CPA Practice Advisor

JUL 2018

Today's Technology for Tomorrow's Firm.

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14 JULY 2018 ■ BUILDING YOUR NICHE PRACTICE Each month we explore the advantages and intricacies of developing and growing a niche practice. This month we're examining what it takes to serve the niche of accountants serving HVAC, plumbing and other contractors. Cool Marketing Tips to Draw in HVAC Clients By Becky Livingston – Founder, Penheel Marketing Summer is an HVAC business’ busiest time of year. With that in mind, you have to think outside the box to reach your busy clients and prospects. What’s an accountant to do? Here are a dozen cool marketing ideas to help you draw in HVAC clients. Make sure your website is mobile ready. Complete your local business listing on Google and Bing with HVAC accounting services highlighted. Use HVAC humor in your online ads to draw in leads, like “When things heat up in your business, call in the pros to handle the day-to-day accounting.” Or, “Keep your cool this summer by outsourcing your payroll to us!” Prepare your ad budget to increase during busy seasons, January, March, and June, which means you’ll be spending more on PPC and CPC ads than in other months. During May 2018, in the U.S., the keyword term “HVAC accounting” had an average monthly search of 20 and cost over $18 per click. If you’re using that term in your advertising, adjust for the increase. Send a summer promotional item they can use during those hot summer months or cold winter days, such as custom cold or hot packs, reversible screw drivers, drink koozies, water bottles, post-it notes, retractable rulers, or joint pain relief. Tie the promotional item to a marketing How One Accounting Firm Created An Industry Niche By Mary Ellen Biery, Sageworks Michael Bohinc is a CPA, a baseball nut and the son of a plumber, so he combined these parts of his background as he developed an industry niche focused on plumbing and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) contractors. Why and how did he do this? The owner of Keeping Score CPA., an accounting, tax and business management advisory services firm in Cleveland, Ohio, has advice for other CPAs and accountants who are considering creating an industry niche. Why He Created a Niche Serving Contractors Bohinc said his focus on plumbing and HVAC contractors grew out of the relationships he built with other contractors while keeping the books and helping his father’s plumbing business. When he ran into other plumbers and HVAC contractors who knew he was an accountant, he’d learn that many of them had an accountant, but they were unhappy with them. “What I found was that the longer the established relationship, in almost every case, the more strained it was,” he said. “The client was just kind of being taken for granted.” The CPA describes himself as “kind of introverted, reserved and shy, more the stereotype of a CPA rather than a marketing person,” but said he came to realize that specializing in an industry he knew gave him more confidence in his skill set and helped him become more assertive in his networking and efforts to generate referrals. His love of baseball and other sports also drew him to using financial statement analysis in order to help business owners “keep score” more frequently – to help them monitor and understand their numbers so they can improve their own firms. “You’ve got to differentiate yourself,” he said. Being able to show plumbers industry benchmarks and how a firm’s performance compares with the past or with peers really opens clients’ eyes, he said. For these firms, he added, “This can really make the difference between being successful and surviving hand to mouth.” He has even written an “accounting basics for small contractors” column for the trade magazine, Contractor, and he provides business-management presentations and classes, including continuing education seminars. Advice for Creating an Industry Niche Bohinc said his niche providing accounting and business advisory services to plumbing and HVAC contractors evolved over the years. “There’s no question that growing up in the (plumbing) business had an influence on this specialization, but I also made the conscious decision to Building Your Niche Practice is sponsored by Intuit QuickBooks. Michael Bohinc

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