As an accountant in Pennsylvania, you have expertise that most people do not have. Your knowledge of finances, taxes, financial reports, and federal and Pennsylvania tax law makes you a critically important partner for your clients’ financial success, whether they are businesses or individuals.
But for your own financial success, the riches are in the niches, as the saying goes. When you specialize in one industry or service, or in a few complementary industries or services, both you and your clients benefit. Your clients benefit from your niche expertise as you guide them on best practices and offer them one-on-one attention as a trusted advisor who knows the ins and outs of that particular business.
You benefit because niche accounting sets you apart from the competition and defines you as a thought leader; you grow professionally and become an expert in best practices in the business; high-value clients seek you out; and you’re able to do something you enjoy and charge more for it.
To determine your primary niche, do some brainstorming with your team and ask yourself a few questions:
- What areas of expertise do you or the members of your staff already have?
- Who are your current favorite clients?
- What does your ideal client look like? Try to create a thorough image: industry, type of help they need from you, personality, location, size of business or income, whether you want to stay local or expand nationally or internationally
- How would you like to be set apart from the competition?
- What do you really like to do, what are you good at?
- What would you like to learn that you have the time and the resources to learn?
- What upgrades to your technology, office policies and procedures, staffing, or training would you need in order to begin to grow in your preferred niche?
Be practical when you begin this brainstorming process. For instance, if you’d love to be an accountant for professional sports teams but there aren’t too many major or minor-league sports teams near you and you have no connections in the industry, that might not be a good place to start. However, fitness and physical therapy businesses service many athletes, and they are in growing markets, so you might make health and wellness your primary niche. Sports team accounting may become a complementary service that eventually develops, as your business relationships with those who service athletes expand.
Finding the right niche
Try to focus on an industry with high-quality clients who aren’t looking for the cheapest accountant but rather the best. Industries that are populated by detail-oriented, growth-minded professionals will offer you the best clientele and the most enjoyable work. Also, consider how rapidly demand for that industry is expanding. Look into a few of these markets:
- Attorneys and legal experts
- Health and wellness: hospitals, doctor offices, physical therapists, fitness companies, etc.
- Real estate agencies, house flippers
- High-quality construction and home renovation companies
- Software, social media, and SaaS companies
- Growth markets in your area
As you research the markets that already dovetail with some of your existing knowledge or resources, look for complementary services or industries, as well, like the example already given for health and wellness. The construction and real estate industries also share many cross-over accounting needs, laws, and regulations, and people in each industry are likely to have business relationships with people in the other. Cross referrals would be easy to obtain when your clients are pleased with the expert service you provide.
Reach out to other PSTAP members as you begin the process of moving toward niche accounting. Our members have a wealth of industry knowledge that they’re happy to share with other accounting professionals and CPAs.