Compliance, advisory performance, and advisory strategy are the main component of accounting services. Most accounting firms and accountants focus on compliance. While it’s still an amazing strategy, you risk losing a huge base of clients who are looking for dynamic services. With the advancement of technology, accountants are now forced to reinvent. Cloud computing has reduced the demand for compliance services such as financial reporting and bookkeeping.
With cloud accounting computing, processes such as bank reconciliation are swift and fast compared with previous decades. Advisory services can set you apart from the rest and help you yield value to your clients. When you want to venture into advisory services, your business model has to be top-notch. How you package your services is what will attract clients. Cost and presentations are significant features of your service package that will help you lure clients your way.
1. Identify your target clients and establish an approach.
When designing your business model, you need to know there are different types of clients. You will meet clients with different sets of financial issues. Before you sell them your knowledge, you need to have an approach that will make them seek your services. It’s important to know that you need a diverse set of tactics and language. Your approach to a business client will be different from a personal tax client. For instance, you have met a business owner who’s frustrated by the dismal performance of their business. Your approach towards such a client will not lean towards compliance. Such a client needs change.
Your advisory services will help this client figure out ways that will meet their goal. Their goal is to revive the performance of their business. As an accounting firm, understanding the client’s goal will be a key step. When you have understood their goals, you can advise that will cultivate trust in your firm. When you meet a client whose tax books are a mess, clearing this mess will take time. There will be plenty of communication from your firm to the client, and as such, you will need to have a plan. You will need to see the client on a regular basis to create a relationship as you help them sort their tax books.
2. Recruiting clients to your advisory business model.
When you have established how you will approach different clients, you need to bring them onboard. How long will it take you to onboard a client, 20 days, 50 days? A shorter onboarding process will help you retain clients. It will take your effort and investment to get a client, and losing one because of the lengthy onboarding process will deal you a heavy blow. When you start this process, establish goals with your client. Offer them incentives that will encourage them to keep walking with you through the various steps. If the client can deliver important documents within a few days, that will fasten the onboarding process.
The advisory process will have critical stages. Each stage will be dependent on the other. Walk your clients through these stages and make them understand the importance of each stage. Also, be clear about deadlines and penalties. If they fail to submit documents for each critical stage, there will be additional costs that they will incur. When goals and critical stages are clearly defined, you will find it easy to onboard your clients. When you want to have a smooth onboarding process, have a checklist. It will help you ensure you have the appropriate documents for every stage. Onboarding your clients is a huge step towards making your business a success. If they are happy with how you are handling things, they will get satisfied and maybe send referrals to their friends.
3. Establish trust with clients.
A satisfied client will remain loyal to your services. When you gain their trust, they will always seek your advice. Always remind them of their obligations. When there are documents they need to submit, remind them of the set deadlines, and remind them of their goals. When you are driven, you will keep in touch with clients from time to time. It will help you determine if there are any emerging issues that need to be solved before they escalate further. Also, have specific people that will keep in touch with each client. For big clients, you might need to have account managers. Account managers will learn more about a client’s business when they meet frequently. Account managers have excellent customer service skills. They can easily establish a connection with a client, and it helps foster trust between a client and your firm.
4. Monetizing your advisory services.
According to research, firms offering online accounting have a better chance to sell advisory services to clients. It allows you to monetize your knowledge in accounting. Clients have a deep urge to use online accounting software such as QuickBooks Online, but they don’t have an idea of where to start. You can offer those services that will help them design and implement accounting technology stacks tailored for the needs of their businesses. Another way you can monetize your services, especially for long-term clients, is through subscription. Subscription will help you do away with hourly billing and give them better value. For a client that is always seeking your advisory services, they can pay a flat rate that entitles them access to your firm any given time they require your help. With this subscription model, you can also add premium subscriptions. In premium subscriptions, clients get to customize the kind of advice they need. You can offer premium services such as weekly reports or fast processing finishing dates.
When accountants see themselves as a valuable element in the success of a client’s business, they can create a name for themselves. It’s not just all about running numbers. Clients are not looking for compliance services, they want advice, insights, expert opinion, and advice on budget planning. Recent surveys are showing that firms that are now offering advisory services have a better chance compared to other firms. Is your firm ready to become a trusted financial advisor?