What techniques do you use for marketing and what characteristics and skills do you market yourself on as an accountant/bookkeeper?

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I’m a bookkeeper and the things I market myself on are:
– Efficiency/accuracy – my work is good.
– Flexibility – if they feel more comfortable having me in the office to start off with, or using their systems instead of bringing in my own, I can do that.
– Availability – I try to reply to all emails and voicemails within 12 hours of getting them.
– And I’m friendly! I will bring a big bag of crisps to the office for us all to share, I’m a bit of an introvert but I’ll make an effort to get involved with office conversations and take a genuine interest in the rest of their business/lives. I think this makes people trust me and have faith in my work.

I’ll always have a preliminary consultation to work out what they are looking for and whether it’s something I can help with, and I see that as a chance for both of us to make sure we will get on and work well together. And I have references/testimonials in case they want to be extra sure.

I started my bookkeeping working with an accountant so I asked him for a reference, then I asked all the clients I have direct contact with to write me a testimonial. Now that I’m booking new clients, when I take them on I pre-arrange a review meeting after my first quarter with them, and I ask them for a testimonial then.

For online stuff, I guess make sure to offer a skype with them before you get any work done in case they want to put a face to your name and develop a more personal relationship; try to get back to them relatively promptly and make sure to ask what their current systems are and how you can either follow them or improve them. Basically, what have they been doing and what are they’re looking for now – and whether you can do that or something similar.

Ellen Florence is a freelance bookkeeper and virtual assistant for charities, creative organisations and small businesses. Based in Penzance, Cornwall.