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Don’t just be an advisor. Be relevant.

By Chandra Bhansali, CEO and co-founder of AccountantsWorld

Recently I hosted a webinar for accountants that discussed the difference between being an advisor and being relevant to their clients. Why is that distinction important? Being relevant is your ability and commitment to do what’s good for your clients. That requires you to ask yourself, what can we do within our firm so we can do what’s good for our clients?

To become relevant, you have to first identify clients’ needs. Next, you have to mold your firm to be able to satisfy those needs. Both of these key activities for making your firm relevant are inward facing. Fortifying your accounting firm from the inside out contrasts to your role as an advisor, where most activities are outward facing towards your clients.

That’s the major difference between being an advisor and being relevant. You must strengthen your firm from the inside before you can be relevant.


To strengthen your firm from the inside out, you must focus on acquiring the abilities needed to prepare your firm to do what’s good for your clients. Here’s an example: if you were to get all your clients in a room and ask, “those who love doing accounting please raise your hands,” how many hands you think will go up? Not many. You know most clients consider accounting a major headache and it distracts them from focusing on their core businesses. If you can take that burden off their shoulders, you’ll be doing what’s good for your clients. You’ll be relevant to their needs. In this case, if you currently don’t offer client accounting services, you have to find the ways your firm can offer outsourced accounting services to your clients profitably.

One more important thing to remember about relevancy is that relevance has a context. You must always ask yourself why something is relevant to your client.



To learn more about being relevant to the needs of your small business clients, click here to see the recording of my latest webinar.


Introducing the 2018 Expert Webinar Series, presented by AccountantsWorld

AccountantsWorld has expanded its Expert Webinar Series this year, featuring 16 industry leaders, including 12 of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting, as named by Accounting Today.

This is the 10th year AccountantsWorld has offered the Expert Webinar Series to help accountants receive insights from industry experts to manage and grow their practices and add greater value to their clients’ businesses.

The first session, “Don’t Just Be an Advisor, Be Relevant,” will feature AccountantWorld CEO Dr. Chandra Bhansali on Wednesday, May 2. During the webinar, Chandra will discuss how to make accounting practices more relevant to the needs of small business clients.

Other presenters include:

  • Former AICPA chairman Kimberly Ellison-Taylor
  • Maryland Association of CPAs CEO Tom Hood
  • WithumSmith+Brown director of firm technology Jim Bourke
  • K2 Enterprises' Randy Johnston and Brian Tankersley
  • Boomer Consulting visionary and strategist Gary Boomer
  • CEO Erik Asgeirsson
  • Abraham Group CEO Jay Abraham
  • VeraSage Institute founder Ron Baker
  • Culture Works co-founder Chester Elton
  • Transition Advisors president Joel Sinkin
  • CPA Trendlines CEO Rick Telberg
  • AccountantsWorld director of practice development Hitendra Patil and vice president of marketing Div Bhansali


Participants can earn one CPE credit for each session. Register now.



AccountantsWorld Names Bruce Skoletsky as SVP of Sales & Customer Success

AccountantsWorld, a leader in cloud-based solutions for accountants, is proud to announce the appointment of Bruce Skoletsky as senior vice president of sales and customer success.

In this role, Bruce will be responsible for leading AccountantsWorld's expert sales team towards revenue growth and providing exceptional lifecycle engagement for accountants to become more successful.

"I see tremendous potential for growth at AccountantsWorld as we continue to deliver on the promise of helping accountants to demonstrate and grow their value and relevance," said Bruce. "I am excited to help more accountants fully utilize our innovative cloud-based software solutions, support and educational resources to improve their practices."

With over 30 years of leadership experience, Bruce is an accomplished sales executive with a keen understanding of clients' demands. Prior to joining AccountantsWorld, Bruce served as vice president of sales at Kognito, a health simulation technology company, where his efforts contributed to a successful acquisition of the company in October 2017. During his career, he has led sales organizations for global brands such as AT&T and Juniper Networks, and was instrumental in building the sales and operations efforts at several privately held  technology companies.

"As accountants continue to seek support in raising their relevancy and improving their client accounting services, we strive to build our team with the top talent available to best serve our clients," said Dr. Chandra Bhansali, co-founder and CEO of AccountantsWorld. "We are excited for Bruce to join AccountantsWorld to lead our talented sales and customer success teams, as they help accountants leverage AccountantsWorld's solutions more powerfully and shepherd the company towards its next phase of growth."

Bruce holds an MBA with a concentration in Corporate Finance from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a BS with a concentration in Information Sciences from Indiana University of PA.

About AccountantsWorld

Most accounting and payroll solution providers have chosen to grow their businesses by offering accounting software and payroll services directly to accountants' clients. This approach has weakened accountants' control over these core business services and hampered their ability to best serve their clients.

Since 2000, AccountantsWorld has committed to countering this trend by using cloud technology to bring control of accounting and payroll services back to accountants. Stronger control of these services helps accountants better serve their clients, raise their relevance and become more successful. Today, AccountantsWorld offers a complete suite of professional Accountant-Centric cloud solutions for accounting, payroll processing, document management, client portals, after-the-fact payroll and practice management. AccountantsWorld never sells its products or services directly to accountants' clients. For more information about any of AccountantsWorld's cloud-based solutions, please visit or call 1-888-999-1366.


Paving the way to your success: Locking in recurring buyers

This is the fifth in a series of posts from Jay Abraham, one of the world's leading business and marketing gurus. As Founder and CEO of Abraham Group, Inc., Jay has spent his entire career solving problems and fixing businesses. He has significantly increased the bottom lines of over 10,000 clients in more than 400 industries worldwide. 

All of the content in this Paving the Way To Your Success series is  brought to you exclusively by AccountantsWorld, as part of our ongoing mission to help you maximize the value and relevance of your accounting firm.

In this post, Jay shows how to boost your client retention rate, and lifetime value of each client. Click here to read the full series so far.


Here's a deceptively simple question:

How do you keep your clients coming back?


Three ways to Increase Your Client Retention Rate


  1. Contact inactive clients and ask, "Is anything wrong?" Call them up, visit them or write them, and communicate the fact that you are concerned and you're contacting them because you want to know why they are no longer doing business with you. Whatever is wrong, you want to know. If they have a problem, you want them to be aware that you are supportive. You are there to help in any way possible. If they have a problem with you, you want them to know that you stand ready to correct it—and to guarantee that the problem will never occur again. By taking the time to contact all of your inactive clients and communicating with them, you'll have enormous positive impact on them and their buying relationship with you.
  2. Make sure you're delivering higher-than-expected levels of service. The first question you have to ask yourself is: What does my client ordinarily expect to receive when they do business with my firm or my competitors? The key here is the word ordinarily, because your challenge is to take what even one ordinarily does and make it extraordinary, either by vastly improving upon it or by adding to it.
  3. Communicate frequently to nurture your clients. Your challenge and your biggest opportunity is to keep those clients constantly connected to you - and your CPA firm – and keep them constantly thinking about how good you are, how valuable you are, how much you care about them, their well-being, and how much they enjoy, desire, and value the products or services they acquire from you, keeping that connection alive and flowing.



Review Questions

Try to answer all the questions:

Why are clients no longer doing business with me or my company? Did something happen?

Is something wrong in their business or in their life?

Did they have an unsatisfactory experience the last time they did business with me or my firm?

Did I ever have a bad-buying experience with any company or any professional I ever worked with?

Did they call me afterwards? __________

How would I have felt if they had called me afterwards?

What does my client ordinarily expect to receive when they do business with my firm or my competitors?

What is the ordinary service, product, transaction, process, experience or expected result that a client expects when they deal with, not just my firm, but with any one of my competitors?

How can I move my accounting firm from the ordinary to the extraordinary?

How can I vastly improve upon the way everyone else in the accounting industry does business?

What can I add, both tangible and intangible, that would make it so much more beneficial and enjoyable to do business with me, virtually guaranteeing I’ll have that client forever?

On average, how many additional transactions can I expect to get from a new client I bring into my firm in year one, in year two – forever

Can I, in doing a true service to that client, offer them an improvement or an upgrade in either the size, the quality or the combination of the product or service they’re buying that would make it mutually profitable?

What is it about what I do, how I do it, and the people I use to help me do it, that my prospects and clients find valuable and appealing?



Client Retention Rate

Attrition is the opposite of retaining or continuing buying relationships with clients. Attrition is the number of clients who stop doing business with your firm. They're inactive clients, they are people who move out of the area, they are people who, for whatever reason, stop dealing with your firm.

What level of attrition does my firm experience?


1. Have they stopped being in a position to need or benefit from my product or service?

YES_______ NO_______DON’T KNOW_______ Why?


2. Do they no longer gain a significant benefit from using my product or service?                  

YES_______ NO_______DON’T KNOW_______ Why?


3. Did they have an unsatisfactory experience with my firm?                                                                           YES_______ NO_______DON’T KNOW_______ Why?


4. Did they do business with me and not get the exact outcome they wanted?                                    YES_______ NO_______DON’T KNOW_______ Why?


5. Have they dealt with someone at my firm who was offensive?                                             

YES_______ NO_______DON’T KNOW_______ Why?


6. Did the product or service not perform exactly the way it was supposed to?                                   YES_______ NO_______DON’T KNOW_______ Why?


7. Did they try to get an adjustment, new product or additional service, or get some improvement that wasn’t fully made or wasn’t made to their complete satisfaction, thus becoming dissatisfied?

YES_______ NO_______DON’T KNOW_______ Why?


8. Has a change occurred in my former client’s business or personal life that caused them to interrupt their buying practices with my firm and not start up again?                                              

YES_______ NO_______DON’T KNOW_______ Why? 




Your assignment may sound very familiar, but I’m sure the results you’ve gotten from what you’ve done so far have given you some strong momentum and enthusiasm to build on.

First, review this information and your answers, making additional notes on how you can apply what you’ve learned to your own CPA firm. Start with those methods and strategies that are simplest and easiest for you to apply and begin using them.

Next, at least one time, make someone – a prospect, a client – an irresistible offer, something that’s harder to say no to than anything that you’ve offered before. And if they say “yes,” and you haven’t given away the store, and you stand to make a profit over the long run, do it again with another prospect. And then do it again and again. Try a number of different clients and enjoy the results.

Detail your strategy for this assignment and your results.


How to Get Your Clients to Buy More and Buy More Often!


How to Increase Your Average Transaction Value 

1. Use up-sell and cross-sell. You up-sell when you graduate your customer or client to a larger or superior alternative product or service that you know will give them greater performance and a better result. They don't have to buy it, but you have an obligation to demonstrate to them the differences in performance and the outcome they can expect to receive, and to make them an offer that gives them an incentive to consider upgrading. A cross-sell is introducing to the customer or client an additional product or service that will add to the result they get from your basic product or service. Your customers will appreciate you for making them aware of this additional value.

2. Use point-of-sale promotions. These are usually displays that grab your customers or clients' attention right at the point of sale. Once they have decided to buy any product or service, they have already started envisioning themselves owning, possessing, using or benefiting from that product or service. It is very easy at that point to assist them in getting even greater value or enrichment from the transaction by offering them other items at an advantageous price that will complement their original purchase.

3. Package complementary products and services together. This differs slightly from the concept of cross-sell above. Packaging refers to combining products or services together and offering them as the initial sale rather than waiting for a customer to buy one thing and then adding another after the fact as you do in cross-selling. Instead, you're bringing two, three or maybe even four different products or services together and making this "package" your initial offer to the customer.

4. Increase your pricing (and hence your margins). It's important to recognize that how your service or product is perceived is largely determined by the value you charge for that service or product. If you don't hold yourself to a high standard—if you don't revere the value and performance of your product or service and charge accordingly—it shouldn't surprise you when the market doesn't either. Also, if you keep your prices too low, you don't allow yourself enough margin to deliver all of the services and all of the value your product or service has the capacity to offer. So, you could actually be doing your customers or clients a disservice by charging too little.

5. Change the profile of your products or services to be more "up-market." This means positioning your company or your professional practice at a higher level of distinction and quality than the competition does. It means holding yourself to a higher standard of performance, holding yourself and your customer or client in higher esteem, adding more "dimension" to your business or practice, and doing so in a compelling way.

6. Offer larger "units of purchase." If most people buy a one week's supply of your product, offer them a month, a three-month, a six-month or a year's supply at an attractive price. If people normally buy one ticket, offer them a special deal if they buy enough tickets for their whole office or their whole family. If people come by themselves to purchase your services, offer them an inducement for coming with a friend, a colleague or a family member. 


How to Increase Your Frequency of Purchase


1. Develop a back-end of products and/or services. You have current customers or clients who are probably very happy with you. They turn to you for a result that they depend upon. It is very easy for you to introduce them to additional products or services that give them similar or expanded benefits in their lives or businesses. You also have past customers or clients who are still prime prospects for additional products or services you decide to sell as a back-end. The concept of a back-end is that you're introducing both your current and past customers to new ways you can help them improve their lives.


2. Communicate personally with your customers or clients by phone or letter to maintain a strong, positive relationship. I look at customers and clients as dear and valued friends. I feel very fortunate to have them. I feel deeply connected to them. I care about them far beyond their capacity to spend money with me. If you share that feeling, you've got more motivation and desire to communicate to keep in touch, just as you would with any good friend. If you look at your customers or clients as dear and valued friends that you have the opportunity and the pleasure to serve, it makes the process of doing business a lot more enjoyable, exciting, and fulfilling.

3. Endorse other people’s products or services to your list. Ask yourself: What other products or services do my customers tend to buy or need before, during, and after they purchase my basic product or service? Make a list of them. Next, find out which companies or professionals are the best at providing these products or services. Then contact them and make a deal to offer their products or services to your customers or clients through endorsements.

4. Run special events (e.g., “closed door” sales, preferred customer offers, etc.). Whatever the size business, you owe it to your customers or clients to acknowledge them and make them feel special. If you do it through special promotions and events, it can be very profitable for everyone involved.

5. “Program” your customers or clients. In many cases the greater the frequency of usage, the greater the level of benefit the customer receives from your product or service. If this applies to what you offer, then you owe it to your customers or clients to offer programs that make it easy and appealing for them to use it more often and get better results.

6. Use price inducements. You probably have a lot of customers or clients who would appreciate and respond to this incentive for coming back and purchasing more often. Think about how effectively this has been used by other businesses such as the airlines in their “frequent flyer” programs. Then ask yourself, “How can I use price inducements to get my customers or clients to buy more often from me?”


Review this session then answer the questions below

What different products or services can I package or bundle together advantageously to bring a greater value and greater performance to my customer?

Can I raise the pricing on any or all of the products or services I currently sell?

If I do, could I use the increased margins I will then be making to justify adding more products, services, support or education to the transaction?

How can I give my customer or client a superior product, a superior service, a superior benefit, a superior result, so that my company or my practice will always offer them more than the competition does?

Could I take any or all of the products or services I sell and reposition them to be more up-market?

Is there a level of my market more upscale than I’m currently reaching that I should be catering to?

What other products or services, or combination of products and services, could I be offering my existing customers or clients that would be a logical extension or complement to the benefits they gain by coming to me in the first place?

What other products or services do my customers or clients tend to buy or need before, during, and after they purchase their basic product or service from me?

How many ways can I use price inducement to get my customers or my clients to buy more often from me?


Increase the Average Transaction Value

There are six very effective approaches you should consider to increase the average transaction value each time your customer or client buys from you. As you review these steps, make notes on how you can implement each one.

1. Up-sell and cross-sell. ­­­­­­­­­­

2. Point-of-sale promotions.

3. Package complementary products or services together.

4. Increase your pricing and your margins.

5. Change the profile of your products or services to be more up-market.

6. Offer larger units of purchase.



Take one specific new action to increase your average transaction value.

Take one specific new action to increase your frequency of purchase.

Choose the easiest action to implement. Describe your plan of action below.


Coming Up Next...

In the next post, we'll discuss how to boost your inquiry conversion rate!

Best, Jay


Paving the way to your success: Piggyback and Fusion Marketing

This is the fourth in a series of posts from Jay Abraham, one of the world's leading business and marketing gurus. As Founder and CEO of Abraham Group, Inc., Jay has spent his entire career solving problems and fixing businesses. He has significantly increased the bottom lines of over 10,000 clients in more than 400 industries worldwide. 

All of the content in this Paving the Way To Your Success series is  brought to you exclusively by AccountantsWorld, as part of our ongoing mission to help you maximize the value and relevance of your accounting firm.

In this post, Jay illustrates the power of "piggyback marketing" and being distinctive in your messaging. Click here to read the full series so far.


Piggyback and “Fusion” Marketing

Find other companies who can sell your product or service to their customers.  Airlines, car rentals and hotels are all working together.  What alliances could you form?  Possibilities are . . . A supermarket and a petrol station.  Shoe store and clothing store.  Accountants and Lawyers.  Doctors and Dentists. They could all be promoting each other.

Illustration #6 - Piggyback Marketing 

Take 5 minutes to write down 5 types of companies who could endorse or sell your product.


Illustration #7 - Piggyback Marketing, Part 2 

Take 5 minutes to come up with 3-5 products or services you could sell to your customers and collect pure profit on the sale with no involvement.


Database Power

Electronic databases are souped-up Rolodexes of the 90’s.  You must have a highly usable database packed with information about your customers.


Illustration #8 - Database Power

What are the essential pieces of information you need about your customers?  What other information would make your client records even more valuable? Take 5 minutes to write this down.


The Power Of Testing

Our advertising and marketing studies have shown that a change in a headline, offer, target or marketing concept can impact the results by hundreds (even thousands) of percent.  Test offers, test headlines, test choosing ideas, test add-ons, test, test, test. (In order for this to work you must also develop ways to measure all your advertising and sales efforts and keep records of everything you’ve done for comparison).

In the 80’s and 90’s, companies developed a campaign (based on instinct) and rolled it around for a year to see how it would go.  Now, most smart companies test several ideas to see which one works best - then roll it out.   *NOTE: Change headlines, offers, promotional materials all you want - the tactics you use.  DO NOT change your overall theme, slogan or strategic position.


The Six (Now Seven) ____________(12) Of Marketing

Over $400,000 worth of research on top companies reveal that they all use six marketing vehicles.  You must use all six if you want to dominate your market. The more marketing vehicles you use with the same audience the faster you will penetrate that audience.


1. _______________________(13)                                      

2. _______________________(14)  

3. _______________________(15)                                              

4. _______________________(16)              

5. _______________________(17) Your Customer           

6. _______________________(18)              

7. _______________________(19)


Are all your marketing weapons consistent with your Ultimate Strategic Position? You must develop a slogan and a theme based upon your USP and use them in every marketing effort. Which of the above six do you think is most effective?


Personal __________(20) Is The Most Powerful Way To Market and Bond With Your Customers


None of your other marketing efforts will have as much impact on your customers as personal contact with your salespeople or telephone customer service.  Nothing can replace good, old fashioned person-to-person contact when developing relationships with your customers.  Some of the ways you can use this are . . .


Þ    Free _______________(21).

Þ    Free _______________(22).

Þ    Specialized _______________(23).

Þ    ___________  _____________(24). (where applicable)


All these efforts should always be consistent with your Unique Strategic Position.


Sales Literature and Brochures

Your written materials should focus on how you help clients. They should:

  • be the foundation around which all the other tools are built
  • be an effective sales tool.  Use sub-heads, graphics and photos.
  • talk about what your clients will get by using your products, services or firm
  • use testimonials from satisfied clients (in accordance with the laws in your local jurisdiction)


Public Relations

Create media events and special events. Create award ceremonies, sporting events, outings, parties, charity efforts.  Your salespeople need to invite clients to these events.   All these add credibility and bonding opportunities with your customers.  Write articles.  Be featured, or contribute as an expert.  Reprinted articles are powerful tools in other marketing efforts.


Direct Mail

This is one of the most cost effective ways to connect with existing and potential clients.  Create a highly sortable database of clients.  Send something every month without fail.  Send thank you letters, cards, letters, newsletters, promos, etc.  Get your customer trained to buy from you at every opportunity.  It costs 6 times more to find a new customer than to sell something to an existing one.  Use direct mail to keep selling to your clients.


The Internet

The internet can expose your CPA firm to a wider market than you’d been reaching with the traditional methods. 



Creates more top-of-mind awareness than all of the other areas combined. Makes your other methods work better.  Some of the advertising sources you can use are... TV, Radio, Newspapers, Magazines, Trade Journals, *Internet (This is fast becoming a powerful new medium), Billboards, etc.  A study of hundreds of ads over a 12-month period revealed that the best ads did 4 things.


1.  Distinctive ______________(25):  Before a prospective customer will even think about reading your ad, they have to be able to see it and it must rise out of the clutter of the hundreds of other ads.

2.  A Good ________________(26):  A headline is the “ad for your ad.”  A good headline tells you what the ad is about in 3.2 seconds.  Gives a benefit. Uses power words like “YOU” or “YOUR” and “FREE” and “NEW” or “HOW TO.”  And (obviously) makes you want to read the rest.

3.  Body Copy: Should be curiosity driven.  Each sentence should unfold the “story” you want to tell and make the prospect want to read on.  Should be “Benefit Oriented.”  Don’t tell me what it is you are selling, tell me why it is valuable to me.

4.  Ask For The Order:  Your ad, should always ask the reader to take some action.  Visit your store, call for a free booklet, call your business for more details, fill in the coupon etc.

Other Advertising Rules: Target the best buyers. Target specific people groups.

Use “Editorial Layout.” Use trade magazines or specialist magazines read by your target market.  Studies show that up to 50% of all purchasing is motivated by advertising.


A Test For: “Strategies for Getting Customers”

1. Which of the following factors or criteria might be considered in making a profile of the “ideal buyer”?    (More than one may apply)

a) Geography                       

b) Height and weight             

c) Repetition of purchasing

d) Ability to buy


2. Explain the Dream 100 concept.


3. The best buyers are influenced by other best buyers. True or False?


4. Customers For Life is a concept in which…(More than one may apply)

a) You give such good customer service that you have the customer for life.

b) You will spend a lot more to acquire customers when you consider their “lifetime value.”

c) You determine how much a customer might be worth to you over a lifetime.

d) You don’t care about new customers because you keep your current customers happy.


5. Conquest Strategy is an extension of the Customers For Life concept. True or False?


6. Your accounting firm should not have standard procedures to make customers feel special, this should be left up to each individual employee. True or False?


7. How much more does it cost to acquire a new customer than to retain a current customer? (Choose one)

20% more            100% more            300% more                600% more


8. What percentage of your customers will buy more products or services if you make an offer at the point of sale?

(Choose one)             20%                 3%                   6%                   30%


9. Customers are less likely to purchase from a previous vendor than they are from a new vendor. True or False? 


10. What are some of the benefits of Piggyback Marketing?


11. Building a database that can tell you a multitude of information about your buyers, is part of what marketing strategy?


12. What is Top of Mind Awareness?


13. Which of the following is/are part of the Six Musts of Marketing? (More than one may apply)

a)  Customer Education         

b)  Repetition                         

c) Public Relations

d) Piggyback Marketing


14. Explain the concept of Stacked Marketing?


15. What is the most potent form of marketing?


16. List some ways you can provide customer education.


17. If you want a brochure to be read by your prospects, you should focus heavily on your firm. True or False?


18. Direct mail is another excellent marketing weapon, but only if deployed: (More than one may apply)

a)   All at once                          

b)    On a regular basis

c)     To a wide cross section of the population

d)    To friends and family only


19. Advertising creates the most “top of mind awareness.” True or False?


20. Which of the following are rules for effective advertising? (More than one may apply)

a)  Ask for the order              

b)  Be distinctive

c)  Don’t use features in your ad                   

d)  All of the above


Please Note: This test should be copied for repeated usage, but only by the original reader, not to be used or resold for profit.


Coming Up Next...

In the next post, we'll discuss how to lock in recurring customer revenue!

Best, Jay