The best way to overcome internal obstacles when rolling out advisory services in your firm is to arm yourself with information. Leading your team through advisory training is going to see your firm work as one unit, with everyone selling more value-added services. Blu Sky Chartered Accountants have run with this idea, as Lead Account Manager Sam Wood explains:
The whole team are now so eager to sell forecasting to clients because they understand the value of it for businesses across the board, not just larger companies.
“Our clients don’t want it”
Many firms we’ve spoken to tell us their clients aren’t interested in forecasting and strategising. But almost every business owner is obsessed with the future, always worrying what will come next. Advisory services have rarely been offered or explained in the right way to them. This is a common complaint from accountants, so if anyone on your team starts up with this kind of thing, you can shoot it down immediately.
Dashboards are the best way of presenting and predicting data. If your client needs to measure KPIs, create targets, are thinking of selling, or need to raise finance, dashboards will help you to implement clear actionable targets, and track your client’s progress. Your clients are smart enough to have kept their business going for this long, so why wouldn’t they want to take it to the next level?
“Our clients don’t want to pay more”
They will if you’re tailoring packages unique to them. When you talk to a client about their business and confidently show them the savings/gains you can help them make in their business, they will pay. When you, hypothetically, turn the lights on with the insights you are sharing, you remove cost from the equation – it is offset.
Ask your team how they’re positioning advisory services to clients. If your staff are sending out mass emails outlining the services, clients will probably ignore it. It’s like a cold call from a call centre – people assume the seller is only after their money so aren’t open to suggestions. You must show clients exactly what advisory means for them.
These services are a broad mix of strategy: setting targets, preparing data to take into the boardroom and helping them to understand the financial side of their business. You’re also going to be adding value to your time, meaning you can adjust your pricing accordingly too.
“It’s too complicated for clients”
Once you know your way around Futrli, which can be achieved pretty fast, you’ll be fluent in setting up dashboards and can share your knowledge with your clients. If they’re number averse, that’s not a problem – there are plenty of visual representations you can choose from to display their figures.
You’re there to show them the most important parts of their business and discuss the insights that matter to them, whether they want that via email, dashboard or printed monthly report. It doesn’t have to be complicated as you can tailor the services you offer to meet their needs (and pain points). By finding and introducing a new process that works for their business, you’ve made their lives easier.
Starting with their core revenue streams, select some KPIs for them to get started with. Measuring these key performance indicators will allow your client to see their business’ progress per department, and as a whole, all at a glance – once they can see and feel the value, they’ll be hooked. Think SMART when selecting KPIs, and your client will get excited about their metrics too. Consider these five questions when working out what to measure:
- Are they Specific to your objective?
- Can you Measure your progress towards your goals?
- Is your goal Attainable?
- Are they Relevant to your business goals?
- What’s the Timeframe for achieving your goal?
It’s all common sense at this stage – work out what will have an impact on your clients’ revenue and go from there. If you need a little more guidance, swing by our KPI Library.
“My clients are happy with what they’re using”
We doubt it. It’s just that they don’t know what else they could be using. We all thought video tapes and floppy disks were outstanding when they were first invented… Now there might be juniors in your firm that only know floppy disks because they represent the ‘save’ button on Microsoft Word.
Thinking how much has changed in the decade since they were taken off the market, nobody would be happy that exciting new tech is being hidden from them. It’s the old ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’ adage – if clients aren’t aware of such technology and services, why would they be keen to adopt them?
Failing to embrace advisory and cloud accounting means another firm could so easily swoop in and steal your clients. You need to make a song and dance about what you’re doing so clients see you as industry leaders. Education is key, especially when there’s a new way of working which will affect the bottom line of so many companies. And when they experience an increase in revenue, you will too.