Versatility is great for Swiss army knives, but when it comes to being a professional accountant, being un-versatile may actually be the key to getting clients.
Why? Because the old expression holds true: jack of all trades is a master of none. Positioning yourself as a specialist who serves a dedicated accounting niche makes you unique among your generalist peers. It also lets you fine-tune your skills and truly focus on your accounting practice. Plus, there’s never been a better time to carve out a niche, with many industries on the rise that need a specialist to handle their accounting — and are willing to pay a premium for it.
In this post, we’ll cover the basics of niche accounting: what it is, why it’s a smart idea, and how to choose a profitable niche that will keep you booked and busy in 2022 and beyond.
What is an accounting niche?
Put simply; an accounting niche is a specific slice of the accounting world you serve. It could be a kind of accounting, such as wealth management or tax planning. It can also be a particular industry you serve, such as restaurants or real estate.
Why niche down as an accountant?
A lot of accountants, especially ones who are just starting out, are eager to take on as many clients as possible and, as a result, may hesitate to niche down out of fear that they’re excluding a huge potential source of clients.
But the truth is, not specializing is actually the riskier move. A popular quote from the world of marketing sums it up nicely. “If you try to appeal to everyone, you appeal to no one.” After all, which place is more likely to make the best pizza? An Italian pizzeria that makes its own sauce and dough in-house? Or a mega buffet that also serves tacos, ramen, dumplings, and fried chicken?
Businesses who offer niche services may serve a smaller slice of the market, but they serve them better. And that’s just food. When we’re talking about money, people want to know they’re in expert hands. An accountant who knows all the ins and outs of a particular field— its rules and regulations, its special exceptions, its insider jargon — is worth their weight in gold, and potential clients know it.
What to look for when choosing an accounting niche
Now that we’ve established why niching down is a must, it’s important to know that not all accounting niches are created equal. Here’s what to consider when narrowing down your choices.
- Growth: In 2022, it wouldn’t make much sense for an accountant to specialize in video rental stores since this industry is all but extinct. Businesses rise and fall according to consumer demand, so choosing an accounting niche poised for growth rather than decline is important.
- Profitable clients: It’s also important to consider whether the potential clients in an industry have the financial flexibility to pay for your services. Industries that are known for having shoestring budgets may not be the best to base your businesses on. Pro bono work, sure. But for your bread and butter? You need profitable clients who won’t bat an eye at your rates.
- Recession resilient: Specific industries like healthcare and education are always in demand, no matter the economic climate. Serving these industries helps ensure you have a stable, recession-resilient source of clients.
- Matches your experience: There’s a lot to be said for going with what you know. Prior experience in an industry will provide the social proof to convince clients you’re an expert and let you hit the ground running when you start offering niche services.
- Specificity/Uniqueness: In choosing a niche, make sure it’s a well-defined one. Specific and unique (e.g., eco-conscious hair salons) beats broad and vague (e.g., the beauty industry) every time.
7 Niche markets— and why they are so lucrative
1. Saas startups
Tech has already transformed our lives and is showing no signs of stopping anytime soon. Software as a service or Saas companies are on the rise, with the industry growing from $30 billion in 2015 to $170 billion in 2021. All of these emerging startups need knowledgeable accountants to help them grow and scale, making this field ripe for the plucking as an accounting niche.
2. Real estate
Homes have been selling like hotcakes and not just as places to live. Investments in vacation and rental properties are also thriving, making real estate a lucrative niche for accounts familiar with occupancy taxes, financial reporting, asset protection planning, and more.
New developments, infrastructure maintenance, building renovations, and upgrades — the sky’s the limit for contractors and construction. As the high-demand industry sees even more action in the coming years, with the government increasing investments in infrastructure, accountants can carve a comfortable niche for themselves by providing services such as budgeting, financial forecasting, tax planning, and audits.
4. Medical, Dental, and Law Firms
Doctors, dentists, and lawyers are a busy bunch, and most are more than happy to outsource their accounting so they can focus their time and energy where it matters most for their practice. Accountants can serve this niche by handling things like billing oversight and analysis, wealth planning, and tax preparation.
5. Food and beverage
After a challenging couple of years, restaurants have bounced back significantly. It’s not hard to see why since eating, drinking, and merrymaking is always a popular pastime. And with the various nuances of cash flow, tax compliance, and tip reporting — just to name a few — accountants who understand this niche will always have their plates full with clients.
Don’t let the headlines fool you. Despite a volatile 2022, crypto isn’t going anywhere. As blockchain technologies and Web3 continue to mature and evolve, the need for accountants who understand this aspect of the financial world will also grow.
7. Fitness and personal wellness
It’s never been truer that “health is wealth,” and many people are investing in their fitness and well-being. In general, this industry sees about 8% growth year over year, but with the pandemic shifting our priorities, gyms, health clubs, and fitness studios are all seeing larger-than-normal upticks in business.
No matter the niche, client satisfaction rules all
Whatever niche (or niches) you ultimately choose, there’s no substitute for top-notch client service. It won’t matter how much specialized expertise you have if you can’t also provide timely, efficient service that creates lifelong, loyal clients.
Melio offers a range of time-saving (sanity-saving) tools to make life easier for accountants, from simplified invoice management to two-way syncing with QuickBooks. To find out more about Melio for Accountants and how this easy and intuitive platform can help you manage your niche accounting clients, sign up today or schedule a live demo.