Selecting a niche focus is one of the best things accounting and bookkeeping firms can do to differentiate, provide high-quality business advice, and supercharge their growth (to name just a few potential outcomes).
The concept of going niche might seem counterintuitive – how can reducing your total addressable market help you grow your firm? In doing so, however, you’re able to increase and improve your focus for a particular vertical or segment, which enables the opportunity to become a recognized, go-to expert for businesses within that niche.
We reached out to three cloud accounting leaders – Sherrell T. Martin of Nitram Financial Solutions, Lior Zehtser of ConnectCPA, and Jelena Arkula of Books LA – to learn more about their first-hand experience of “going niche” and how it can benefit accounting and bookkeeping firms. Read their insights below!
Why is it important for accounting and bookkeeping firms to choose a niche?
As mentioned above, there are so many reasons why focusing on a specific niche is important for accounting and bookkeeping firms.
Become an expert:
“It's important for accounting and bookkeeping professionals to choose a niche because it allows them to become an expert in one industry which makes it easier to scale their practice.” – Sherrell T. Martin
Maintain high-quality work:
“From a quality of work standpoint, the knowledge and experience that is acquired through owning a specific niche will be reflected in the service you provide. With greater learnings comes better service, and this doesn't go unnoticed. Soon, you are able to differentiate yourself from others and run away from the pack.” – Lior Zehtser
Offer better advisory:
“By choosing a niche and having knowledge of a particular industry, we offer strong support to our clients by being an advisor every step of the way. At our firm, we are able to implement procedures and follow our own guidelines to streamline our processes, which saves us valuable time. On the other hand, the client appreciates the support they are getting and values us as an advisor. Therefore, our value to the client is much greater than just doing their books.” – Jelena Arkula
What’s the first step you took to define your niche focus at your practice?
Even if you’re convinced that choosing a niche will benefit your firm, it can be tough to take that first step.
Make a list:
“The first step I took in choosing my niche was making a list of the industries I was great at serving but not crazy about, versus the industries I was good at serving but loved working with.” – Sherrell T. Martin
Define what you want to do:
“For us, it was defining what we wanted to do, and that was to help companies grow (whether it's revenue, profit, headcount or some other metric). To achieve that, we concluded that we needed to provide companies with financial visibility and needed to remove their day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping and financial pain points. Taking your first step may not happen on day one – it's part of a journey – and it's vital to reflect on your experiences from time to time so that you can find your guiding star.” – Lior Zehtser
Find what excites you:
“Do what you love, love what you do! Think backward! What is the industry that excites you, that you love to work with, the one that you can never know enough about? Find that passion, and work backward by finding the pain points and ways that you are able to help your clients. Only then will you become a valuable asset to the client and not a book historian. But also, during the process, ask yourself what you do not want to do... and trust your gut! For us, that is inventory. We will gladly refer our colleagues for any leads that involve inventory.” – Jelena Arkula
What are some of the benefits you've experienced working within a defined niche?
The real benefits experienced by firms who choose to focus within a niche are massive.
Gain valuable tech expertise:
“Some of the benefits of working with one niche are that you not only become more knowledgeable about the accounting compliance of that one industry, but you also become an expert in the best apps that serve that industry. This allows you to simplify and systematize your processes and procedures, which enables you to be more efficient.” – Sherrell T. Martin
Build an identity and vision for the future:
“Although we have a lot to learn, by gaining a deep understanding of our space, it's helped us with clarity. This, in turn, has provided our company and team with an identity. We are confident in our work and understand where we want to go as a firm.” – Lior Zehtser
“The best business advice I have ever received was: ‘Knowing one trade is great! Knowing two trades will set you apart.’ Knowing how to connect two trades and make sense of both (i.e., accounting and coding) – you will become irreplaceable. And the clients do see the value and are grateful.” – Jelena Arkula
With the vast selection of cloud accounting technology available today, it’s becoming easier to serve businesses that belong to a particular industry or niche. Defining and committing to your niche might seem intimidating, but take it from experts who have done it before – it’s a win-win for both your firm and your clients!
Learn how to select the right clients to grow your accounting firm! Watch our free webinar featuring Jennie Moore of Moore Details.
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