Kickstart an Advisory Business out of Your Accounting Firm in 10 Steps
The shakier the economy, the more hesitant businesses are to hire accounting firms. Plus, almost every day, a new kind of accounting software is introduced to business owners to simplify their accounting and bookkeeping matters.
Therefore, you need to bring your firm’s game into a new perspective and take in new challenges not only to survive but outshine competitions. Your company should be more than just CPAs, tax-fillers and bookkeepers. It’s time to step up your position in the industry by turning your accounting company into a business advisory firm.
Step 1: Prepare for the shift
Yes, there is a wrong way and right way to change your accounting firm into a full-grown business advisory company. There will more responsibilities and clients are to expect more from you. What used to be all about crunching numbers is now integrated with strategies and frameworks to fulfil client’s goals. Basically, with the new advisory services you’re offering, you will be a part of a client’s success or failure. (Let’s not hope for the latter).
Your firm needs to avoid backslash and prepare for changes to come. Plan the actions needed. Keep everyone on the loop specifically those members of the firm that are to work as advisors. Design versatile strategies for safe fails. Assess the way how your firm’s culture will react to these changes. Be realistic on your team’s capability when it comes to this fresh concept.
Step 2: Find the problems you can solve
You are looking to build sure-fire strategies to help your clients succeed. Your company’s new role to your clients is to fill the void on grey areas so they can optimize their processes, make sense of how they handle their finances and get a good picture of what they can do to improve their businesses.
You wouldn’t really get to know what kind of advisory services to give to clients and future clients if you don’t know their pain points. Talk to clients to identify common problems. From there, it becomes easier to build services and solutions you will offer as a business advisor. You will bridge the knowledge and skills gaps.
Step 3: Find the best members of your firm to join the advisory folks
Remember that if you were to bring more people to the advisory department, that’s going to affect the productivity of the entire organization. Ideal members should:
- Have extensive knowledge on industry and about businesses
- Is passionate about helping clients and have the “coaching” mentality
- Confident on talking to clients as an advisor
- Have the same values as to what you are looking to achieve
Step 4: Brainstorm on approaches and strategies
The business advisory side is a whole new thing for your firm. Changes are to be expected so it’s necessary to brainstorm about changes, approaches and strategies as shift comes to focus.
What are the challenges? Redefine the opportunities presented in this shift. Come up with the worst-case scenarios and create your safe fail haven. Think of factors that will affect the shift’s short term and long term goals.
Step 5: Create multi variant packages for various business sizes
As you analysed your clients’ pain points, you must figure out the type of solutions for them. Analyse which among these new services are likely to be often requested. Think of your service “packaging” strategy. Will you package these services as a part of your accounting service or will you charge for one sessions?
Build a standardized set of services for different business sizes.
Step 6: Contact the local business and finance regulation
New services could call for new regulatory rules and compliances with the local and national government. Check on your local government to avoid legal hassles. Make sure you cover this as a part of your basics.
Step 7: Analyse short term and long term goals
What is your firm looking to achieve in six months? What about in five years? You need these goals to see progresses as you evaluate the effects of this shift to your firm.
Consider these factors as a part of your goals:
- You should be able to demonstrate expertise to your client and drive efficiency for smoother processes and ensure consistent reports within the set timelines.
- As an advisor, you need to provide information to guide clients through advanced finance strategies.
- You will also simultaneously work with management to create frameworks useful to align financial reporting standards specific to a client’s organization.
Step 8: Understand your ideal client’s financial performance and goals
This is a 2-way work. Your clients have to give you the realistic picture of their financial performance and from here, create reachable goals. Develop what-if scenarios to formulate specific approaches not only to reach goals but also to protect clients from possibilities of risks.
By pre-planning for common scenarios, you are able to portray your expertise to your clients and ensure that their business is in good hands.
As an expert, you must be able to demonstrate the effect of even the littlest of details in their finances. By understanding their current performance and their future goals, you can come up with realistic approach specific to their business.
Step 9: Introduce to clients the new services
You would never want to look like a rookie as a business advisor. Although the advisory side of your accounting firm is a fresh concept, you should portray your expertise and long experience in the industry to your clients.
Now it comes down to introducing the changes in your firm to your clients. Emphasize advantages of these new services. Send out introductory emails to your existing clients. Create awareness campaigns.
Step 10: Revolutionize through cloud computing
When your firm dives into an advisory model, it revolutionizes the way your business runs. Everything in the process must be detailed, recorded and executed with certainty. Make use of cloud computing technology to ensure that every step of the change is optimized. For example, marketing these new services can be done through a customer relationship management and automation software like Infusionsoft.
Although the shift is not a decision to take slightly, it is worthwhile if you want to standout in the industry, increase the firm’s revenue and build better reputation in the marketplace.