Is it time accountants put accountancy second?
Our partner, and founder of Remarkable Practice, Paul Shrimpling has launched his new book – The Business Growth Accountant. We’re looking at some of the key takeaways from this great resource to see how accountants and their business owner clients can benefit.
To stand out, firms need to place their focus on solving client pain. Accountancy is obviously at the heart of what you do, but without identifying and fixing problems you’re not really adding value to client businesses.
Speaking to Steve Major, a chartered accountant and founder of Decisionhq Australia, Paul learnt what Steve thinks it takes to be successful when it comes to selling advisory services.
Put business advisory first in your offerings
Value-added services is the wrong focus. This is because the best firms are not adding business advisory to accountancy. Instead, they’re starting with advisory services and adding accountancy services after.
Business growth is at the core of these successful firms. Their clients benefit from advice and direction more than being made compliant.
This is because compliance has been automated by so many software solutions it’s actually getting to the point where it’s wasting your working time. It’s still really important, of course, but your time should be spent on providing what the ‘robots’ can’t – sound advice and strategies for success.
“The best firms position, market and promote their firm as advisory 1st, accountancy 2nd.”
More regularity in meetings
Changing the way you position your firm and services means you need to be in more regular contact with your clients.
You can’t expect to really help clients grow and progress without checking in with them when things change in their business. Advisory means you’re helping business owners make better decisions and get past obstacles. If you only meet with them once a year, you’re only going to be able to analyse past data which won’t help them move forward.
Paul suggests a quarterly conversation with each client, but if you can do more frequent catch ups, then definitely do. He finds, as referenced in his book, that government research says 69% of business owners plan to grow in the next three years. That means there’s a wealth of companies crying out for more guidance from their accountants.
The best way to get started with this is to start conversations about where the business owner would like to be in a given timeframe, ask how they think they can achieve that, and then putting your heads together to come up with a strategy to include KPI measurement, growing cash reserves and personal wealth. Don’t ignore last year’s data, but don’t spend too much time analysing it either. Paul says,
“So why not advise clients more. Guide them better. Help them achieve what they want for their business. Help them grow. Become a Business Growth Accountant.”
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