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3 top reasons to enter your small accountancy firm into a business award

by Apr 5, 2018Marketing, Winning new business

We are entering into business awards season for accountants. With the Accounting Excellence awards now open, it seemed like a good time to shed light on the benefits of entering awards and which type of awards your small growing firm should enter 


Business awards: What are the benefits of entering? 

There are many great benefits for entering your accountancy firm into a business award. Firstly, the judges can only judge the firms and businesses who have entered. This means that for some business awards, the bar is set very low to get shortlisted or even win. I’ve judged lots of awards now, in particular The British Accountancy Awards three times and Practice Excellence (now Accounting Excellence) three times. The small firm category for Accounting Excellence normally has over 60 entrants. It’s a really tough one to get shortlisted let alone win. Whereas a regional independent member firm category for The British Accountancy Awards may have only as little as 3 entrants, all who will get shortlisted. However potential clients or new hires don’t know how easy or hard it is for your accountancy firm to win the award! 

Business awards: What’s in it for the event organiser and why you need to know this 

Promoters of business awards typically do it for many different reasons. The first one is to grow their list of growing businesses. I.e. for accountancy firm only awards, the organiser will be growing their list of accountancy firms.  

When an award’s organiser ask people to ‘vote’ for a shortlist of entrants they typically want to grow their email list. Although the general public at large wouldn’t know if your firm won an award because you managed to get the most amount of votes, these types of awards, or ‘glorified popularity contests’, are not great for your credibility.  

When you enter a business award the organiser should under the new GDPR rules be upfront in how they plan to use your data. (But don’t hold your breathe!) For example, a marketing firm hosting a business awards event will benefit in several ways: 

  • Increased awareness and visibility amongst their target market 
  • Generating an email list of growing businesses who are potential users of their services (particularly if part of any prizes on the night are linked to using their services) 
  • Market research and business intelligence on the best stuff businesses are doing 

For example, the organisers of the Accounting Excellence (new name for Practice Excellence) will use the knowledge they have gained from all the award entrants to drive a large part of their content for AccountingWeb. Whilst the details of your award entry wouldn’t necessarily be in the public domain, a judge or event organiser can not just erase their memory of your entry. This means if a vendor to the accountancy profession is organising an event, would you be happy for them to share your best ideas or ways of working with others in the profession?  

And lastly, but by no means least many event organisers hope to make a decent profit on the night by selling tickets for the event. An event, such as The British Accountancy Awards or Accounting Excellence, may be free to enter. However the cost of a ticket to the awards night is typically £150+. When you then factor in accommodation, transport to and from the venue it becomes a very expensive night. Particularly if you decide to take lots of your team!  

When should you enter your accountancy firm into a business award? 

Winning business awards are great for lead generation and also helping to attract high quality new hires. They can give a much needed boost to morale for staff. Therefore, before you enter an award you need to be absolutely certain it will help raise your profile for the right reasons and be credible enough in the eyes of your staff and potential clients. Awards that are great for doing this for accountants are: 

  • Local business awards  
  • Accounting Excellence (new name for Practice Excellence) 
  • British Accounting Awards 

If you are considering entering an event to recognise your achievements in anything other than being great for your clients, e.g. an award for practice management type stuff, e.g IT, technology, marketing or training, then I would question who will be getting the benefit of your entry? E.g. you or the event organiser?