How many clients will pay you for business advice?

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We hear time and time again that accountants struggle selling advisory services. But it’s not true that your clients don’t want them. Many firms struggling to get advisory services out to clients simply aren’t positioning them correctly.

In his new book, The Business Growth Accountant, Paul Shrimpling tackles many of the most frequently asked questions by accountants looking to make the change in their offerings. He quotes government research from 2015 in which 15,502 business owners were interviewed. These included businesses employing less than 9 people to businesses employing up to 249 people.

Vital insights

From the research here are a few strategically important statistics for accountants:

  • 69% of SME employers aimed to grow the sales of their business over the next three years – and business growth is the most popular subject for advice sought (twice as popular than any other subject)
  • The research suggests that 33% of business owners sought external advice in the last 12 months – 65% of these paid for advice
  • Accountants were the source of the advice only half the time


What conclusions can we reach from these numbers?

The majority of business owners are looking to grow. If an entrepreneur or CEO was to be offered sound advice they could follow, they’d value the advice and value the firm providing the advice. Many of them would pay for the advice too.

Every single business out there needs to operate with a plan and with set targets to work towards. Otherwise, there’s no structure to the day to day. As an advisor, it’s your job to help your clients set these targets. Then work with your clients to help them achieve their goals.

That makes you and your firm sought after and relevant. Becoming advisors and moving your firm’s focus to help businesses grow and succeed is how you gain an advantage over other accountants.

The next steps

Meeting regularly helps you keep track of client progress towards targets and goals. It’s crucial to get them checking their dashboards and data often as things can change so quickly in businesses. As Paul powerfully points out:

The best advisory firms are meeting some clients monthly (or at least quarterly) and charging healthy fees that reflect the value of the advice and guidance and support being given.

If you price out your services correctly, you’ll be adding a lot of value to clients and revenue to your firm’s bottom line. Be done with the billable hours model, as advisory can be priced per add-on service.

For example, you could do a business health check as a freebie, then add in the services the client needs (eg forecasting, reporting, scenario planning) for a fee.

For more information on this, we cover pricing in more depth in our Futrli Advisory Certification course.

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