How To Find Clients

I get a lot of questions from bookkeepers and accountants alike. One of the things I get asked the most though, is how I find my clients.

It might seem like a bit of a personal question, but it makes sense. If you don’t work for a firm, it can be hard to find out who needs your services and who doesn’t. You don’t have a sales team cold calling potential clients, and you definitely don’t have the time to do it yourself, even if you wanted to. Which you definitely don’t, it sucks.

So, after being asked so many times during and since QuickBooks Connect, I wanted to put together an article to talk a bit about how I find my clients. But, before I get into it, I wanted to point something out. I didn’t start my practice and get my very first clients on my own. I had help.

The reason why I want to point this out is because I know how discouraging it can feel when you’re working so hard and for so long to find your own clients...but, nobody’s heard of you. Our field, and finances generally, rely on a lot of trust. Your potential client needs to trust you with their entire financial life, which can be hard for some people to do. They don’t just want to leave that all up to a stranger.

The point I’m making is that I don’t want anyone new to the profession (who happens to be reading this) to feel discouraged. Everyone has help and everyone needs help to get their foot in the door and the ball rolling.

Personally, I got a little help from my Aunt Debbie, she's been a QuickBooks ProAdvisor since they started the program!!  Ask her, she'll proudly tell you:

1. Networking

I’m not joking. When I was in school learning the ins and out of QuickBooks desktop and then QuickBooks Online, I didn’t have any clients. I knew nobody, and no one knew me. So, being the great person she is, my Aunt helped me out.

She’s was a bookkeeper herself, and has a slew of clients. She helped me out, and I still work with some of those first clients today. She has now transitioned to helping her clients in a different capacity as their outsourced CFO.

That was my first experience with the effects of networking. It was at a very basic level, but ultimately I got my first clients by knowing someone who knew them.

This touches back on my original point. Accounting and bookkeeping is heavily reliant on trust. The fact that those first clients knew my Aunt, she could tell them that I was trustworthy (which I am) and good at my job (which I am). I got lucky, though. I just so happened to have a family member who I was close with and who also happened to work in this profession.

For everyone else, there are other ways to network for clients. Events like Quickbooks Connect, Scaling New Heights and others are great ways to connect with other accountants, bookkeepers, CFOs and the like. By doing so, you might just happen upon someone who knows someone who’s looking for a bookkeeper or accountant.

Start attending events, and talking to people in the space. Attend events that your ideal client would attend!! Join a networking group...having a meeting to go to routinely can also give you some needed structure & company. I know that being a Solopreneur can be hard!  The sooner you start, the better.

2. SEO/Blogging

If you’re reading this, it’s working! This method requires a little more work than making some friends at an event in the short term. But, it’s a better long term way to find clients, and is way more easily scalable as your practice grows.

Creating a website (especially if you’re a purely QBO or online practice like Totally Booked) is essential to running your business. So I’m going to assume that you have that already, or it’s in the works.

From there, I’d highly recommend starting a blog on that same website, and getting to writing.

Creating written content for your site does a few good things. First, it shows people that stumble upon your site that it’s active, and that you’re engaging. You don’t want your website to just look like a landing page with your phone number on it. Activity on your site shows your commitment to it, and that you’re active in the accounting and bookkeeping space.

It can also give your clients and potential clients insight into your practice. To loop back to the trust factor necessary for accounting and bookkeeping, a little transparency is always a good thing. Whether it’s some information about what’s going on with your practice, what you’ve been up to, or informational articles like this one, it all works to give a little insight into you and your practice, while also revealing some of your personality.

A bit more on the technical side, more content makes it easier for people to find your website. Google and other search engine platforms use certain analytics to figure out which pages will get to the top of the page when certain words and phrases are searched. By using those keywords as much as possible in as many pieces as possible on your website, Google begins to recognize your content as higher quality, and will lift it higher and higher as it eventually reaches the top page. So, when people Google “Bookkeeping Services NYC,” for example, Totally Booked’s website ranks 5th on the top page of Google. That’s thanks to articles like the one you’re reading right now.

3. QuickBooks ProAdvisor Profile

Last, but certainly not least, is my QuickBooks ProAdvisor profile.

As I’m sure you’ve guessed by perusing my website, I work exclusively with QuickBooks Online and have since I started Totally Booked 3 years ago. In that time, QuickBooks and Intuit have been great to me. Even at this past QuickBooks Connect, I was featured for my activity on social media.  I cannot stress enough the importance of these platforms for accountants and bookkeepers to network, find new clients, and advertise.

But, probably the most important part of our long partnership is my QuickBooks ProAdvisor Profile. My profile tells potential clients everything they need to know about me, my business, and my services. Plus, it gives them a platform to review me, and for potential clients to see what everyone else thinks of me.

Of all the ways I try to get new clients, my ProAdvisor profile is far and away the most useful. Part of the reason is just how easy and useful it is. All a potential client needs to do is jump onto the QuickBooks website, click “Find a ProAdvisor,” and QuickBooks will find what they believe to be the best option for you in your area.

When you search QuickBooks ProAdvisors in New York, Kelly Gonsalves comes up as the number 2 option. I'll take it!  This is determined by location, number of reviews, my ratings from clients, the types of certifications I have, and how complete my profile is.  (Tip: grow this profile by asking your happy clients for reviews, if you do work for a CPA firm ask them for a reviews too...they're your client!)

If you’re here, I’m assuming you use QuickBooks as well. But, if you don’t, other major accounting platforms have similar partner and advisor programs that you can surely take advantage of.

And that’s about it! To be fair, there are other ways I’ve gotten a client or two here and there. But these are the top three ways I find new people to work with hands down.

Finding new clients is hard, especially if you’re just starting out. But, once you get started, it really begins to snowball. People talk, and these three methods are basically ways to make sure that when they do, they’re talking about you.

Kelly Gonsalves