Falling Gas Prices. How Will This Affect Your Clients?

SOB FacultyMarketing, Practice DevelopmentLeave a Comment

I’ve been writing a lot lately about how accountants and bookkeepers can and should be thinking about those value added services. As we continue forward there will be less data entry. Yes we will always have to babysit the data and make sure things are getting categorized correctly, but the bookkeeping process as a whole should diminish in terms of the time it takes. What will you do with that extra time? You might start thinking about how the economy both nationally and globally might impact yours and your clients’ businesses. How will falling gas prices affect your clients?

Small business owners are asking for more strategic guidance from their bookkeepers, accountants, & CPA’s and here’s another way you can provide it.

Have you noticed that gas prices are down? Oil prices have gone down roughly 50%. For many of us this is great news, but not all. In fact for most of us, falling gas prices means we have extra money available to spend on other things. Have you thought about how falling gas prices might impact your clients? What strategies can you develop and implement on this basis? If you have clients who are substantially effected by gas prices, this is a good time to stop and think about what you can do. Maybe they can put aside the difference? Look at what they’ve been spending on fuel for the past 6 months. Run a comparative P&L for last year and this year. See what the drop in fuel cost looks like on a monthly basis and suggest that your clients put that difference aside each month.

Do you have clients who are in the restaurant business? This might be a good time to encourage them to push back on suppliers for a reduction in their prices because with falling gas prices they are incurring less in fuel cost. There is a good chance these suppliers had raised their prices to account for the past climbs in gas prices. Now it should go the other way. If they are not willing, shop around with other suppliers. Someone will want the business and they will be willing to do something now that they can afford to be more flexible because of falling gas prices.

According to The Wall Street Journal the average US household is expected to spend about $550 less on gasoline in 2015 compared with 2014. This means that your retail clients have an opportunity to grab some of that excess discretionary income their customers now have. Help them by making them aware of falling gas prices and what that means for their business. Then they either have marketing people they can strategize with or they might ask you for ideas. Either way without having to spend much time you have just added tremendous value for your client by simply having this conversation with them. And you didn’t even charge them extra for it!

Are you in or do you have clients in Texas? This will be a very different conversation. The same falling gas prices will have a detrimental effect on the Texas economy. Hercules Offshore, Inc. is a Houston based firm who is laying off 324 employees, roughly 15% of its workforce due to the same phenomenon that looks good for the rest of the country. Much of the Texas economy is derived from the energy sector. How will this impact your clients in Texas? Think about it and most importantly talk to your clients about it.

Post your ideas below – how can this information help you to help your clients? Look at their Profit and Loss Statement and think about it. Are they reimbursing a lot of sales people for their gas? Maybe the savings from falling gas prices can afford your client another sales person to help boost sales?

 

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