What do Great Accounting Firms have in Common

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accounting firms

Great Accounting firms have four types of products that all serve a unique purpose:

1. Gifts
2. Products for prospects (PFP)
3. Core offerings
4. Logical next steps (LNS)

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Let’s take a look at each of these types of products in order and place some rules around them to make sure they are doing their job.


Gifts are free products that you give to the world expecting nothing in return. You don’t ask for contact details, you don’t ask for money, you don’t ask for anything. They are thoughtful, valuable and enticing in their own right and they show just how brilliant your business is.

A great gift is delightful if it’s given to the right person at the right time. It needs to open people up to a whole new world of value that your business offers.

Your gift should entice people to want to know more about what you do and what value you offer.

Big companies like Rolex, Qantas, Credit Suisse and Kia give us the tennis, the golf, yacht races and other sporting events as a gift. They pay for these events to run and you don’t have to be a customer to enjoy them.

Apple gives you iTunes for free. Google gives you browsers, calendars, maps, apps and more for free.

In a small business, a gift can be a DVD, a book, a YouTube channel full of great content, a downloadable checklist or a sample.

The key is that you give it freely and ask nothing back from the person who receives it.

1. It is given as a gift without conditions. The gift must be given freely, it must be perceived as valuable and timely. You must not ask for anything in return, you release the gift free to the world.
2. It must be meaningful. A great gift can open people up to a whole new world; a world where the problems and frustrations they’ve had don’t exist the way they used to.
3. It doesn’t send you broke. The gift must be low cost for you to deliver; you can’t go broke giving gifts. In most cases it will be a digital gift, social media or an event experience (all of these have a very low and manageable cost per person).


free consultation

This is a product for people who want to try you out without committing too much money or time. This type of product is designed to offer a quick win or a first-hand experience. It’s a sample of things to come, a test drive or a first step in the right direction.

A good law firm will offer a free first consultation, a car dealership might invite you to a special event, a small business might get you to buy a home study kit or attend a low-cost seminar.

Products for prospects need to have a low cost. Either a small amount of money, some focused time or sharing of contact details.

The product for prospects is designed to ignite the commercial relationship between your business and your ideal customer.

It should warm people up to doing business with you, share some of your philosophy, demonstrate your value and do it all quickly and cheaply.

Apple have the iPod Nano. BMW have branded clothing. Google offer an Adwords voucher. Accountants invite people to attend a networking event in their office.

Small businesses can run events or webinars, create memberships, offer downloads or have books or DVDs all very cheaply.

1. Get your ideas out to the world.The product for prospects should be focused on sharing your ideas and philosophies. Not generic ideas, not old ideas, not small ideas. Share your big, unique and transformational ideas with your prospects. Ideas are cheap these days make your money on the implementation of the ideas.
2. Get contact details. A product for prospects should be exchanged for accurate contact information. It’s OK to charge for this product if you like and it’s also OK to give it at no charge but you must get people’s contact details in the process.
3. Quick wins. You want to make sure that people get some sort of quick benefit from this product, preferably in under seven days. If you charge, it should be priced cheaply enough that people feel they got a very good deal considering how quickly they started to see value. The product for prospects should lead people closer to the decision to buy your core product but not cannibalize your core product. A quick win doesn’t mean that the problem is completely solved and there’s no longer a need to do more with your business.

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sell to exisiting clients


These are the products (or services) you are famous for.

For BMW it’s cars. KPMG’s core offering is auditing. Singapore Airlines are known for long-haul flights.

With these products you can deliver a full and remarkable solution to what people want. These products seriously solve problems.

They are your main focus and your customers and clients can’t stop talking about them. These products are priced to be profitable. It’s OK to lose small money on gifts and products for prospects but not on your core business.

You’ve giving people a taste of what you can do with your product for prospects but now it’s time to be paid for your fair value when someone wants to access your core business.

You must create a special methodology that makes your core offering remarkable. You need to push your team to be the best in your market for this type of product.

It’s important that you develop enticing brochures and websites for your core product. You should raise your profile as the leader in your industry for your core product.

The key is to create a full and remarkable solution to your ideal customer’s problem. You want your core product to turn people into evangelists for your brand.


1. A remarkable solution. The core business must be a full and remarkable solution to a real problem your potential clients face. By definition, a remarkable product is something that is worth talking about. Your goal is to create your product in a way that people want to tell their friends how good it is.
2. Implementation, not ideas. In most cases your business will implement some sort of change for a customer or client. You will create something they couldn’t create on their own or you will work with them closely to help them create it properly. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that you will make money just by sharing your ideas. We live in a world where people already have access to ideas free of charge; they don’t have time to implement the ideas and they want to pay you big money to do it for them (or to get them to do it right). When someone has your core product they feel it solved a problem or created a huge benefit.
3. The price is right. The job of the core product is to make profit; you can break even or even lose small money on gifts and products for prospects but you must never undersell your core product at a loss or a break even.

For example for an accounting who services SME’s the minimum fee should $1000 per client per year. Every time a client says yes to doing business with you, it must generate an order of thousands of dollars minimum. You can’t run a profitable business on small sales. It’s OK to have a small unit cost, but the minimum order size must be $1000+ per year. If not, I would say it’s a product for prospects not a core business sale.


Your core product was so delightful that your clients want to know what comes next. The LNS products are the products you mostly sell to people who’ve already bought your core business.

BMW are known for their cars but they make a lot of money in finance and insurance (the logical next step after you’ve just bought a car). Then they service your vehicle and eventually they handle the sale of your older car as they upgrade you to their new model.

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Your LNS product should be highly profitable. Selling to existing clients is highly profitable because the cost of winning the relationship has already been covered.

The LNS product creates a long-term underpinning of your business. With this fourth product you should do well in business for many years to come.

1. It’s highly profitable. The logical next step should aim to double the profitability of your business. This product is designed to be sold to existing clients so you don’t have the huge costs of building a relationship with them. A well-selected second product should have the potential to double the profit in your business.
2. It’s different. It must not simply be more of the same. If your core business is accounting, your LNS can’t be more accounting in some other form; instead it could be legal services, business coaching, financial planning, finance, software, temping staff, etc. But you should not be personally trying to deliver those services but Joint Venture with a provider of those service
3. It’s logical. You don’t want to confuse your clients with a second product offering that just doesn’t fit with your brand. If you sell graphic design services, you don’t want to offer personal training as a second sale because it just doesn’t seem to make sense. The LNS product is a logical next step, that shows up after you solved the first problem. For example, after a fitness trainer helps their client lose weight the client logically wants to buy new clothes; the fitness trainer could add a personal image consulting service to their business.

If you are:
1. working long hours and
2. not making the money that you should be making or
3. not being able to spend time with your family or
4. You not able to take a holiday and feel like a prisoner in your business
5. Finding it hard to find the right staff.
6. Cannot get the team to take more responsibility for their work
7. Getting a million questions from everywhere and finding it hard to do your work own work.
8. Feel like you are working really hard but not seeing enough productivity for your effort.

Spend an hour with Ed Chan from Chan & Naylor who started his Accounting Business from home and has now built it to a multi million business with 10 offices around Australia and 150 staff.

With the right systems and processes the business can run with very little effort from you.

Ed has proven it and living it today.

It just pays him a passive income today and he has lots of free time to pursue other interests.

He is the only person who has done this when compared to other coaches who claim they can help you but have never run an accountancy practice successfully or who have sold their accounting office.

Why is Ed doing this?

It’s his way of giving back to the industry that’s been good to him.

He only takes on 6 firms at a time and places become available when firms “graduate” after around 9 months to 12 months.

This is not for everyone as you will need to have the desire to get more efficient, make more money, have more time off, have happier staff and be prepared to grow but most of all be prepared to listen and follow instructions.

If you would like to spend an hour with Ed to see if you qualify to join his program please reply to this email with.

If you would like to spend an hour with Ed to see if you qualify to join his program please click Here edwardc@chan-naylor.com.au to email Ed.


Disclaimer: This article contains general information; before you make any financial or investment decision you should seek professional advice to take into account your individual objectives, financial situation and individual needs. Click for more detail regarding this disclaimer.

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