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Growing Your Firm

Honoring Black entrepreneurs: How I built a multi-seven-figure accounting firm in under 5 years

My name is Duke Alexander Moore. I’m an enrolled agent, Advanced QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and founder of Duke Tax, an accounting firm specializing in advising creators, entrepreneurs, and small business owners on their finances. When I started my business just four years ago, I was fresh out of accounting school—certified, yes, but vastly inexperienced. Today, Duke Tax is a team of 18, serving more than 1,000 clients and on track to clear more than $2 million in revenue by 2024.

Our meteoric success didn’t happen by accident. As a young Black professional, I made it my mission to dispel stereotypes and set a new standard for minority-owned firms. And now, in Black History Month, I’m partnering with QuickBooks to share my best advice for achieving growth and financial freedom.

Building a business from the ground up in under five years, I’ve learned a few crucial lessons.

Offer advisory services, not just compliance

My number one tip for accounting pros hoping to build a thriving firm is to focus on advisory services. Naturally, as accountants, compliance is our specialty—we file taxes, cut paychecks, and manage bookkeeping. But where we have the potential to add tremendous value is by analyzing what the numbers mean and counseling clients on big-picture strategy.

I aim to operate as my clients’ right-hand advisor year-round, not just their tax preparer for a few months each tax season. We hold quarterly review meetings to assess financial performance and nip issues in the bud, and when tough decisions arise around pricing, hiring, and expenditures, I provide custom guidance based on deep knowledge of their business. This high-touch, holistic approach is why my firm boasts a sky-high retention rate and client referrals that fuel continual growth.

As a Black professional, I’ve made it my mission to offer unmatched year-round guidance. The relationships I build cement client loyalty and allow me to increase pricing over time.

Charge your worth: Clients will pay for value

Speaking of pricing, what you deserve is critical for any entrepreneur, and yet more than half of Black-owned businesses tend to undervalue their offerings. According to a recent QuickBooks’ study, Black-owned businesses report lower revenues and profits than the national average among all sectors.

I suspect minority business owners discount products and services in hopes that more affordable pricing will attract business and loyalty. But the opposite is true. When you undercharge, you undercut your own worth and signal inferior value.

That’s why, when I started Duke Tax, I established premium pricing from day one, in alignment with the immense value I provide. And as I helped clients scale, I gradually increased my rates every 6-12 months. Because clients could quantify how my expertise was directly boosting their bottom line, they happily paid the price I asked. In setting rates on par with competitors and never shying away from raises, Duke Tax grew at a clip that far outpaced our expenses.

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Because clients could quantify how my expertise was directly boosting their bottom line, they happily paid the price I asked.

So I urge all Black accounting professionals: Do not discount your knowledge, skills, and offerings. Quantify the tangible ROI you deliver and align your pricing accordingly. Educate clients on the immense value you provide. Those who appreciate quality will pay for it. In establishing our worth, we can begin to close the pricing and profitability gaps plaguing minority-owned businesses, and build successful businesses we can take pride in.

Start making changes today

With all this in mind, I urge my fellow Black accounting professionals to do two things:

  1. Incorporate advisory services into your firm to add value for your clients.
  2. Refuse to discount your knowledge, skills, and offerings. Quantify the tangible ROI you deliver and align your pricing accordingly, educating your clients along the way about the immense value you provide. 

By offering expert guidance and insights that show your clients what you’re worth—and then setting your pricing accordingly—you can help your clients achieve their goals even as you achieve your own.

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