Globalization has changed the way Canadians do business, and that change has brought opportunity for professionals who know the local business climate. Accounting services pros are especially in demand, since international clients rarely know enough about Canadian tax law or accounting practices to handle those things in-house. These clients may not be prepared for how unique each province’s laws and customs can be, and a local expert is worth his weight in maple syrup. You can take part in this mini-boom with aggressive client marketing strategies aimed at the foreign entrepreneurs who’ve graciously decided to call Canada their new home.
International clients who first reach into Canada usually have similar needs. Whether you’re working with a Chinese venture capital firm, a British energy company, or a dairy farm in Vermont, most need help filing federal and provincial taxes and preparing reporting statements. International clients may even need your help issuing stock or bonds in a Canadian market. If you have experience in these fields, there’s a crowd waiting at your door. Consider these strategies:
- Digital marketing: The internet knows no country, and it’s likely that companies expanding into Canada will seek you out online, if you’re there. In this context, “digital marketing” refers to a broad class of high-profile exposure online, mostly third party and not directly related to sales. For example, if you were recently written up in CPA Canada as a thought leader in farm taxation, then that Vermont-based dairy farm can find you when it plans its move into Ontario. Likewise, the Chinese venture firm might know about the Strategic Finance piece you contributed to last year regarding investment disclosure laws. Getting attention like this is free publicity, and it brings many of your best clients to you sight-unseen.
- Social media marketing: Social media marketing is a little different, as you’re in total control of the message yourself, though you’re also probably working hard to win an audience for accounting services-related content. Try starting a blog where you can share your expertise. Link every article to your firm’s social media platforms, and keep up the stream of content. In time, this strategy can win as much attention for you from international clients as your press notices.
You can also eke out a place in the globalized market by appealing to Canadian businesses that have recently expanded overseas. These companies often need a bit of help with the tax consequences of foreign earnings, especially if they’re still small and don’t have the available talent to expand their accounting department. By learning a thing or two about doing business with China, Mexico and the States, you can position your accounting services firm as the go-to resource for globalized Canadian businesses. Of course, first you have to find the clients, which can be tricky. Here are a few ways to go about it.
- Talk to your current clients: If you have Canadian clients, you might already have international clients and just not know it. Many Canadian companies do a small amount of business in the States, for instance, and they may not have thought of you (yet) for helping them bring their profits across the border. A short conversation with your existing clients could win you work, and as their overseas business grows, so does yours.
- Networking: You already know the value of joining civic groups and the like for networking reasons, as well as attending conferences and building a word-of-mouth empire. By putting out word on your networks that you’re looking to help clients with international portfolios, you might whistle up a new job quicker than you expect.
Globalization is a two-way street, and there’s business to be had working with both foreign and domestic clients. By positioning yourself well at home, you could be well-positioned on both sides of the road.