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Accounting: Vendor Relations

Accountants make a living handling other people's money. So naturally, these masters of moolah often select vendors based on who provides the best bang for the buck. With today's accounting services extending well beyond the traditional role of tax preparation, software and equipment suppliers realize the potential profit that exists in this industry.

For this reason, more and more vendors are reaching out to financial experts, offering value-added services to improve business relations. Whether upgrading money management software or restocking office materials, most accountants demonstrate fiscal responsibility when shopping for supplies - hence stiffening the competition for those vying for their business. Below are some examples of sales strategies used by vendors to attract financial firms and mold better relations.

  • Seeing is believing. In many areas, the world of money management runs on computers. Faced with bookkeeping, auditing, budget analysis, investment planning, consulting and more, the modern accountant simply needs digital support to survive. The days of punching numbers on a calculator long ago evaporated as innovative financial software rained down from the technological heavens.
    Many vendors selling these programs now actually provide free demos of all applications in stock. By offering software samples, vendors let accountants witness firsthand the program's capabilities without committing to a transaction. During these trial runs, insiders recommend accountants assure the software is compatible with previous systems as well as those used by clients for day to day tracking. Nonetheless, since financial programs tend to run anywhere from a few hundred dollars into the thousands, this kind of benefit could save firms money in the long run, likely building their loyalty with the supplier.
  • Staying on top of the regulatory process. Some tax and auditing software vendors even provide clients with free updates on government decisions and laws affecting the industry. Usually in the form of a weekly or monthly newsletter, these compliance notices keep accountants ahead of the game. More importantly, they allow them to immediately adjust to the new policy. Vendors offering this service usually have professionals on hand to answer questions and help clients take the proper steps to meet the laws and filing requirements.
  • It's good to be a repeat customer! Certain accounting supply vendors reward their devout clients by shaving a few dollars off of the bill when they reorder materials. The savings might come in the form of an email coupon or credit to an already existing account. No matter their purchasing record with a vendor, however, financial professionals should always ask about discounts. In order to keep pace with competition, many suppliers offer sales and promotions on materials, particularly during tax season.