May 18, 2023·5 min read

How Accounting Firms Can Increase Revenue Without Adding Staff

by Matt DarnerVP, Business Dev. | Co-founder

Many accounting firms are still locked into traditional ways of thinking when it comes to growth; that is to increase revenue, you must service more clients; and to do that, you must increase staff headcount. Fortunately, this is no longer the case.

Accountants don’t service clients the same way they used to. The traditional pricing model of billable hours is shifting towards fixed or pre-determined prices for services. What this means for your firm is that every client has turned into an upsell opportunity.

But, if you can increase your revenue by doing more work for the clients you already have, doesn’t this mean you’re facing the same problem – needing to add staff? Not necessarily. New technology could be the answer to saving time on the services you already offer or even adding a service with no additional time committed at all.

The staffing issues accounting firms face today

Currently, accounting as a profession is dealing with a significant staffing shortage. This includes a 17% drop in the employment of accountants and auditors from 2019 to 2021. Explanations gravitate towards the level of difficulty and the timeline to obtain a CPA versus other education options.

This is amplified with a constant struggle to retain talent. A Deloitte study of public companies found that 82.4% of hiring managers say employee retention is a challenge. For private companies, the number was still a surprisingly high 68.9%. With remote work becoming the norm and recent economic struggles, people are not only looking for greener pastures, they have more options to consider.

For your accounting firm, this means it’s time to look into ways to retain talent as well as methods for growing your practice with using the talent you already have.

Identifying new efficiencies to service more

The first thing to look at is whether there is an opportunity to open up capacity by becoming more efficient. If you haven’t looked critically at your workflows in a while, it’s time.

For instance, a lot of time is lost to communication – meetings, follow up messages, or quick chats to go over details. This type of communication is often an indicator that something isn’t being provided or passed on effectively. It could be time to change up the process and win that time back.

Meetings are a massive time sink that keeps people from actually doing the work. With the increase in the popularity of the remote work environment, many companies have moved to asynchronous work to accommodate people in different time zones. But the principles of asynchronous work, including time blocking and task delegation, can still benefit workers that share the same space.

Sometimes time shortages just cannot be avoided, so in the case of an imminent capacity crunch, consider outsourcing the simplest, time consuming tasks to contractors. Contractors are a great way to keep workloads manageable as you look for a more sustainable, long-term solution.

Establishing new services for new revenue streams

The role of the accountant is changing. While some businesses still look at their accountants as the fact checking, financial reporter, others are more interested in the insight they can provide.

Cash flow is a consistent struggle for small businesses. Owners want the advice of someone who can help them get on top of their cash and stay there. They know their accountant is a unique source of insight with both the education and prior experience to back up their viewpoints.

Look to your competitors for inspiration. They’re likely offering virtual CFO, advisory, and accounts receivable services to provide maximum satisfaction to their clients—and getting paid well to do it.

Not sure which services to offer? Begin by considering any that your clients have specifically talked about or requested. Look to the options that are most likely to benefit your clients with minimal lift for you and your staff. For example, an A/R service helps your clients get paid which not only helps them grow and afford your services, but solidifies you as an invaluable benefit to their finances.

Some services will fit naturally into your workflows with minimal lift. But what if there’s an opportunity you just don’t have the staff for?

Looking to tech for solutions

More and more, the software you use determines how efficiently you work. Accounting technology like cloud accounting and automation are producing essential tools that streamline traditional workflows.

Accounting automation is becoming more common as firms recognize their resulting ability to open up capacity and tackle new services they otherwise may not have considered.

Businesses increasingly look to their accountants to solve their biggest financial problems. In fact, in a 2019 survey, 37% of respondents stated they wanted an accountant who could handle their accounts receivable and payable. But how can you meet that need when you’re facing your own capacity challenges?

You can help your clients get paid quicker and more consistently with CollBox, an automated accounts receivable management platform. It streamlines communication and analysis while keeping all essential information on a dashboard for quick viewing.

With CollBox, all your clients’ accounts receivable follow ups are handled by A/R specialists. Your client keeps 100% of the invoice. And if your client still doesn’t get paid, the invoice can be escalated to CollBox’s Collect service. With Collect, a vetted collections expert is on the case with no upfront costs and a 12% higher success rate than the collections industry as a whole. By having access to solutions from CollBox, you can offer a full suite of accounts receivable services to clients with no extra work for staff.

For a truly hands free source of revenue, consider CollBox’s partnership program. For each CollBox-connected client, you get a percentage of the subscription while your clients enjoy getting their invoices paid. Get started today.

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