Selling Our Services

a client meeting

I was on a webinar yesterday that got me thinking about selling our services. How do we sell them, as in our sales process, and our perceptions about price, value, and affordability? What does the client expect and what do they think about the service they’ll get? The webinar was about Income Protection and what an important product that is. We will discuss more about that at a later date. We sell accountancy and bookkeeping services but we are all selling services. Let’s take a closer look at

  • Reason we are in business
  • Need versus want
  • People buy from People
  • Price and Value
  • How we sell
  • Summary

Reason we are in business

The reason we are in business boils down to one word. Profit. We want to make a profit. Profit pays the bills and determines the money you take from your business. The more profit you have the higher the salary or drawings you take. That pays the bills and protects you and your family. The food on the table and the roof over your head.

While profit pays for the basics it also pays for the luxuries. Who doesn’t like a nice holiday, or a nicer home fit for that ever-expanding family? And don’t forget the car, the swimming/golf/chess/tennis lessons that you need the taxi for in the first place.

These last few years my main financial goal was to have enough money to buy a home. I am sitting in my new home now, bought this month, writing this blog. Without a good business that makes a profit, I wouldn’t have been able to achieve this.

Profit also gives you enough money to reinvest in the business. To pay your team well so they are happy. To buy new IT systems, invest in training, so you continue to grow and offer the best service you can to your clients. We all want to hold onto the team we have. They are dealing with our clients day in day out and there is a mutual trust and relationship there. Profit is good. Profit isn’t greed.

I was at an Institute of Tax conference years ago in Galway. The speaker was ex-KPMG and working for Revenue. They sent a letter to a taxpayer asking for an explanation about the low level of drawings from the business. Drawings are the money a sole trader would take from the business to live. The explanation Revenue got in a letter from the accountant was

“Our client enjoys a very low standard of living”

To which the speaker replied, not only does he have a very low standard of living, but he enjoys it.

Profit equals a higher standard of living.

Need versus Want

Need versus want. What does a client want? A set of accounts and a tax return or else Revenue will be onto me, and the bank wants them too. Ok, so that’s the basic want of the client. But what does that client need? You take a close look and see that

  1. They are in overdraft, but customers owe them €60,000
  2. The owner director is paying employers PRSI on his salary.
  3. There is €25,000 owing in debt warehousing to Revenue.
  4. VAT returns are late so there is a 20% RCT deduction rate

The client wants support and protection. Imagine you are sitting in front of him saying you’ll look after him and do his accounts and tax return. Are you really looking after him? The client needs help with

Credit Control

Credit control is vital for this business to survive. His money is sitting in his customer’s accounts and it’s costing him bank charges and interest. This hampers the growth of the business and increases the pressure on the business owner. After all who starts a business thinking they’ll have to spend time chasing payments? I know Dee, our office manager, does a brilliant job getting the money in for one of our clients. His company bank balance is a lot healthier for it.

In fairness, she honed her credit control skills in our business. A few years ago, it was always a time of worry for us during certain months of the year. The VAT bill, the PAYE liability, and the monthly salary payments all hit within a few days. Would there be enough in the account to pay for everything? Sure, if there isn’t we can hold off taking our salaries until more money comes in.

We decided it was time to change. All new clients sign up for a DD. We invoice on time and clients get reminders and phone calls if it comes to that. We need to have money in the account to pay our way and invest for the future.

Payroll services

A company director who owns the business shouldn’t be paying employer’s PRSI. We picked up a few of these cases over the years where they do their own payroll because that’s easy and anyone can do it! Well, if it was that simple why did you overpay Revenue by €6,000? Employees expect to be paid on time every time and the right amount. If they don’t, they want someone to help them to fix it.

Tax Expertise

Firstly, they’ll need tax expertise to get the overpaid PRSI back. Then they need help to get a phased payment arrangement in place to sort out the debt warehousing issue. And that tax knowledge can help to ensure they reduce their VAT and other tax liabilities to the minimum.

It’s our job to advise the client on what they need and not what they want. By doing this we can help their business grow. That’s good for us too. As they grow and expand, they need more of our services, and we get a happy client who trusts us and values our service.

People buy from People

Think of it. You get a Revenue Audit letter out of the blue. Let’s say it’s an inheritance tax issue. Sure, my solicitor took care of that for me or so I thought. You need help. When you google accountants in your area a couple stand out and you check their website. When you log onto the website a bot pops up “How can I help you?” Do you tell the bot your concerns and innermost fears of impending doom? Like the Panto at Christmas. Oh no you don’t!

You want to talk to a person. Somebody who understands what the letter is about and what you need to do to fix the problem. Because this person can even fix this problem for you. So, you can delegate your problem to somebody else for a fee. They’ll take care of it, and you are no longer worried and in fear. But that conversation is better if you are face-to-face with a person.

You meet in person or on Zoom. You know they have sorted out a similar problem for a friend or family member. People buy from people because they build a relationship. That builds trust. Trust in the knowledge, capability, and integrity of the person who offers you a service. They are telling you they will sort out the issue, what they will charge, and the timelines. You don’t give two hoots how they do it but just do it. Like Nike.

Price and Value

Let’s think about price and value. How often do we as advisors sit in front of clients thinking the number we are about to quote is very expensive? That price is very high. It costs too much. There’s no way they’ll be able to afford that. I would say the answer is very often. It’s bet into us and that’s not a good thing. Our go-to is to keep it as low as possible so the client will accept, and it won’t be too expensive for them, and we’ll all be happy.

This is so wrong. We are too focused on the price and not on the value we bring. And very often we don’t charge for all the services we provide. Many clients won’t understand what they need. Sure, it’s just a set of accounts and a tax return. But if you have a company, you need

  1. A set of company accounts that are in line with company law.
  2. A set of abridged accounts for the Companies Registration Office
  3. An annual B1 return for the CRO
  4. Minutes of meetings
  5. Corporation Tax return

Communicate the value

It’s up to us as their advisors to get across the value of running your business through a company. While the accountancy fees are higher because of these extra services you need but you will

  • Save thousands in tax as your profits will be at 12.5%.
  • Not have massive tax liabilities every November.
  • Have more money to invest into a pension.
  • Have limited liability to protect your personal assets.

And there are so many areas of value that you bring to your clients every day and say nothing about it. It must be an Irish thing. We love to be seen as modest and not blowing our trumpets. While some of the lads and lassies you see on LinkedIn are boarding their private jets in Dubai. And telling the rest of us they have the Naomi Campbell vibe as they don’t get out of bed for less than ten grand. Ten thousand Lira in my case.

It’s not a case of telling them everything you do. Like “Oh we filed that VAT return on time for you last week” It’s more of a case of telling them when you saved them money. Like

” We reduced your VAT liability by €1200 because we can claim 20% of the VAT cost of your new car”

I see this very often in our office where the lads are doing great work across the board but we don’t always communicate the value to our clients.

How we sell

How we sell to our prospects is pretty straightforward at this stage. The typical scenario is

  • A person has a problem
  • They google accountants in Waterford
  • They check out the website, possibly social media, and ask other people about us
  • Call Dee or send in an inquiry.
  • She sets up a meeting for which we charge, in most cases.
  • Meet the prospect for up to an hour to understand the issue and what the need is.
  • Send a proposal with a short video to explain our proposal.

So, nothing mind-blowing there. One software we use is a pricing software called Go Proposal. The reason for using this is that it gives the prospect a breakdown of everything. It lists out all the services and a price beside each service, plus some information about each service. This is transparent and the prospect knows what they are getting and the price they pay for each service. But they also know what’s not in the proposal.

If they are happy, they can click a button, accept the proposal, and then digitally sign an engagement letter. No scanning, printing, or posting so it’s easy to use. And it doesn’t take a long time to get a proposal out there. An important thing for us is to get a proposal out very soon after the initial meeting. That keeps the momentum going. If you delay for weeks, then life takes over. They talk to somebody else, or the problem isn’t such a worry anymore.


We record a video on Loom to go with the proposal. That’s a nice add-on for the prospect as it’s one of us talking through the proposal to get the message across a bit better. You also might talk about something that came up in the meeting that is important for the prospect down the line. But for now, we need to get this initial piece done first to get you sorted. Once we’ve done that we’ll come back to the other thing. You are creating an expectation of acceptance.


Like our clients, we, your accountants, are in business too. But are we passionate about our accountancy business? If we are we’ll get that passion across to our clients. We are growing and trying to improve too. We have done this and believe me, it works. Or we have also done those things and they don’t work. We love the numbers; we love making a profit and want to make more of it. The team here gets the greatest satisfaction from seeing our clients grow. A client gets a loan for a new premises. A client reduces their wage costs and their profits increase. A new prospect gets a large tax refund.

The exciting bit is that we are part of our client’s journey. Selling our services to grow, improve, and become more profitable is what we all want. Investing in your business by having a quality bookkeeping and accountancy service will pay dividends down the line. You’ll be on a sun and a skiing holiday then.

Do you want to make sure your business is looked after? If so, start here