Accounting Advisory Services – What Are They, And How Do You Maximize Their Revenue?
The term “Advisory services” is used so often that it can be difficult to understand what exactly it means. “Is this something new?” “Is it different from what I’m already doing?” “I feel like I’m always advising my clients!”
I believe that Advisory services will be the future of bookkeeping for accounting firms and sole proprietors. Why? There’s a reason technology makes compliance efforts easier. Another reason is that the pandemic has made entrepreneurs more concerned about keeping their finances up to date as they closely monitor their cash flow or apply for government subsidies.
Let’s take a closer look at what accounting firms and Advisory services really are, what it means for your business, and what they can do for your clients.
Who Is It For?
At first, you may wonder if this is really for you or if only a “select few” are qualified to offer accounting firm advisory services.
They do not need a CPA or MBA to offer these services. There are countless areas where entrepreneurs need advice, and accountants, tax professionals, and accountants of all kinds can fill this gap.
What Advisory Services Are (and What They Are Not)
Most of the traditional services we call accounting or bookkeeping can be categorized as compliance services. This includes keeping books, preparing financial reports, and filing taxes. These are all essential areas for entrepreneurs. These services focus on historical data.
Advisory accounting firms go further by looking at the present or the future and providing guidance to entrepreneurs. With the right collaboration, you can make more informed business decisions, increase profits and cash flow, and avoid potential problems.
Is The Advice impactful?
Advisory services are generally one-time services performed on an as-needed basis by accounting firms. When customers run into problems, they call accounting firms for help. They consult for a short time (until the issue is resolved) and then return to compliance. They can charge a consulting fee, and in many cases, clients may simply assume that these emergency calls were part of the contract under which you were hired.
Advisory services, on the other hand, are integrated into cooperation with customers through accounting firms. They know that firms provide advice in certain areas and pay more for the added value of that advice (more on this later).
I’m sure everyone has done some Advisory services before. In fact, in a recent survey, nearly 60% of accountants said they offer Advisory services. We never know exactly what these services look like at these companies, but to get the best results for you and your clients, you need to approach consulting the right way and make it an integral part of your service.
Compliance And Advice
Advisory services are becoming more and more commoditized. With little difference in tax returns and financial statements for each company, price competition can lead to bottom prices. This is why so many companies compete on price or market themselves using terms like “reliable” and “accurate,” which are standard expectations. This is where Advisory services can set your company apart from others. They can add real value to our client’s businesses and help them reach new levels of success. It all starts with maximum expertise.
What Is Their Specialty?
What can they do best? Do they know more about you than your customers? Where do they need help most? What is important to your customers?
Advisory Services By Accounting Firms Include:
- Cash flow forecast
- Implementation of the technology stack
- business plan
- Apply for funding and credit
- Operational review
- Human Resources, Payroll, and Benefits
- KPIs and metrics
- Price Analysis
- Technical training
- Tax measures
- Improvement of business processes
It also means helping clients understand the complex business issues that arise from accounting. For example, how to increase sales, how to reduce costs, when to hire employees, and whether to renegotiate bank loans. Think again about what is important to you.
What Advisory Can Do For Customers
Chatting with customers and answering questions may sound like wasted “free time,” but it wasn’t wasted time at all. It was an essential contribution to fostering trust and understanding. At that moment, we not only needed accounting skills, but we needed them as a person.
By empathizing, listening, asking questions, and contributing to the conversation in an authentic way that allows them to empathize, they are able to uncover their client’s biggest pain points and ultimately create a better financial plan that aligns with their goals and values.
It’s Not Just About Accounting.
As consultants, they have to remember that what their clients really care about is not the spreadsheets or the numbers, or the effort put into creating them. It’s the results that really matter. The partnerships and relationships they bring to the table will go a long way toward achieving your goals. Financial reporting and data should support the customer conversation, not monopolize it.
Key Advisory Services Benefits For Clients
When clients know them as a partner or an integral part of their team, they feel less stressed about income and expense concerns and feel more secure about their financial future.
Simplify your business and gain a deeper understanding of your finances by collaborating within FreshBooks or any other platform. Assisting in designing the right workflows and tech stacks and providing training on these tools is an important part of their advisory services accounting firms.
Ultimately, advisory services are about helping clients overcome their biggest problems and achieve their biggest goals. These are specific to each company, and the interface between the company’s needs and skills is the basis for their advice. It’s important to remember that many businesses don’t understand what they need or what causes their biggest problems. They may also be drifting downstream toward the falls, unaware of the difficulties ahead. For this reason, consulting should be incorporated into the service package. Customers are often unaware that they need these services and only seek advice when it is too late.
What Advisory Can Do For You?
Advisory services offer great opportunities for growth, both in terms of income and professional development by accounting firms. Taking on a more consulting role can reduce the amount of time you spend on accounting tasks, making it less rewarding and less satisfying. This can be achieved by handing over to younger members of the team or working with clients who manage their own day-to-day books (requires the right technology and a little mentoring).
Benefits Of Value-Based Pricing
The advice can create more added value for customers and increase prices. If customers still pay by the hour it will be very affordable for them. Value-based pricing allows clients to know exactly what they will spend each month and clearly demonstrate their ROI from our services. Hourly wages, on the other hand, penalize work performance and do not reflect what clients are actually paying.
Finally, Advisory services allow us to develop a deeper relationship with clients and truly become part of their team. This often leads to more satisfying jobs and more referrals.
I Need A Competency Advisor.
Do you need a qualified consultant? They deliver you value proposition, and they need to continuously expand and develop the following skills:
- They think big to find solutions to customer problems
- Research and evaluation skills that allow one to interview current customers, assess industry and market trends, and track technological advancements
- Innovative thinking that can translate these trends and patterns into repeatable solutions
- Combine this with empathy, curiosity, good communication, and the ability to get to the root of your customer’s problems.
The key here is to realize that we customers don’t need someone who has all the answers. What we need is someone willing to ask the right questions (sometimes a lot). They understand how stressful and lonely running a business can be, and they need someone who can stand by them and help them solve their problems.