I've written an article that came out today on AccountingWEB. Kinda relevant and helpful for non-accountants, too. Hope it provides some ideas and fresh perspective on healthy service and marketing behaviors in tough times.
So far, CPA firms seem to be feeling limited impact from the economic downturn.
Some firms are seeing a bump in "average days in A/R" as business clientele slow their payments due, in turn, to their dipping receipts. Other firms report the heartbreaking scenario of trying to assist as their vulnerable clients take measures to remain solvent—scaling back, if not ceasing, operations.
This work is both emotionally draining and urgent, yet often gets billed lower than average because CPAs tend to be caring people who don't want to add significantly to the client's financial burden. Sadly, any bump in revenue for this consulting potentially precedes loss of the recurring work.
The bigger impact for CPAs probably still looms as more businesses will fold, especially in hard-hit fields such as restaurants and hospitality, construction, and real estate. Presently, it's mostly in the form of clients choosing to spend less. "Extra" services perceived as non-urgent or preventative such as estate or succession plans and internal control review procedures aren't hot sellers right now....
What's a firm to do to assure as much stability as possible with revenues so unpredictable? As AccountingWEB readers are pros at cost controls, cash flow management, and other tactics to mind the bottom line, we won't address those here. Instead, we'll talk about your relationships with your clients, and how you work with them.
Using any of [the following] approaches can help sustain any size firm through a rocky time.