CPAlliance: Evaluating Your "Who" And Determining Your Niche

CPAs who provide tax preparation, financial planning, and investment advisory services are some of the most sought-after advisors on the planet. Their unique ability to understand and analyze tax issues, business finance, and personal financial planning topics equips them to help their clients in a way no one else can. Due to the high demand for these specialized CPAs, they must narrow the focus of their audience to find and serve their ideal clients. Evaluating your “who” can be an incredibly effective exercise to ensure your practice runs efficiently. This allows you to give your best efforts to your ideal clients, maximizing your income, and avoiding burnout. 

Because every client is valuable, narrowing down the “who” you want to focus on can be difficult. We’ve broken it down step by step to help you determine the ideal client and audience you want to acquire to grow your business. 

Step 1: Define their Attributes 

The first step in evaluating your “who” is to define the attributes of your current and ideal clients. What do you enjoy about working with certain clients versus others? What clients do you get excited to see when you have an appointment with them? What do you wish you saw more of in your clients? Think about what you enjoy the most and begin compiling an attributes list. I like to call the attributes of your ideal clients “Must Haves” and attributes you don’t enjoy “Leave Behinds.” 

One “Must Have” I think we can all agree on is a client who readily seeks and acts on your advice. Inversely, nothing is more frustrating than a client who doesn’t act on valuable advice, only to complain when their situation worsens. . .that’s what we call a “Leave Behind”. Defining these types of attributes allows you to be selective with your clients, making the most of your time, energy, and resources for the individuals you enjoy working with the most. Take some time to compile your attribute list, you’ll need it for step 3! 

Step 2: Evaluate your Current Audience

Next, you’ll want to determine if your practice currently serves a specific market niche or if you want to target a different audience. For instance, some CPAs enjoy the detailed-oriented nature of engineers, while some like the complexity of multi-national corporations. Chances are you’ve already built up a concentration of clients you naturally lean towards. Identify 2 to 3 groups your practice is already well-suited for and identify your market niche or several. Having a market niche makes growing and managing your practice much easier. 

Step 3: Compare your Audience and Attribute List

Once you’ve narrowed down the audience you enjoy serving, compare those audiences to your attribute list. Does the audience you currently serve or want to serve match up with your “Must Haves”? If so, you nailed it! 

If not, dig a little deeper into step 2 and see if you can think of new audiences that may better align with the attributes of your ideal clients. 

Step 4: Define their Need

Once you’re focused on your niche or audiences, your next step is to determine what their need is. While a particular attribute or segment of the population may seem enticing, there’s a chance they don’t need your services. I know this sounds simple, but there are times when your services are not a good match. Be sure to spend a minute or two vetting your niche or niches to ensure they would appreciate and value the services you offer!  

Step 5: Tie it all together!

The final step is to bring it all together. Now that you’ve written down your preferred client attributes, matched those attributes with one or more audiences, and verified those specific groups need your services, you’ve just created your “who”! With this powerful information in hand, you are ready to be the financial planning superhero the world (well at least your segment of it) needs! 

Discovering your “who” allows you to reposition your practice to serve your ideal clients and create a highly sought-after CPA financial planning practice clients will seek out and you’ll enjoy running! Download our Evaluate Your Tax Practice worksheet to find out if becoming a CPA Financial Planner is your next business move!


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