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Client acquisition: Purchase of fees and cold calling

Business growth comes from two areas – selling additional services to existing clients and acquiring new clients for the practice.

Purchase of fees

One method of acquiring new clients is the purchase of fees. The purchase of fees is a common term for the purchase of an interest in an accountancy practice.

A purchase may be to start or expand a practice, to obtain additional or required resources or to fully utilise currently under used resources.

The helpsheet Purchase of Fees identifies the various factors to consider when contemplating the purchase of a block of fees and includes:

  • objectives
  • identifying purchase opportunities
  • right to an introduction
  • valuing
  • multiples
  • assets and liabilities
  • due diligence
  • terms of the purchase
  • administration
  • financing the purchase
  • workbook/checklist to record of decisions in deciding whether to proceed

Cold calling

Cold calling is the term used to describe a marketing contact with a potential client or customer when they haven’t previously contacted you or asked you for information.

Mailing lists

Mailing lists can be purchased from the Institute’s Library and Information Service by business sector or by postal area. We can also produce reports which list the companies audited by a named firm of accountants. This data is in the public domain and is taken from the information that companies are required to file.

Don't mislead, offend, insult or harass your target

You may make an unsolicited approach in writing, by fax, e-mail, telephone or personal visit to promote any of the services you provide. You should ensure, of course, that your approach is in accordance with the guidance and that you do not mislead, offend, insult or harass your target.

Responsible marketing

Please refer to the guidance in Section 250: Marketing Professional Services of the Professional Accountants in Public Practice regulations, and the Ethics Advisory Services Marketing helpsheet which:

  • outlines the principles governing the marketing of practice activities
  • advises on the means by which you may make contact with potential customers
  • and the restrictions and requirements regarding what you may or may not say about yourself in order to attract new business.

'How to approach a cold lead to give yourself the best chance of success.' Article published by Small Business Update, September 2009

ICAEW copy checking service

For just £25 for an A4 sheet or equivalent the Regulatory Information team will check marketing material to ensure that it is consistent with the requirements of the ICAEW Code of Ethics.

Checking material before publication can avoid complaints and unnecessary expense and our normal turnaround time is five working days.

The Regulatory Information team may be contacted on +44 (0)1908 248 250 or email information.centre@icaew.com