From Bookkeeping to Strategic Advisory: A Growth Switch for Accounting Professionals
Bookkeeping is mostly about data entry, and digitization of processes in every field is replacing the manual work. Now, client requirements have changed to financial advice rather than just compliance reporting. Thus it becomes imperative for accounting professionals to change their approach and increase their value in the upcoming business market. Advanced software integrated with technology provides an easy-to-use platform like QuickBooks cloud hosting that has already altered accounting processes.
The rapidly changing accounting industry will bring about many challenges and opportunities for accountants and their clients as well. Seizing the chance one should prepare themselves to confidently offer their advisory services as per requirements. But the trouble arises when you are not sure of the best way to do it.
The key here is to implement an effective business process that will guide your day-to-day activities to build up profitable advisory services.
1. Do not limit your services and expertise.
Create a standard business process that can be applied to all types of clients, no matter of which industry. Going niche may be the current hype, but that means your specialization should be a narrow category. Going forward with only a niche accounting process can be a success, but its scope has to be managed well. The ideal way is to be flexible with the clientele and not industry specific for standardized services, but gain specialization in your niche.
2. Keep your work scalable and fruitful.
Design your process with the understanding that all cannot be done in a month. Also, the work you do must be scalable and profitable. For that, you must deliver a decent amount of business guidance to your client every month. Not all, but enough. It is wise to create a list or a menu of extra services that can be provided at an extra rate.
3. Selling your services.
Everything boils down to this – sales and client satisfaction. Build a process that includes built-in steps for selling and customer engagement as a task. This involves everyone in your firm to successfully engage with and make sales to clients.
Establishing your financial advisory business model needs a manageable scope for focus. Outline on what you can deliver to your clients each month. Create a clear pricing model corresponding to each task. Lastly, build an infrastructure with the help of tools and software to support your business model.
The Current Scenario
A survey was conducted to quantify their firm’s share of revenue that comes from advisory or consultancy work. The results were surprising.
Almost half of the accountants said that advisory tasks amount to just 10 percent of the total revenue. But the desired rate is to be at least 40 percent. There is a huge gap in the numbers, but to be successful in the future, that gap has to be filled.
Our education system prepares and trains accounting professionals with the sole focus on technical skills. Proficiency in these skills makes you an expert, but not a strategic advisor. When dealing with clients, one can easily start to explain accounting steps and process rather than strategies that the client needs to implement for growth and profit.
Advisory may seem simple, but it is a whole different ballpark of which we do not have a lot of insight. Strategic advising means connecting with clients and gaining enough leverage to influence them to take actions that improve results.
For a successful shift into advisory and building a firm that is ready for future challenges, you need to acquire the set of tools, talented people, and a mindset that is largely dependent on soft skills. Your job will be to advise and not do the work.
As an expert advisor, your role is to ask questions and identify challenges in the business that are causing stress financially, or strategically. Once you know the point of stress, an action plan can be created that will eliminate the problem and prevent it from occurring in the future.