The accounting profession is undoubtedly in a state of flux and the nature of a what a practice is, what it can do and how it helps its clients has expanded.
Practices are now, more than ever, focused on diversifying and extending related business advisory services to better generate revenue and serve a client’s needs.
Adding consultancy and advisory services in tandem with accounting services is an excellent example of valuable service diversification.
Why add consulting and advisory services?
It’s fast becoming a rarity for a practice to be purely accounting focused, especially with the advent of intuitive client facing accounting software.
During this pandemic, businesses are, more than ever, in need of business advisory and consulting services to help navigate shifting tax requirements, business plan changes, government grants, employee shifts, cashflow enhancement and risk minimisation.
If you see benefit in adding consulting and advisory services to your accounting firm’s services, we have laid out five simple steps to ponder.
1) Possible new services
Consider the value you can add to your practice with the following services and advice:
- Budgeting, and cash flow forecasting
- Start-up planning
- Business development
- Software setup and support
- Virtual CFO
- Performance benchmarking
- Financing and capital
- Business acquisition
- Asset purchasing
- Debtor management
- General business coaching
2) Build capacity
Clearly, you’ll need to be able to back this up with the best staff possible to deliver quality services. If you can’t deliver, there’s no point.
Upskill existing employees, recruit the best new talent you can afford, target recent graduates you can mould to the services you wish to offer and be on top of what the market needs.
Excellent quality talent and the ability to surpass expectations in service delivery is indispensable.
Don’t be afraid in this new world to recruit remotely either, we’ve learnt that it works and you may find the best resources and staff in another geographical location that suits you better than your home city or town.
It may be prudent to outsource or offshore your more basic accounting work and improve in house capacity to offer more client facing advisory services to keep it tight and manageable.
3) Market the advantage
Build a marketing campaign around the benefits of enhanced business advice and services in 2021, ready for launch.
With the array of never-before-seen changes to government assistance, taxation, general compliance, instant asset write offs, business model changes and more, this should fall into place without exerting your marketing creativity too much.
Build the benefits and desire, then execute when the time is right, and when services/staff are in place.
4) Exploit your CRM
Many accounting firms have all the information they need to start providing consulting services or broader business advisory.
As an accountant with access to intricate knowledge of a client’s business model, profitability, tax profile and performance, you have an inside edge you can work with.
Targeting your existing clients with sage, informed advice based on the figures and knowledge you already possess is a powerful tool.
By focusing on existing clients and spending time talking to them, you’ll not only gain new business, you’ll also glean important information about the most important services to them, which will shape your offerings to new clients.
It’s likely that you’re not seen as a business advisor and you could easily be overlooked in favour of firms that have set their brand up to be more obvious in their value, services and capacity.
If you have been a more traditional accounting firm in the past with a solid client base and branding which tells this story – the story needs to change!
Meet with a rebranding agency or do some internal legwork to understand how to better represent yourself to the market.
Your business will change and your message needs to as well. Yes, it’s an onerous task which may involve:
- Social media
- Core messaging
- Newsletter campaigns
- Traditional marketing
If you want to change your skin, the market needs to see and understand this immediately. Rebranding is a vital step to advisory transformation. Don’t neglect it.
To find out more about APS software, visit www.aps-software.com.