How do you find the best accounting firm niche for you?
It’s a difficult decision to make. Many accountants avoid it altogether, choosing not to have a niche through fear of missing out on all the business they could miss if they specialise. But the benefits of finding and focussing on a niche far outweigh the cons.

While being hyper-focused on one accounting niche might be daunting, the right niche for you isn’t as hard to find as you think.

Why should my accounting firm have a niche?

There are many advantages to having a niche. It allows you and your team to:

Become experts in one area

The more you work on and educate yourself in your chosen niche, the more confident you’ll become in guiding clients based on their specific needs and using their industry jargon with conviction.

Share your depth of expertise and knowledge across your client base

The knowledge you gain from one client will likely be transferrable advice for the rest of your client-base. This will enable you to grow your expertise quickly to assert yourself as an authority within your niche sooner than you might think.

Better predict the challenges your clients will face as they grow

As you work with different-sized businesses within your niche at different stages of their journey, you’ll better predict what’s in store for them. You’ll be able to better serve them, further enforcing your great reputation within the niche.

Benchmark clients against each other

Your knowledge will enable you to set benchmarks for the clients you serve, meaning you’ll be able to better advise them on their trajectory and what they’ll need to do to grow their business.

Create a more focussed marketing strategy

Developing a marketing strategy that is focussed on the needs of one target audience will better resonate with prospects. Rather than using general language around accounting, you’ll be speaking their language.

Attract more dream clients

Business owners talk. Especially those within the same industry. This makes going into a niche a great opportunity to develop a strong reputation among your desired audience and gain clients through word of mouth.

Be more profitable

As with any business, by positioning your service as bespoke, you can command a higher fee than a general accountant with no niche.

Love who you work with

If you don’t have a niche but would like to specialise, this is a great opportunity to assess who your favourite clients are and what it is they have in common. You might find that your dream niche is right in front of you.

3 ways to find your accounting niche

If you’re thinking that all sounds great, but wondering how on earth you figure out what your business niche is, here are three areas for you to question.

Your current clients

Start by looking at your current client base and ask yourself…

  1. Who do you currently love working with?
  2. Who pays you the most?
  3. Who does your team love answering the phone too?
  4. Who always pays you on time?

Other niches

Once you’ve exhausted that list, you need to look to other niches you could work with and ask yourself…

  1. Are there enough businesses within that niche?
  2. Do they have the ability to pay what you want them to?
  3. Are you able to provide incredible value to them?

Look within

If the answers above don’t ignite your passion, it’s time to go deeper. Think about the answers to these three questions:

  1. What clues does your past give you?
  2. If you couldn’t get paid for the next 10 years, who would you work with?
  3. What types of clients strengthen and energise you?

What is a niche?

The first thing that springs to mind is that you must focus on one industry in order to have a niche. But a niche doesn’t have to be defined by an industry, nor do you have to choose only one.

You could look towards person type, revenue range, staff, location, specific goals, age groups, sporting preferences. When you start to think outside the box you see that your niche could be anything you want.

Here are some examples you could choose to focus on:

  • Hair salons with 10 or more staff
  • Michelin starred restaurants in the North of England
  • Female entrepreneurs who want to travel
  • £million+ businesses where the owner wants to play golf more than they work
  • Australian firms who export to Europe

Competition among accounting niches

Another concern firms have is whether or not a niche is very competitive. You might worry that many other firms are already saturating the market.

If a niche does appear a popular target, but you’ve answered the questions above and identified it as the business type or client base that ignites your passion like no other, my advice to you is not to worry about competing…

Concentrate on excelling instead.

Aim to be the very best you possibly can be, and focus on providing outstanding value.

This is where your focussed marketing strategy comes in. Get good at communicating your value better than anyone else, and continue to sharpen your message.

Is it too late to develop a niche?

If you wish you’d focussed on a niche in the beginning, but worry your firm is already established as a general accounting practice, don’t worry.

When Paul Barnes set up successful accounting firm, My Accountancy Place, he didn’t have a niche. It was only through discovering which clients he worked best with, could give the most value to, and were potentially most profitable, that he decided to focus 100% on one niche.

Doing the market research to find your niche may mean extra work in the short term. You might find it difficult to transition if it means losing some good clients who don’t fit your new niche. But it will make your life so much easier in the long run.

So long as you’re going after ‘anyone’, you’re really going after ‘no-one’ and you’ll always lose out to the firm who is going after ‘someone.’

“The hardest thing in life to learn, is which bridge to cross and which bridge to burn” – David Russell

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James Ashford

James Ashford

James is the Founder of GoProposal, Director of MAP., Keynote Speaker & Bestselling Author of "Selling to Serve". He helps accountants and bookkeepers around the world to price more profitably, sell more confidently and to give significantly more value to their clients.