Is it time to evolve your firm into advisory?

Man leans across table in yellow shirt and points on laptop screen to woman colleague client in grey over books and files to discuss if it's time to move accounting firm into advisory to be advisors #advisory

Business advisory services will differentiate your practice, making you stand out from the rest. From increased revenue to harder working staff, advisory services are focused upon strategising for the success and growth of a business.

Develop your client relationships

Accountants giving service with a personal touch are the most successful. Take the time to get to know the clients. You’ll know what they’d like to achieve and why so you can build a bespoke strategy. Their business will become healthier, and your client will thank you. The more cash the client makes, the more you’ll make too.

Embrace the change to advisory

Training while you work will show you how to apply your learning in practice, and highlights any gaps in your knowledge. Many firms have started the transition to advisory, so we pooled all of our knowledge and that of our community to create an in-depth, strategic course: Futrli Advisory Certification. From altering your pricing to putting your new services out to market, we cover everything you need to know about making the change.

Four key benefits of providing advisory services

1. Reduce churn. When you’re providing advisory services, your clients will start to trust you more than ever. Their trust becomes loyalty as you’re helping them on their path to success.
2. Add value to services. Because advisory services aren’t a physical entity, they can be difficult to price out. You’re billing for your time so making a schedule will benefit your firm.
3. Increase fees. You’re providing more information than ever before, and you need to be charging for it. Your knowledge is invaluable to clients, therefore, you need to make that clear by charging correctly.
4. Decrease fees. You might well find that rather than increasing your fees, the sheer volume of additional clients that need your advisory services means you can lower them. This would attract more business, as long as your services are reliable.

To achieve all of these factors, you need to focus on the business owner themselves. Get to know who you’re working to increase your knowledge of their business. It’ll help you understand where they want their business to be in the future, then you’ll be able to offer a tailored service.

Getting started with advisory services

In his 2013 book, The Dark Side of Innovation, Dr. Ankush Chopra (a leading strategy and disruption expert) summed up four ways to ensure innovation in the field won’t destroy your business:

1. Don’t be a deer in the headlights. By this, he means don’t freeze in panic when presented with a new way of working. Get to know it and understand it and you’ll find it easier to implement it and stay current in your industry.
2. Make sure your whole team is onboard with the developments. For efficiency, you need everyone working towards the same goal so you can achieve what you’ve set out to as quickly as possible.
3. Recognise and appreciate new threats. Get to know what others are offering so you’re not pricing yourself out of the competition.
4. Create a ‘Plan C’. If your plans aren’t helping you lead in the industry, you’re going to need to think of another way of standing out. Possibly the hardest option, it’s smart to have a backup plan.

Start by thinking of how you’ll combat the above four points, and create the rest of your development plan off the back of that. Look at the way you and your team conduct client meetings. Changing the format of these will give you a great idea of what and how you can get through to your clients, and will show them you’re looking to develop as the rest of the business world is.

The exciting part of advisory is the fact your knowledge sets you apart from your competitors. Knowledge really is power.

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