Whether you are an accountant, doctor, or anyone else running a small business, your knowledge and skills lie in your industry. Unfortunately, however, even if you are the best in your field, industry-specific knowledge isn’t enough to successfully run a business. You also need a host of technical tools, a bit of financial savvy and some marketing basics to draw in new customers. As an accountant or bookkeeper, you have a leg up on many other business owners because you are perfectly poised to handle and understand the business from an accounting and financial standpoint. However, it can pay handsomely to have strategic partnerships in other areas.
As an accountant or bookkeeper, you should have a strong suite of accounting software that allows you to easily keep the books of multiple clients. If you want to work remotely, you need cloud-based accounting apps, the right hardware, and software that syncs multiple programs together. On a day-to-day basis, quality software can handle most of your tech needs. However, when you need to invest in new software, upgrade your hardware, or deal with a specific technical challenge, you want a professional. Ideally, you should have an IT consultant on standby, able to answer questions and dispense advice as needed.
In many cases, you can also benefit from partnerships with business consultants. Long gone are the days of needing to hire full-time employees to help you run your business. You can find marketing professionals, social media managers, and other executive-level experts who offer their services on a consultancy basis. Don’t be afraid to contact a few different consultants until you find the ones who mesh with you. Once you find a great match, return to that person for help and direction as needed; as the consultant gets to know you and your business model, he or she can become a powerful ally in your success. Working with a third party gives you an unbiased look at your business, and that objectivity can be instrumental when making key business decisions.
In addition to working with key people outside your industry, you should also connect with colleagues in the accounting and bookkeeping industries. Join national or local professional organizations, and make sure to attend meetings. Seasoned accounting veterans can provide a wealth of information on dealing with clients or running your business efficiently, while newcomers bring fresh ideas to old problems. Additionally, as you build relationships with other bookkeepers and accountants, you can start to share business or referrals with each other.
While you may get some referrals from other accounting professionals, it can also be critical to set up partnerships with professionals in complementary industries. For example, talk with an estate lawyer and ask him to send his clients to you about the tax implications of their estate plans. Similarly, if you help people with their taxes, you can refer them to the estate lawyer to get their affairs in order. Alternatively, you may also want to forge relationships with financial planners, business plan consultants, business loan officers, or anyone else in a complementary industry.