What Does a Recession-Proof Accounting Firm Look Like?



  • 3 Core Services
  • Building a Team
  • Your Niche and its Opportunities
  • The Strategies of Tax Planning
  • 3 Prioritizing Questions for Your Business/Firm
  • 2 Keys to Success and Accounting


Connect with Roger Knecht

Meet Roger Knecht

Roger Knecht is the President of Universal Accounting Center and hosts the podcast “Building the Premier Accounting Firm.” Roger assists accounting professionals in having a premier accounting firm in their area by offering quality services and getting paid for what they are worth.

In this podcast, Roger details several pieces of advice that will help you grow your firm.

Three Core Services

Roger mentions three core services that a successful full-service accounting firm needs to offer.

  1. Bookkeeping and Accounting Services

  • You should offer the bookkeeping and accounting services that a business owner needs monthly.

  1. Tax Planning and Preparation

  • You should be leveraging the legal tax strategies and limiting the tax liability for your clients throughout the year.

  1. CFO and Advisory Services

  • With CFO and Advisory services, your client sees you more than just the accountant–you’re their trusted strategic advisor.

With these three core services, you are fully connected and passionate about your work with your clients.

Building a Team

Roger says that when you go beyond the basics of running your business (such as only seeing your business as a simple workspace), you will grow a self-sustaining business.

As you continue to grow, you might want to hire individuals who will operate certain parts of your business. These individuals offer a full suite of services that allows you to designate others for different services in your firm. For example, you may bring in a bookkeeping client who eventually becomes a tax client.

This process becomes a synergistic effort that can enhance your business. As you build your team, you have a well-sustained business model that transforms into a full-service accounting business.

Your Niche and its Opportunities

Roger promotes the “niche” concept. Niches are important for firm owners. By finding their niche, that firm owner can provide excellent specialized services that are profitable and enjoyable.

However, you shouldn’t exactly turn away other clients. Clients might not want to work with you if you have a specific niche. Your niche should not dispel opportunities.

For example, if your firm specializes in services for dentists, why turn away orthodontists? You can give the same services that you perform for dentists to orthodontists. Although the professions have slight differences, they both work in the same field that you know how to assist and likely enjoy doing so.

Over time, your business might have to change and adapt. During this time of transition, you have to open yourself up to opportunities. If you close yourself out of opportunities because you’re stuck on this specific niche, you are not allowing your firm to grow.

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Why are individuals not leaning more into tax planning? Roger understands the distinction between tax planning and tax preparation. With tax preparation, you can make great money by merely offering the service.

However, tax planning has gained traction because of its value pricing. Tax planning offers opportunities, including:

  • R&D Tax Credits
  • Cost Segregation
  • Conservation Ease Opportunities

If you know how to perform these strategies and understand tax law, why not try tax planning? By strategizing, you can go to a business owner and say you can save them money by working together to come to the right decisions.

You are now making a lot more money for the tax services you provide for a client in the tax planning field. You have to realize, though, that your job has now changed. It’s no longer the return you’re doing–it’s connecting and supporting the clients.

With tax planning services, you are:

  • Continually meeting with clients
  • Asking them questions to help make business decisions
  • Changing their business model to adapt to the tax laws that exist today

Your processes involving tax planning take strategy and time. It takes education on your part. Having a background in tax planning will make you feel comfortable about the advice you provide. The work of tax planning turns some people away–but, for others, it’s a rewarding and strategic service.

Three Prioritizing Questions for Your Business/Firm

What questions should you, as a firm owner, be asking? What are the priorities in your firm?

Roger has three questions that will help you zero in on what you should prioritize in your business/firm and enable you to move forward.

  1. Are you in a position where you want and/or need more clients?

Are you trying to grow your business? To help yourself grow, you might need more clients.

Some people might answer, “I don’t need more clients. I’m too busy.” If so, then here’s the next question that you should ask yourself:

  1. Are you in a position where you feel the pricing is not where it should be?

Are you getting paid for what you’re worth? In some instances, to charge more, you need to start offering more value to your services to justify your price changes.

Are you offering enough value already? A few questions that can help check you on this include:

  • Am I doing the taxes for the accounting clients that I have?
  • Am I looking at the opportunities to move into the advisory space and start offering advisory services?
  • Am I charging and offering my clients the services they need?

Perhaps you don’t want to offer more services, you’re good on pay, and you love what you’re doing. This answer flows into the last question:

  1. Are you working too much?

You want to be more profitable. You want to charge the same amount of money for the same work for the same clients, but you’d like to do it quicker and more efficiently.

Find your biggest challenges and put your time and attention into those problem spots. The answers to your challenges may involve:

  • Growing your business
  • Getting more clients
  • Offering more services so you can increase the average revenue per client

Wherever you act upon your challenges will bring a new outlook to your firm.

Maybe you have all of Roger’s questions already answered. Still, you should look for ways to see how you can perform your services more efficiently and charge what you’re still charging with more added personal time off.

Two Keys to Success and Accounting

Roger says that the two keys to success and accounting are:

  1. Confidence

You need the confidence to look a business owner in the eye and say, “I can do what you need.” You need to have confidence in yourself as you feel you’re determined to handle all of the three core services that a business owner would want.

To build confidence, practice this type of conversation with a peer or in your mirror. Your confidence builds over time as you meet more clients and boldly represent yourself.

  1. Competence

You have to have the skills for the services you are offering and the competency to perform your services efficiently. If it’s taking you 10 hours to do a job that should take three hours, you are not making the money you deserve.

You’re not making the money you could be making because you are performing inefficiently. You are not using the proper tools to operate your profession well. How well can you deliver and work efficiently to bring in more profit?

Once you answer that question for yourself, you will find yourself in a confident and competent mindset.

Roger’s advice is sure to help you grow your firm. From understanding your core services to realizing what you are worth, your firm will flourish.

To hear more of Roger’s advice, listen to the full episode above and share it with a fellow firm owner that needs to listen to this advice!

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