Many Accounting and Bookkeeping firms struggle with finding new clients and onboarding them properly. You must demonstrate your expertise and provide value to clients in order to increase profits. One common problem is that there’s not enough listening; instead of talking is too much talking and not enough listening. With the right questions, you can collect the information you need to close the deal with prospective clients or show how valuable you are as a new client!
The key is to ask some accounting-related questions and let the client do the talking:
Enhances your understanding of their needs
Provides valuable help to prospective clients
It helps you demonstrate your knowledge and expertise to prospective clients
One way to get clients talking about themselves is to ask open-ended questions.
Inspired by this need to listen to our prospective clients, we have created an upcoming accounting client questionnaire that will include 21 key questions.
Basic Accounting Questions All Clients Want Answering
To increase the number of clients in your company and onboard them properly, start with basic questions about their business. The answers will help you understand what kind of relationship the client needs and desires with your firm.
Skim the accounting and bookkeeping client onboarding checklist.
1. What can you tell us about your business?
The first thing to include in any discussion is a background of the business model with your potential client. The open-ended question is a great way to starting conversations with potential clients.
Listen or paraphrase the information your client offered. Then, move on to other questions that help you evaluate the firm’s infrastructure and identify its goals.
2. What kind of business are you in?
It’s crucial to understand the business structure of clients when starting new accounts. There are different legal entities for a business, and it’s important to know the difference. Their response may provide other questions you should consider for your accounting client onboarding checklist.
3. Do you maintain payroll accounts?
Bookkeeping checklists for new clients ensure they understand their payroll needs.
You’ll have to master their system, whether it’s for accounting or payroll.
Here is a question that will show prospective clients your adaptability to other systems and give you an opportunity to highlight your experience.
4. Do you have inventory?
Lead nurturing programs should include a new client questionnaire. Inventory accounts involve unique expertise that requires in-depth questions:
Can you tell me about your inventory??
Should inventory be listed as a balance sheet asset?
Is inventory in use as an expense or a capital investment?
Asking your prospective clients about their inventory will remind you to speak of the topic again later with them.
5. How many accounts do you have?
What experience do you have with understanding accounting in the past? There is a common problem with lead nurturing and onboarding. You may be talking too much rather than listening to your prospective client.
One way to get a flavor for your client’s financial picture is to ask what types of banking accounts they currently have. More than likely, there are also PayPal accounts and loans or leases for the equipment. In order to connect with prospective clients and demonstrate your expertise, you’ll need a firm understanding of their accounts payable and receivable.
6. Are your tax returns current?
You may want to require a sizable deposit before you take on the case if they are delinquent past their taxes. But, even if your retainer is high, it’s important to prove that you’re worth the investment. One way of proving this is asking one. As an accountant, you know how to successfully work with clients and prevent them from encountering problems.
7. Do you report sales tax?
An accountant can help with sales tax reporting in your small business. Learn more about why this is necessary and how it might benefit you:
What is your filing frequency??
Are they up-to-date with their tax filings?
Have they ever been audited for sales tax in the past?
In addition to your audit and digital document storage for accounting firm , you can assist them in preparing their property tax returns. It’s also important to list out all of the deductions your clients are eligible for.
8. What are your plans for expansion or contraction of the business?
Appealing to a wide range of clients is essential to establishing yourself in the industry. That’s great news because you will be able to demonstrate your expertise in accounting and financial advising.
If your potential client is planning to grow or scale back operations, you can position yourself for success by:
Providing key financial reports for decision making
Forecasting future gains and losses for projects
Collecting information for both leads nurturing and onboarding
Use their questions to identify ways you can boost their business revenue.
Dig Into Their Challenges
Once you’re done collecting basic information from a new client, engage them on a more personal level. Draw out their challenges–the problems that keep them up at night. By understanding what keeps your clients up at night, you will be able to find workflow management system for Accounting.
9. How do you define success?
The following question can help create a warmer, more personal atmosphere. It also shows you are interested in them and not just as a number.
One problem with both lead nurturing, and onboarding is that there’s too much talking. One way to gather information is by asking the right questions from your perspective.
10. What’s one thing about your business you’re most proud of?
To close the deal and demonstrate their value, accountants should ask questions like these to launch their prospective clients into a story they think fondly of.
Don’t focus too much on what they don’t do, and instead ask questions that will lead to constructive answers if you’re dealing with an established.
11. If you could solve one challenge, what would it be?
It’s unlikely that accountants will find many jobs they enjoy more than solving problems. Complete your accounting firm’s checklist for new clients without asking about problem-solving.
When meeting with prospects, ask questions to learn more about their challenges.
Prospective clients may be surprised by the range of services, products, and resources an accounting firm offers.
12. How is your workforce performing?
To close more client deals, ask about wage or benefits problems in your lead nurturing and onboarding questionnaire. Examples might include union negotiations, labor disputes, etc., the potential for a minimum wage increase.
This accounting firm question is needed to comprehend their market size. Also, you can offer solutions to strategies for challenges clients are facing with their workforce.
13. Are you having any regulatory challenges?
Potential clients face regulatory challenges at the city, county, or state level. Industry resources and contacts can provide valuable assistance for your firm’s current quandaries.
14. What is your debt-to-equity situation?
Few people realize that a skilled accountant can help you to manage your debt. Let them know you can negotiate with creditors and create plans to lower it.
You can help them:
Increase your bank’s loan terms
Determine your cash surplus to pay down debt
Identify tax benefits that the company has to legally qualify for
Having this question on your new client checklist helps you understand your debt situation and can provide some guidance on the best way of improving it.
15. What is your portfolio’s performance recently comparative to the market?
Discussing portfolio performance is one of the most important parts of onboarding clients. The goal should be to help them address issues they care about:
Keep an eye on your investment’s performance
Suggest qualified and non-qualified retirement plan suggestions
Explain the effects of a tax on a portfolio’s value
Investment advice may be outside of what your prospects and new clients assume to offer to find how you can help both the company and their employees.
Set Yourself Apart
These are questions a bookkeeper might want to ask a potential new client. Lead nurturing, and onboarding presents an opportunity to set yourself apart from other accountants or bookkeepers the prospective client may be considering from firms they have worked in the past.
16. Are you up-to-date on changes in local tax laws?
Taxes are subject to change, and few business owners know everything there is. One common problem with the lead nurturing and onboarding process is that there’s too much talking. To make sure you close a deal, it’s important. Bookkeeping firms should be aware of how their clients handle their taxes, as it can have an impact on the scope of bookkeeping services. And it can be done by using Bookkeeping software for accountants.
If you are aware of any recent changes to tax legislation that may affect your potential client, ask them about it. Pointing out your knowledge can make you more valuable to new clients and prospects.
17. How do you think we can add value to your company?
The most common misconception about accountants, according to a survey of professionals from Accountemps, is that they handle only taxes and focus on numbers.
The right questions will pave the way for closing a deal with prospective clients.
If the response is related to taxes and accounting, then you have work to do explaining how your company can provide tangible results for their business.
18. Are you interested in cross-referral opportunities?
Include these three essential questions to increase both the number of new clients and onboarding success.
People who are interested in our service may be potential new clients. One way to help a customer grow their own company and communicate with other potential partners is by providing them with helpful leads.
19. Why are you changing firms?
Understanding your potential client’s motivations and expectations behind change within their accountants is a key factor in securing the deal. When it comes to client onboarding, the best place to start is by asking questions.
The incumbent firm may have limitations in the type of clients they take on, such as not making financial statements for international clients or being unresponsive to some.
Reach out to the prospective lead to address any misconceptions they might have and identify how your firm can best help them.
20. Can you name a few strengths your previous firm has?
Listen more and talk less. To close the deal and show your worth to new clients, always ask about the benefits of their old accountant.
Maybe they used data visualization to present their portfolios so that they could better understand them. You can take lessons from this technique in your work.
21. How could your former firm have improved its service?
It is common for many people to seek out accounting and bookkeeping software because of their financial needs. If you want more information by asking questions about what drives a client
If your potential client doesn’t bring up anything they found frustrating at their previous company, ask them: “Is there anything you felt was missing.
To show your worth to a potential client and attract more leads, here’s your accounting or bookkeeping checklist for prospective and new clients. When trying to attract new clients and onboard them, it’s important for accounting firms to break down preconceptions about their role in the company and demonstrate all.
When you’re meeting with a prospect or new client, always try to have an engaging conversation rather than one-sided—communicating about your service and demonstrating how you can contribute to their company’s success.
These 21 questions will help you have productive conversations and get more clients.
Are you looking for any other questions that firms can ask prospective clients during the on-sales process? Comment below.