Marketing to an international audience is challenging. It’s especially difficult to navigate in the accounting space, as different laws, languages, and tools can create barriers to entry. But for one busy Canadian accountant, Juliet Aurora, overcoming these obstacles was one of the best things she ever did for her practice.

TSheets by QuickBooks recently caught up with Aurora, who started her bookkeeping business, AIS Solutions, back in 2000. Since then, she’s worked mainly with local businesses. In 2016, though, she earned two international clients — a US-based business and business in Barbados. 

“Serving clients outside my local area gave me my first taste of serving markets internationally,” said Aurora, “as well as having the opportunity to enjoy visiting my client onsite in Barbados.”

In 2016, Aurora’s team launched Kninja, a training and support community for accounting and bookkeeping professionals, which was intended from the start to reach a global customer base. In fact, their mission is “to educate and empower bookkeepers and accountants across the globe to help them build their Firm of the Future.” 

Since the challenges that bookkeepers and accounting professionals face in building their practices are so similar, Aurora says the advice they seek is universal and not too specific to a physical location.

3 tips for going global

But despite the similarities between accounting professionals around the world, Aurora says marketing to a global audience was still challenging. She had to overcome language nuances and software limitations, but in the end, she was able to gather some insider advice on how to make it work. 

Here are Aurora’s three tips for taking your business to international markets.

1. Get to know your target market

This might sound obvious, but unless you have a picture of the type of customer you want to target, you’ll have a very hard time finding those leads. And as Aurora notes, this doesn’t only mean making sure you’re speaking the language. You also have to look at the fundamental values of the clients (or customers). “Similar to marketing locally,” she explains, “having a solid understanding of your ideal client is fundamental.” 

Interview people in your target geographic location so you can get a better understanding of what drives them. Better yet? Visit and meet those people in person. That way, you’ll have a true picture of the audience you’re trying to benefit. 

 2. Leverage technology to fill the gaps

If you have clients all over the world, you’ll soon realize that it’s impossible to remain awake at all hours to serve people in different time zones. For that reason, it’s critical to put the right tools in place so that your clients feel like you’re giving them the attention they deserve, even if you’re fast asleep. Automate as much of your messaging and resources as possible so that customers everywhere feel like they’re getting the answers they need when they need them. 

3. Set clear expectations

“If you don’t have a team that can provide service across all time zones, make sure you communicate that to your clients at the onset,” said Aurora. The worst experience a client (or customer) can have is to feel like they’ve been let down. 

At the same time, don’t let your honesty derail the experience. Find ways to let people know upfront where you’re going to be or where your company is based, and what you’re going to do for them from afar. Tell them the best way to get in touch with you, and make it easy. Highlight the benefits of working with you, as opposed to the competition, while still acknowledging that some of the work you’ll do for them will be from a different time zone. Reassure them that this distance will not negatively impact the service you provide.

Challenges come with rewards

Aurora says that being able to help businesses succeed, no matter where they are, is the biggest benefit of working with international clients. “With Kninja, I’ve been  able to speak with accounting professionals around the world and realize that we all have similar struggles, and that similarities exist between small businesses around the world.” 

Since she and her husband both love to travel, their ability to visit their Kninja customers and make new friends is a big bonus. But it’s something they would never be able to do without the technology available today. 

“Our world is becoming significantly smaller with the expansion of technology,” said Aurora. “Through the use of tools like QuickBooks Online and Zoom, we can literally provide services to anyone in the world. I believe that as the general population becomes more comfortable with the cloud, and the need for a physical location no longer becomes a requirement, the potential for us to service clients will increase exponentially.” 

Getting your business ready to take on global clients takes some thought and preparation, but as Aurora well knows, there’s no better way to expand your horizons — both professionally and personally.  


Kim Harris studied journalism at Mills College. After teaching English in Thailand for three years, she returned to Boise, Idaho to begin her career in content marketing. When she’s not telling the world about TSheets by Quickbooks, you’ll find her spending time with family and friends, learning about wine, or planning her next adventure.