business grows and evolves.
Having run Office Answers for more than a decade now, one of the noticeable differences is how people find suppliers or professional services providers nowadays.
Far greater reliance is placed on google search, a good performing, mobile-friendly websit,e and a site that immediately gives people reassurance when they’re checking a company’s credentials.
We’ve just revamped our website which is already paying dividends so for any accountants starting out on their own, it really is worth investing in, particularly as there are some good, low cost website packages that will get you started.
We’ve tried and tested numerous apps that are said to help small businesses but we’ve discounted loads. However in amongst the app pile, there are a few gems including:
• Team viewer – if you’re a one-man-band and need to access something from your computer when you’re out of the office, then install TeamViewer on your computer and load the app on your mobile phone. It then allows you to remotely access and control your computer.
• Udemy – okay so your accountancy qualifications are probably already taken care of, but if you’re looking to learn new business skills, www.udemy.com/mobile/ is an app we find useful. It curates a fantastic array of online courses from learning how to create and post blogs through to personal development skills.
Let’s face it there are just some people who are natural networkers and love nothing more than ‘working the room’. Oh to be one of them, as we share the pain that many accountants seem to face when it comes to stepping into a networking event knowing no-one!
If it helps though, here are some valuable tips we’ve learnt along the way:
• Have your elevator speech ready – be ready with the answer to the natural question: ‘What do you do?’ Instead of saying you’re an accountant, look at ways of saying how you help people in just one sentence and with a quick example to illustrate the fact.
• Keep in mind that most people are in the same boat and equally dread the prospect of networking.
• Don’t forget the importance of online networking such as twitter hours where businesses within a particular region or from a specific sector network online. It’s easy to pitch in but remember to have a conversation rather than just promote your business!
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