3 Barriers to Growth for Client Accounting Services (And How to Overcome Them)

The 2018 CPA.com CAS Benchmark Survey list several barriers to growth for client accounting service (CAS) sales success.  Here are the top three.

  • Prospects are Price Sensitive 76%
  • Clients Don’t Understand Value of CAS 72%
  • Busy with Client Work / No Time to Sell 32%
1. Price Sensitive
The top reason CAS providers list as a barrier to sales success is that prospects are price sensitive. Price is one of the key elements of qualifying a prospect. As such, no prospective lead should be considered a prospect until you understand their budget, their decision-maker, the decision-making process, and the timeframe. If the prospect is price sensitive, it’s only because they were never really qualified.

2. Missing Value-Add     

The second reason CAS providers list as a barrier to sales success is that prospects don’t understand the value of CAS or confuse it with lower-value bookkeeping. Like the first reason, this seems to be based on a failure to communicate the value of CAS services and to properly set and understand client expectations.

3. Managing Sales vs. Managing Existing Clients

The third top reason CAS providers list as a barrier to sales success is that they are unable to manage the sales process while managing existing clients. The average business loses 7% of revenue per year.

The 2018 CPA.com CAS Benchmark Survey indicates the average CAS practice is growing at 12% per year. That means practices need to grow at 19% to yield net new growth of 12%.

If any of these are recurring issues in your practice, you probably need to evaluate and adjust your sales process. Here are some ways to do that:

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Solution #1: Education

The first step towards both decreasing your prospects price sensitivity and ensuring they see the value in CAS is education.

With both of these barriers, the issue is your prospect seeing the cost, without understanding the worth.

Client accounting services should be a forward-looking advisory-consulting relationship. In practice, bookkeeping’s exclusively about the past. If implemented properly, CAS should be one part rearview mirror, one part KPIs & dashboards, and one part GPS for the future of the enterprise. Emphasizing those latter two parts in your discussions will reduce kickback.

Remember price objections are often a way of driving towards a discount and if that’s the case, maybe they aren’t the right client for your product.

Solution #2: Support and Delegation

To grow at that CAS industry average of 12%, factoring in a 7% average churn, means bringing in almost 20% new business YoY. How is that even possible while keeping existing client relationships strong?

Support and Delegation.

Onboarding multiple staff members may not be a reasonable means of scaling but there are tools and services that support you to focus on sales, account management, and your high-level services.

AI is integrating into accounting through numerous platforms that support CAS. Staff Augmentation reduces infrastructure investment, recruitment time and expense, HR expenses and so on. It also opens your business geographically and provides after-hours support.

Sales drive the growth and sustainability of your CAS. If these are barriers you need to overcome in your CAS practice, Dinamis can help.

Edward D. Warren, MBA

Edward D. Warren, MBA

Business Development Director

Ed is an accomplished sales executive with over 15 years of professional services sales and marketing experience. He’s worked for Allinial Global and RSM Alliance member firms and serves on the board of the Association of Accounting Marketing.

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