Expand Your Advisory Services
If you keep up with news in the accounting industry, you may have heard about all the success stories of accounting firms that added advisory services. Client advisory services (CAS) can mean a lot of growth for a firm. But these stories are often light on the “how” part of the equation. Sure, your firm could grow by expanding its advisory services, but …
- How do you find the capacity to shift your firm’s focus to advisory?
- How do you roll out your new services to new and existing clients?
- Are your clients ready for advisory services?
The timing of your CAS rollout is crucial to your firm’s success, especially if some of your clients have let accounting tasks pile up. So the first step before rolling out advisory services is getting those clients caught up and started right.
Streamline Client Intake
If you are an accounting professional, you know where bookkeeping fits in many small business priority lists, and you also understand the chore ahead of you when you take on a new client. According to the Journal of Accountancy, 28% of small businesses stated that their top accounting challenge is closing the books each month.
So when your firm takes on a client who has let the bookkeeping fall behind, you know you will deal with a large volume of work that your client urgently needs to be done. And this will take you away from your other work, including the client advisory services that are just getting off the ground. Getting clients started right is the first step, but success depends on how prepared you are. Modern accounting technology can help you always be prepared, and once clients are onboarded and caught up, you can guide them towards advisory.
Start With a Goal and Work Backwards
Before re-engaging a client to prepare for providing CAS, consider what you want the outcome to be. If a client is behind, you may think it is simply getting them up to date and tracking down missing reports. But that goal will only help in the short term. What you ultimately want is for the client to understand the importance of their finances and the data related to it. They need to see how this data can be used in financial reporting and forecasting to help them grow. But first, you need to make sure their data is complete.
For these types of clients, you may have to focus on getting them caught up, but you can introduce them to advisory and let them know what it can do for them when they are ready. Other clients who are up to date may be ready for advisory as soon as you roll it out. Either way, it is important to prioritize their needs so that they see you as a trusted resource and not just the company that does the books.
Automate Everything You Can
We all know how manual tasks can pile up. After all, they can be done when the time is convenient, but time is never convenient in this profession. But if you let them stack up, it often takes more time to do them than if you just handled them in the first place when they were fresh in your mind. It can take phone calls and emails to get the statements, invoices, and receipts you need to finish the task. But you also can’t jump on every task as it comes up because that will take you away from your future of providing advisory services.
Fortunately, accounting automation can handle many of these tasks for you on time. Labor and time-intensive tasks like audits, banking, tax preparation, and payroll can now be handled by automated processes and give your firm more capacity.
Communicate With Clients Often
You don’t have to worry about the clients who reach out to you with their concerns and want to know more about their business. Worry about the ones who don’t. They may not speak to you until tax season. It’s hard to make a client care about their finances, but it is easy to understand why they may not. They may be working double-time just to keep their business running.
Technology can help clients who simply don’t seem to have the time. They may be accustomed to traditional accounting practices and manual reporting. Once you introduce them to cloud accounting software and custom financial dashboards that will always be up to date and that they can view whenever is convenient, it will open their eyes, and they will find the time.
PathQuest SCALE can help reduce the time you and your staff spend on these day-to-day tasks and give you more time for advisory services. PathQuest’s accounting automation solution will help you with your first step into advisory by automating a lot of your current workload. SCALE will also help you with the advisory role itself because it comes with PathQuest BI and PathQuest Reporting, giving your clients customized financial dashboards that are always up-to-date and always available in the cloud. And finally, SCALE comes with an accounting team dedicated to your company and its success to help you with capacity issues.