Are Accounting Certifications Worth It?
Google “accounting certifications.” (Seriously… do it. )
What did you find? Several articles about accounting certifications that employers want to see, or the best certifications to advance your career. But you’re an entrepreneurial accountant… You’re running your own accounting firm. You are your own boss. And you have complete control over how the rest of your career moves forward. So why would you care about accounting certifications? Especially when your clients don’t…
Not You… We Weren’t Talking About You
Before we get into this, let’s be clear about one thing. This is not a knock on someone who went the extra mile to get and maintain a CPA license. And that’s for one primary reason, CPA is a commonly recognized accountant certification. When your dream clients hear CPA, that means something to them because they’re already familiar with the terminology and what it entails. CPA does add validity to your expertise. However, you don’t NEED the CPA title to solidify your expertise for your dream clients, and you definitely don’t need any other certifications either.
It's All A Misunderstanding
Accountants are drowning in certifications that they don’t need. And, entrepreneurial accountants are wasting their time & money getting “certified.” The marketplace is full of accounting pros with certifications. Why? Because of a big misunderstanding…
Designated Certifications > Dream Clients
Regardless of what stage your accounting firm is in, your goals likely align with the idea of earning more and working less. In order to accomplish this, you need to sign premium clients. Most firm owners have the right mindset regarding this- They need to offer premium services to receive premium pricing, and flashy certifications seem like an easy way to establish expertise and value. Makes sense. But they’re missing an important piece of the puzzle: what their clients care about.
Certifications are important to other accounting professionals and employers, not clients. Prospective clients need something more significant than a piece of paper that says you completed a course. Instead of chasing down certifications, entrepreneurial accounting firm owners should concentrate on what’s most important to their dream clients.
When you’re investing your time and money in certification, you’re missing out on opportunities to offer assets that your clients find valuable. You’re valuing certifications over clients. Put certifications on the back burner and focus on speaking to your dream clients. It’ll save you time and money AND, it will help you reach your dream accounting firm faster.
What Should Entrepreneurial Accountants Focus On Instead of Certifications?
Entrepreneurial accountants need to approach client acquisition from a different perspective. Instead of worrying about the latest and greatest accounting certifications, take the time to figure out what is most important to your clients. If your niche is biotech, demonstrating that you’re familiar with R&D tax credits and handling large investments is much more convincing than telling your prospective client that you’re a certified, Chartered Global Management Accountant.
Think about it like this, if you have to explain to your clients why an attribute or certification is valuable to them, it’s not worth getting in the first place. Focus on what’s most important and valuable to your dream clients. Don’t think about “how can I make myself more valuable to my client.” Think about how you can make your services more valuable.
Turn your attention to generating reviews from business owners like your dream clients. Take time for content production to demonstrate your expertise and show how your experience aligns with their business goals (you can check out our guide to defeating your content production fears here). Set up a lead generation system that targets a specific type of client, that you know you can help. Certifications don’t fight commoditization, but investing time & interest in different ways to communicate with your dream clients will.
Your peers care more about accountant certifications than your clients. Your clients care about The VALUE of the service that you provide. Learn how to communicate this value and reap premium earnings in our Create Your Dream Firm program.