The industry, over the last few years, has got a little too loud shouting about our favorite #buzzword: advisory. And that’s us included. We’ve all been so excited about the value these services could provide that we’ve been going a little too fast. There’s no doubt that advisory has done a lot of good. Countless firms have made a huge difference to businesses all over the world. We cherish those success stories.
But, we can’t ignore situations where things haven’t quite worked out. We’ve been trying to encourage you to pick up advisory services with all of your clients, but we’ve come to the conclusion that advisory’s not always the right answer, for you or them.
A lot has changed.
If you know us, you may have noticed that the product you know and love, Futrli, is now named Futrli Advisor. And, that along with an overhaul for our brand, we’re releasing a new complementary platform. Why? What does it do? What’s going on? Let’s catch up.
Research with our Futrli partners across the globe indicates that ‘advisory’ is an essential service for, typically, around 10% of your portfolio. Why? Because these are your bigger clients. They need management accounts, board reports, scenario planning. They’re also able to dedicate the time and money needed for such a service. It’s essential for their operations and they know the value of data-driven decision-making. Tools like our Advisor product have made this easy for over 1,500 firms globally for many years now.
But, 50% of businesses are still failing by their fifth year of business. It’s astonishing, despite all of the technology and services we have today that the success rate of these businesses hasn’t improved over the last 20 years. As much as you want to help - you can't. Advisory isn’t a service you can provide to everyone. It’s too demanding on both yours and your clients’ time and resources.
They require an entirely new approach, and so do you.
This 90% majority of your portfolio is what we’d call your ‘core’. They’re the largest chunk of your portfolio, so it’s concerning to know they’re the ones most at risk. They’re currently just compliance clients, but they need protecting and strengthening, just like your advisory clients. These businesses are the ones taking the biggest risks, facing big decisions with limited resources - a dangerous combination.
If they’re at risk, then so are you. Acquiring clients is an expensive exercise. You’d do much better to retain them, protect them and then increase the opportunity within your core to offer relevant and timely help, which is of course what advisory actually is. It’s help.
To change the 50% failure statistic we first need to understand why these businesses are failing. Yes, ultimately, we all know it’s cash flow, but how do they get to that point? To understand that we have to look at the behaviors of small business owners.
Most business owners firefight their way through every day, reactively tackling the issues that scream the loudest, not necessarily the issues that actually need their attention. They often start the day in their inbox, reactively dealing with supplier and customer needs, and then the team member that knocks on the door and so on. It’s exhausting, but it also means they’re existing deep in their business, and not on it.
And it goes further than that. Working reactively as they are and making fast decisions, they have no way to see the future impact of the decisions they’re making every day.
The result? There could be a fire burning in their business or one about to set alight, and they wouldn’t know. And you have no way of helping them. You can’t be expected to find time and resources to spend on every one of your clients. You’d need to duplicate your firm five times over.
It’s a little long-winded, but those struggles are where Futrli Platform comes from. A struggle for businesses to survive and a struggle for firms to really help. Could we develop a product that would serve businesses quality advice, insights and give them quick and easy access to their advisors?
So, that’s what we’ve done. Futrli Platform puts support and real-world insight into the hands of your clients. No implementation, no pressure, just support. Futrli Platform’s built for businesses to use for themselves - so it’s hands-off for you. Their actionfeed (it’s like a newsfeed, except with actions… and news) gives digestible portions of information that they can jump into further, quickly send to you or action themselves straight away.
It’s a round-up, with the most important information in pole position. By dedicating a few minutes to scroll through their feed, your clients will know where their business is, the problems they need to face, and the things they have to celebrate. It’s a security blanket and a security guard in one.
There are different products within the platform, each one is designed to enable your clients to take control of a different part of their business until they’re fully in control. But the one that’s most relevant to your entire portfolio is Flow. Why? Because problems with cash flow are some of the most damaging issues facing all businesses.
Because of that, Flow’s the first to leave the blocks. Its aim? To put your clients’ daily cash flow in their hands. With easily accessible, AI-driven updates on their customer and supplier behavior; getting paid and feeling secure is now possible. Your effort? Connecting QBO or Xero, inviting them and that’s it. We onboard them into the platform too.
And if you think the list will end there, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. We’ve got to keep some things as a surprise...
So, how does Flow work for your firm? The benefit comes in three parts:
- Short-term - it will elevate your firm and protect your entire client base. At the end of the day, that’s why we’re all here.
- Medium-term - it will educate your portfolio about their businesses. And in their learning, they’ll have questions. Questions they’ll ask you.
- Long-term - it will increase your advisory fees as they see the value in the advisory services you offer. A win-win.
Flow is a gateway. Irrespective of where your core is in their journey with you, one thing will fundamentally change. Your clients are being educated about their business. When they have questions or need help who are they going to ask? You.
That provides the basis for your relationship going forward. One day they’ll become part of your ten percent. And you haven’t had to sell, you’ve grown a relationship organically. We’ve built Futrli Platform to promote collaboration, with our Slack and Gmail integrations you’ll be two clicks from your client. Simple. This is how you get your clients to recognize the value of your services.
Suddenly your opportunity to engage with clients who were distant and at risk has transformed into a trusted relationship. That’s when you move them onto Futrli Advisor. As they grow, and as their knowledge of their business grows, so will their hunger for more insight.
Those clients who were unengaged will be asking for help. That may be simple, like a credit control strategy, or it may be more complex reporting or scenario planning when you start to question them - you name it, they’ll want it. And again, breathe a sigh of relief, you’re working with a relationship. No selling involved.
Our takeaway: you don’t need to provide advisory to the 90% - it doesn’t fit them. But you do need to provide something. And we’ve developed the ideal tool to deliver that. We’ll change the tide on business success, and on your success too. This is the next step. Let’s make business success simple.
To celebrate the launch of our first Futrli Platform product, Flow, we're giving accounting firms a free forever Flow Pro account.