Read Time: 5 Minutes

 

Accountancy is a service that can be prone to being very narrowly defined in terms of the way it’s deployed to clients – you are their accountant, so you crunch their numbers and file their returns. Sound familiar? The truth is, however, that you have so much more value to offer your clients than simply handling their finances.

As we head towards a world of increased automation and technological reliance, it’s time to accentuate your humanity and bring even more to the table to offer your clients the best possible value.

The Changing Face of Accountancy

More and more businesses are coming to rely on their accountants as so much more than a service to keep the numbers adding up. Accountants are increasingly becoming seen in more of an advisory capacity, using the extent of their experience to help guide small and medium-sized businesses into making smarter and more profitable decisions. It’s a growing need that clients are displaying, and your firm needs to respond in kind.

The rise of technology means the bare bones business of accountancy is being handled faster and more efficiently than ever before. With computing power now more affordable than ever, and a host of accountancy software suites tailored to every speciality, your firm has more time to focus on the human element. You can’t hope to compete with a computer’s ability to process the numbers, but a computer doesn’t have your insight.

This is where you need to begin broadening the spectrum of your accountancy service.

Developing and Deploying New Skills

It’s important to start by totally re-thinking the role of an accountant. Traditionally it has been something of an “invisible” service, where if you’re doing it right your client won’t really know you’re there. The bare bones of the number-crunching can remain that way, but it’s time you started to put forward your opinions, your thoughts, your guidance, and the benefit of your experience. This is what makes your service unique.

Your accountancy firm is unique – you have a truly individual level of experience and insight, and it’s important that clients understand that from the moment they begin interacting with you. Your website should, of course, display your services, but it should also show proudly what you can offer that no other accountancy firm can. Make a point of highlighting your ability to interact and engage on a broader level than simple financial processing.

Running a small business is hard, and small to medium-sized business owners are grateful for insight and assistance wherever it may come from. That means you’re perfectly placed to add value to your service, and ultimately craft a better and more useful offering for your clients. Broaden your horizons, and start understanding your value.

Change your Thinking Today

The technological revolution is already here, and it’s time to start altering the way you approach your service provision for your clients. Begin focusing on who you are and emphasise your human engagement because that is something that can never be replaced.

Jack Barron

Director

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Starting his marketing journey at age 15 promoting music events, Jack went on to plan, market and execute his own events before joining the British Army and serving two front-line tours of Helmand Province. Upon returning to ‘civvy street’ he set up Rebel Marketing to provide marketing consultancy services to the events industry. At around the same time, he undertook an Events Management Degree at the University of Central Lancashire, attaining a 1st Class (Hons) Bachelor Degree, before moving to Manchester to work as the digital marketing manager for a city centre agency specialising in financial services marketing, eventually becoming their marketing director.
Whilst there he undertook an MSc in Marketing Communications at Manchester Metropolitan Unversity before reactivating and rebranding Rebel Marketing as Invoke Media in 2015. After moving Invoke Media to his hometown of Preston in 2018 to support the development and growth of the area, he has since started further studies and is due to complete another MSc in Psychology from the University of Central Lancashire.
Jack is passionate about marketing and helping small to medium-sized businesses thrive. His experience working in the fast-moving events industry from a young age, along with a strong drive and discipline fostered by his time on the front line, all contribute to the work ethic and values of the company.

Read Time: 4 Minutes

 

The Coronavirus crisis has seen the government making sweeping, unprecedented changes to the welfare system to help keep businesses afloat and employees in work.

While their highly-praised Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has provided a much-needed lifeline to companies facing the very real threat of closure, the generosity of the scheme has led to an unexpectedly large number of applications for grants.

Accountants are now finding themselves inundated with a backlog of applications, as they race against the clock to make payroll claims on behalf of their clients.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has proven to be a generous grant to businesses. The government is essentially allowing businesses strapped for cash to furlough their workers and receive a grant to cover 80 per cent of their salaries, provided they don’t work.

The system has become swamped with applications, while confusion over details needed for the applications, and who is eligible, have led some accountancy firms to despair.

A Race to Make Payroll

One aspect of this that has really come to light since applications opened up for the furlough scheme, is the need for a completed payroll.

Businesses in dire need of cash to pay wages have been racing to complete their most up to date payroll accounts, as they are needed to provide evidence to the government that they require the grant. Of course, it’s the accountants, in the first instance, who are doing all the hard work.

Accountants are reporting that they are racing to make payroll claims, as their clients want their applications processed first. For accountancy firms with many major clients all facing furlough, it’s been a tough time, as they struggle to accelerate their own processes while keeping up with the demands of their exacerbated customers.

Many accountants are also dealing with multiple government schemes at the same time, as they try to work out which schemes they can apply for, and which might bring the greatest level of support in the long run.

A Confusing Application Process

The problems have been exaggerated by the actual application process too. Many accountants have been complaining about the unfriendly nature of the government portal used to lodge applications for the scheme. Much of the data needs to be uploaded by hand, making it a meticulous and difficult process, especially given the time constraints.

Rather than simply being able to upload spreadsheets, smaller businesses are being made to input their payroll details individually, adding another unnecessary level of work to the accountant’s already formidable schedule, and ultimately working only to delay the application processes even longer.

For many businesses suffering during the COVID-19 crisis, the problems are very real. A delay in the process of furlough payments can leave a cash strapped business likely to go under before they can actually furlough their workers. In the race against the clock to file documents and organises finances, it’s accountants who are working tirelessly to save the jobs of countless employees.

Jack Barron

Director

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Starting his marketing journey at age 15 promoting music events, Jack went on to plan, market and execute his own events before joining the British Army and serving two front-line tours of Helmand Province. Upon returning to ‘civvy street’ he set up Rebel Marketing to provide marketing consultancy services to the events industry. At around the same time, he undertook an Events Management Degree at the University of Central Lancashire, attaining a 1st Class (Hons) Bachelor Degree, before moving to Manchester to work as the digital marketing manager for a city centre agency specialising in financial services marketing, eventually becoming their marketing director.
Whilst there he undertook an MSc in Marketing Communications at Manchester Metropolitan Unversity before reactivating and rebranding Rebel Marketing as Invoke Media in 2015. After moving Invoke Media to his hometown of Preston in 2018 to support the development and growth of the area, he has since started further studies and is due to complete another MSc in Psychology from the University of Central Lancashire.
Jack is passionate about marketing and helping small to medium-sized businesses thrive. His experience working in the fast-moving events industry from a young age, along with a strong drive and discipline fostered by his time on the front line, all contribute to the work ethic and values of the company.

Read Time: 4 Minutes

 

There are many factors which businesses consider when choosing an accountant, such as experience and industry knowledge. However, location is also one of the key factors which influence businesses decisions when searching for an accountant.

According to our research, 62% of micro, small or medium-sized business owners felt that having an accountant within drivable distance was important and 81% of respondents said that their current accountant was local. These figures highlight the importance of focusing on marketing campaigns on the local area, while also highlighting industry skills and expertise. With this information in mind, we take a look at some key marketing techniques which your accountancy firm can use.

The Importance of Local SEO

As a small business looking to attract clients in the local area, search engine optimisation can help. Search engines will value high-quality content which is genuinely useful to their users. So, if there are businesses in your area searching for local accountants, it is important to tap into this. Keywords and key search terms should be incorporated into your content in a natural way, via on-page content, informational blog posts, images and URLs.

Listing on Google My Business and Google Maps

When an SME searches for an accountant, it is likely that one of the first places they will check is the list of local firms within Google. This highlights how important it is to ensure you have an up-to-date Google My Business listing. It is completely free and will display your location, contact details and any Google reviews. Google Maps will highlight your exact distance from their business, which will help you attract local clients.

Highlight your Reviews from Local Businesses

Our research shows that 78% of SME business owners felt that their accountant knew or had operated in their industry before. This research shows how important knowledge and understanding is when both retaining and finding new clients. It is important that your accountants emphasise how knowledgeable they are about different industries, and one of the best ways to do this is utilising reviews from local clients. Try to encourage your customers to post reviews online via your website, social media or Google, as this will publicly display your skills and expertise.

Leverage Local Social Media

Our research also showed that 88% of SME business owners felt that it was important to be able to speak to their accountant within 24 hours of calling or emailing them. It is important to show potential customers that you are available, easy to contact and quick to respond. A great way to keep in contact with potential and current clients is via social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. These are great places to share your content, engage with contacts and they also leave the door open to quick conversations.

As with any marketing strategy, the key to success is to implement a plan which works for your business. We hope these tips help you find potential clients in your local area and if you would like to find out more about how we can assist with your marketing, please contact our team today.

Jack Barron

Director

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Starting his marketing journey at age 15 promoting music events, Jack went on to plan, market and execute his own events before joining the British Army and serving two front-line tours of Helmand Province. Upon returning to ‘civvy street’ he set up Rebel Marketing to provide marketing consultancy services to the events industry. At around the same time, he undertook an Events Management Degree at the University of Central Lancashire, attaining a 1st Class (Hons) Bachelor Degree, before moving to Manchester to work as the digital marketing manager for a city centre agency specialising in financial services marketing, eventually becoming their marketing director.
Whilst there he undertook an MSc in Marketing Communications at Manchester Metropolitan Unversity before reactivating and rebranding Rebel Marketing as Invoke Media in 2015. After moving Invoke Media to his hometown of Preston in 2018 to support the development and growth of the area, he has since started further studies and is due to complete another MSc in Psychology from the University of Central Lancashire.
Jack is passionate about marketing and helping small to medium-sized businesses thrive. His experience working in the fast-moving events industry from a young age, along with a strong drive and discipline fostered by his time on the front line, all contribute to the work ethic and values of the company.

Read Time: 5 Minutes

 

The UK has now been in a state of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic for over eight weeks, and restrictions are slowly beginning to lift. As the UK economy slowly awakens, many businesses and traders across the UK will be working hard to adjust to the changes required by social distancing regulations.

These changes will place demands on the ways in which businesses operate, so many small business owners and managers will be in need of a little extra accountancy advice and support. While social distancing can make supporting your clients a little more complicated, there are plenty of ways to guide your clients through the changes of lockdown remotely.

Keep in Touch

It can be all too easy during lockdown to fade into the background and wait for your clients to come to you; don’t allow this to happen. Reach out to your clients regularly and check in with them, making sure that they feel supported and they’re happy with how their journey out of lockdown is going.

There are plenty of ways to stay in touch with clients during lockdown. You can check in on current clients via email or phone, and email marketing and social media can be used effectively to reach a wider audience of past and potential clients who may be in need of accounting services during this time. Video call apps such as Zoom and Skype can be used to conduct face-to-face meetings with clients where necessary.

Offer Expert Advice on Key Concerns

As businesses around the UK emerge from lockdown, almost all of them will face important decisions about how to proceed over the coming months. This might include advice about whether or not to keep staff on furlough, as well as information and consultations on the range of grants and loans currently available from the UK government for businesses needing help during the coronavirus outbreak.

The increasingly complicated economic situation in the UK at the moment means that both small business owners and self-employed workers across the nation are desperately in need of advice and support in navigating the government’s financial aid packages and adapting to the new economy. Be proactive in supporting your clients through these problems, as many will likely not realise that they are eligible for aid.

Encourage your Client to Think About the Future

COVID-19 is due to be with us in some way or another for some time, and there will no doubt be long-lasting repercussions of the current outbreak. Look to the future and encourage your clients to do what they can to safeguard their businesses against a possible recession.

In the new post-lockdown environment, small businesses will find it harder than ever to compete in a squeezed economy while also attempting to adapt to social distancing rules at the same time. By providing expert advice and knowledge, you can make all the difference to your clients and ensure that their business has the best chance of flourishing both during and after lockdown.

Jack Barron

Director

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Starting his marketing journey at age 15 promoting music events, Jack went on to plan, market and execute his own events before joining the British Army and serving two front-line tours of Helmand Province. Upon returning to ‘civvy street’ he set up Rebel Marketing to provide marketing consultancy services to the events industry. At around the same time, he undertook an Events Management Degree at the University of Central Lancashire, attaining a 1st Class (Hons) Bachelor Degree, before moving to Manchester to work as the digital marketing manager for a city centre agency specialising in financial services marketing, eventually becoming their marketing director.
Whilst there he undertook an MSc in Marketing Communications at Manchester Metropolitan Unversity before reactivating and rebranding Rebel Marketing as Invoke Media in 2015. After moving Invoke Media to his hometown of Preston in 2018 to support the development and growth of the area, he has since started further studies and is due to complete another MSc in Psychology from the University of Central Lancashire.
Jack is passionate about marketing and helping small to medium-sized businesses thrive. His experience working in the fast-moving events industry from a young age, along with a strong drive and discipline fostered by his time on the front line, all contribute to the work ethic and values of the company.

Read Time: 8 Minutes

 

As the UK continues to struggle with the coronavirus outbreak, there has never been a better time for accountants to prove their worth to small businesses. Across the country businesses of every size have been impacted by the pandemic, with accountancy firms in an ideal position to help and provide support during the current turmoil.

We believe the key to assisting these small businesses is a successful marketing campaign, which communicates the benefits of investing in professional accountancy. To help you devise a strategy which puts your business in front of businesses which are in urgent need of your services, we have put together the following marketing ideas.

Prioritise your Communications

Try to prioritise your communications, instead of opting for a one-size-fits-all approach when contacting potential customers. There may be some businesses which have experienced a significant upturn in business, whereas another small business may be on the verge of collapse. There is no use sending marketing campaigns focused on assistance for struggling businesses to those who are going through a boom during the pandemic. Instead, segment your market and provide the information these segments need specifically.

Try to break your potential customers into segments, such as business size and industry. This will help you tailor your services to provide the exact support which your clients require. There are so many opportunities to create strong client bonds, however, this begins with providing accurate, timely information. It is important that your firm positions itself as the trusted advisor and go-to resource for businesses.

Create an Effective Communications Strategy

When reaching out to contacts it is important to have a strategy in place, whether you are communicating via email, post, social media or telephone. Many businesses have been thrust into remote working, so consider using communication tools which are readily available such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype and cloud software. Your business should be proactive when interacting with potential clients, as swift action could save client businesses and help you expand your market share.

Whatever your communication strategy, begin by letting your contacts know that you care and are simply reaching out to them during this turbulent time. Ask questions about the impact of the virus and how they are coping, try to get to know their main concerns. This may highlight potential opportunities to provide assistance, in the form of resources, tools and professional services.

Promote the Benefits of Professional Accountancy Services

An effective marketing and communications strategy should highlight the value of investing in professional accountancy services. Many small and medium-sized businesses need support, guidance and reassurance, so now is an ideal time to attract new clients.

There are many benefits your accountancy firm can provide to struggling businesses, such as re-forecasting budgets, cash management strategies, reducing expenses, evaluating accounts receivable and salary calculations. In addition, many small businesses may require assistance in accessing financial support packages from the government, so ensure your business is well versed with the latest information.

In contrast, your firm can also market its services to businesses which have experienced a boom during the pandemic, such as those involved in the food supply chain, haulage companies, health care manufacturers and cleaning companies. These businesses may be expanding much faster than anticipated, making it difficult to make strategic decisions. In these situations, an accountancy firm could highlight the benefits of forecasting, budgeting and investing.

Follow up Initial Conversations

It is important to follow up initial conversations with useful resources and additional information. Try to recap the initial conversation and ask further questions to establish any aspects of their business which have changed since your last conversation. Businesses will be looking for your assistance to minimise their losses and expedite their financial recovery, once the effects of the pandemic begin to ease.

The current economy requires accountancy firms to provide immediate, effective financial advice to help businesses make it through the crisis. The service you provide now to help businesses survive short-term challenges could translate into lifetime client retention, so an effective marketing strategy is vital. To find out more about how our team can help you effectively market your services during the current crisis, please contact our team today.

Jack Barron

Director

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Starting his marketing journey at age 15 promoting music events, Jack went on to plan, market and execute his own events before joining the British Army and serving two front-line tours of Helmand Province. Upon returning to ‘civvy street’ he set up Rebel Marketing to provide marketing consultancy services to the events industry. At around the same time, he undertook an Events Management Degree at the University of Central Lancashire, attaining a 1st Class (Hons) Bachelor Degree, before moving to Manchester to work as the digital marketing manager for a city centre agency specialising in financial services marketing, eventually becoming their marketing director.
Whilst there he undertook an MSc in Marketing Communications at Manchester Metropolitan Unversity before reactivating and rebranding Rebel Marketing as Invoke Media in 2015. After moving Invoke Media to his hometown of Preston in 2018 to support the development and growth of the area, he has since started further studies and is due to complete another MSc in Psychology from the University of Central Lancashire.
Jack is passionate about marketing and helping small to medium-sized businesses thrive. His experience working in the fast-moving events industry from a young age, along with a strong drive and discipline fostered by his time on the front line, all contribute to the work ethic and values of the company.

Read Time: 4 Minutes

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented changes to the way we live and work in the UK. Never before has such a huge percentage of the world’s population been subject to quarantine at the same time, and lockdown has meant both individuals and businesses across the country have had to adapt to a new way of working. As the UK emerges from lockdown, now is the time for accountants in the UK to step up and take the lead in guiding small business owners through the coronavirus outbreak and into success.

The Time to be There

There’s never been a better time for accountants to prove their worth to existing clients and potential clients alike. UK businesses are struggling to navigate the implications of social distancing as well as making sense of the government’s complicated coronavirus financial aid package; these are decisions that accountants can offer expert help with.

Reach out to clients via email, social media and phone, and let them know that you’re there and working hard amid the coronavirus to provide your clients with professional accountancy advice and business support. Many accountants in the UK are snowed under with applications due to lockdown, proving just how invaluable accountancy expertise is during this time.

Looking to the Future

The future of accountancy is bright. Clients seeking accountancy services during lockdown will be looking out for accountants who can support them not just in 2020, but beyond. Despite the setbacks of the pandemic, the accountancy sector is making exciting advancements every year, with new technologies offering opportunities to work more efficiently and provide better value for customers. Automation software can free up time spent on simple accountancy tasks and allow more space for complex business support services – a vital skill set in the current climate.

Fintech is quickly becoming one of the fastest-growing technology sectors both in the UK and abroad, and the ways in which accountancy and financial services are conducted is changing. Accountancy firms who embrace the revolution and invest in advanced accountancy automation and AI today will reap the rewards of this progressive thinking in the future as clients seek professional accountants who can offer efficient bookkeeping and compliance services without unaffordable overheads.

Offering Stability Amid Uncertainty

It cannot be denied that the coronavirus pandemic has created as much economic uncertainty as it has health anxiety. The prime concern of small business owners in the UK – after the health of themselves and their loved ones – is the financial security of their businesses.

This is where accountants are really invaluable. By offering one-on-one support to business owners during and after the pandemic, accountants can provide security and confidence despite the uncertainty of the current situation. This means not just supporting clients with the usual tax forms and loan applications, but providing professional advice on a range of business and financial matters to ensure that managers and owners across the UK can continue to run businesses without undue stress and anxiety.

Jack Barron

Director

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Starting his marketing journey at age 15 promoting music events, Jack went on to plan, market and execute his own events before joining the British Army and serving two front-line tours of Helmand Province. Upon returning to ‘civvy street’ he set up Rebel Marketing to provide marketing consultancy services to the events industry. At around the same time, he undertook an Events Management Degree at the University of Central Lancashire, attaining a 1st Class (Hons) Bachelor Degree, before moving to Manchester to work as the digital marketing manager for a city centre agency specialising in financial services marketing, eventually becoming their marketing director.
Whilst there he undertook an MSc in Marketing Communications at Manchester Metropolitan Unversity before reactivating and rebranding Rebel Marketing as Invoke Media in 2015. After moving Invoke Media to his hometown of Preston in 2018 to support the development and growth of the area, he has since started further studies and is due to complete another MSc in Psychology from the University of Central Lancashire.
Jack is passionate about marketing and helping small to medium-sized businesses thrive. His experience working in the fast-moving events industry from a young age, along with a strong drive and discipline fostered by his time on the front line, all contribute to the work ethic and values of the company.

Read Time: 5 Minutes

Preston based marketing agency Invoke Media and Chorley based ‘Just Write By Lucy B’ are calling for business owners to come together to support the local business community under a new initiative spearheaded by the Invoke team.

Invoke Media launched its Coronavirus Business Assistance Scheme at the end of March in response to the current crisis, currently providing free marketing services to over 80 independently-owned businesses. The services are provided without charge, obligation or ulterior motive – a promise backed by a signed guarantee. 

The Invoke Media team were approached by Lucy Bullough of Just Write By Lucy B, with an offer of support for the generous scheme and the two businesses have been working together on a number of projects, supporting the businesses most affected by the crisis.

The scheme has been a great success but is approaching workload capacity and requires assistance from other businesses who may have an in-house team of marketers who can help service those in need of support. 

Jack Barron, Director of Invoke Media said:

“The scheme has been a victim of its own success, with us quickly approaching a point where we can no longer accept any more applications. Whilst there seems to be some sense of normality returning and the light is at the end of the tunnel, the effects of COVID-19 on small and independently-run businesses will last considerably longer.

I would like to continue the great work we’ve been doing and extend that to as many businesses as possible, but in order to do so, we need the support of other businesses. I am simply not in a position to hire more staff at this time and I know there are businesses out there that can help who either have the capacity to do so, or have furloughed members of their marketing team who could help.”

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, furloughed staff can conduct voluntary work or seek alternative employment for their furlough period. Under this local business support initiative, a marketer that is furloughed could conduct work that both helps other local businesses and gives them new skills.

Volunteer marketers are asked to not be currently under the employment of a marketing agency and they must have the consent of their employer before partaking in the support scheme. 

Jack Barron continued:

“The reason we are asking for in-house marketers only is because we can not guarantee that those currently in an agency role would not seek to engage the supported business as a client, an in-house marketer is far less likely to be in a position to do so. As it is myself that is signing a guarantee that there will be no attempt to sell services, it would put us in a very difficult position and could undermine all of the good work we are doing. It just doesn’t seem like a good gamble to me when there are a sufficient number of in-house marketers ready to help.

Aside from protecting my business, I think we can add the most value to an in-house marketer, with the training provided and the insight into alternative industries providing skills they can take back to their employer.”

Lucy Bullough, Director of Just Write By Lucy B said:

“This is a great opportunity for the local business community to come together in difficult times and provide support for those most in need. 

Employers that have furloughed their marketing teams and are willing to participate will benefit from keeping their marketers engaged as well as learning new skills that will be brought back to the business. 

It is important now more than ever to keep your team engaged and their mind’s active. It also has the added benefit of helping the local economy get back on its feet.”

Volunteers can expect to be trained on the Invoke Media developed 250-point marketing health check, a system of diagnosing and triaging areas of concern and opportunity for businesses. They will also be trained on the COSTEM-AP method of developing marketing strategy, a proprietary framework for developing fast and efficient marketing plans. 

Those currently in employment under furlough are asked to seek the consent of their employers before engaging in any voluntary work to ensure there are no misunderstandings or issues. Employers wishing to commit resources should contact Invoke Media to arrange an initial call. 

Commitment to the scheme can be as little as 3 hours per week and all volunteers would be bound under non-disclosure agreements to protect those being supported. Anyone wanting to volunteer or wishing to find out more should email hello@invokemedia.co.uk at the earliest opportunity.

Press Contact

Kirsty Doyle, Marketing Executive

Invoke Media

Email

Kirsty@invokemedia.co.uk

Telephone

01772 921 109