December 8, 2020 6 min read
The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur’s contributors are their own.
In the past few months, the world has had to drastically adopt new business methods thanks to the global health crisis. While many companies are now used to working with tools like Zoom and cloud-based collaboration platforms, there are still some industries that haven’t fully implemented the digital transformation needed to grow their business in the years to come.
The accounting and financial services industries in particular tend to adopt new technologies and processes more slowly. Because of the numerous regulations that govern them, compliance and legal teams tend to move slowly when their organizations are faced with circumstances that force them to adapt quickly due to potential problems that may arise in the future.
However, if accountants and financial firms expect to survive and thrive in this economy, they need to accelerate their digital transformation. History has shown us that companies can make great operational and organizational leaps by adopting and implementing ideas and processes from independent companies and industries.
Amazon.com, Inc. (Amazon) is an example of a company that has done exceptionally well during the pandemic. This success was possible because of her numerous investments, including the digital transformation of her business over the past twenty years. Here are three lessons accounting and finance companies can learn from Amazon if they want to keep growing in the years to come.
Use technology to unlock hidden sources of income
One of the main reasons Amazon’s competitors like to hate them is because the company has perfected the use of technology to generate revenue in creative and sustainable ways. From being an online bookseller, Amazon has grown through long-term strategic planning and reckless execution into a full-stack technology company with businesses in the cloud computing, logistics, financial technology and multimedia industries.
Amazon can conveniently operate in multiple industries as it has stuck to its primary mission of being 110% customer obsessed. This fanatical devotion to their customers has helped them build a technology-driven business that offers products and services that have helped grow their revenue streams.
Related: The “Amazon Effect”: How E-Commerce Will Change in 2019 and Beyond
Accounting firms can replicate this strategy, carefully examining their clients’ new challenges and offering technology services and products to help their clients adapt and thrive in a new business environment. The impact of these hurdles could mean moving away from just traditional accounting services like auditing and tax advice, to more creative services like technology-driven business coaching, virtual CFO services, productive subscription services, software as a service product, and more.
Market your knowledge
Amazon currently operates in about fifteen countries, but ships products to over a hundred countries. Their value proposition and brand awareness are so strong that customers automatically assume they can find any product on Amazon first before they have to look elsewhere.
This is a unique feature that very few companies with excellent marketing practices have from a marketing perspective. The universal appeal of Amazon shows that the company marketed itself aggressively for a long time before it could conveniently be nicknamed “all business”.
Auditing and finance firms tend to be less aggressive about sales and marketing. This is because these companies believe that their credentials, reputation, and years of experience in the industry are enough to generate word of mouth and referrals.
With the global health crisis eliminating face-to-face conferences and networking events for the foreseeable future, accounting and finance executives will have to be more aggressive with marketing if they are to reach the millions of companies who need their help now.
Related Topics: Jeff Bezos’ initial focus on books is the best beachhead marketing strategy implementation ever
A great way to achieve this is to double up on your digital marketing. Accounting firms need to start creating and sharing content to help potential clients solve some of their current challenges. From creating podcasts, to virtual summits and training, to writing engaging articles and case studies, content marketing can be a great way to increase brand awareness and strengthen your value proposition.
For example, just days before a new administration begins, business owners are excited to see how they can prepare for the tax changes being implemented by President-elect Joe Biden. Audit firms can have their executives create bite-sized educational content that addresses immediate concerns. As a direct result, they position themselves as helpful experts who can guide clients through these troubled times.
Down niche for explosive growth
As a direct consequence of the global health crisis, it has become more comfortable for the world to work in an environment that only comes from afar. This phenomenon has opened up a tremendous opportunity for accounting and finance companies to make a name for themselves by tailoring their products and services to a specific client.
With geographic restrictions no longer hindering business growth, companies may be able to target customers across the country and possibly around the world. By serving a specific industry or type of customer, you can better understand customer needs. This will help your company develop targeted solutions and repeatable processes to help similar customers.
Jeff Bezos implemented this strategy at Amazon when he founded the company in 1994. When Jeff started the company, he only focused on selling books online and grew it into the world’s largest bookstore in just a few years. As Amazon scaled its infrastructure and operations to efficiently source, market and distribute books, more products were gradually added.
Related: Amazon, raised by cloud revenue, surpasses Wall Street targets
The company would not have grown rapidly if it hadn’t taken the time to focus on getting its first product right before moving on to others.
Accountants and financial firms have a unique opportunity to determine who they want to serve in this new remote-first world. By specializing in supporting only one type of customer, they can quickly gain market share in their chosen industry, develop a deeper understanding of customer needs, and implement productive, high-margin services at minimal cost.