A Step-by-Step Guide to Rolling Out Advisory Services
Posted on 23rd October 2016 in Advisory
Written by Amy Harris
Josie Attard, one of our cloud advisors, is a chartered accountant and Senior Business & Cloud Consultant for the award-winning accounting firm, Morrows Group, based in Melbourne. Josie had to roll her sleeves up and design her own strategy to roll out advisory services across the practice. This blog summarises everything she wished she had known before she got started… - 5minute read
For context, Morrows is a multi-discipline firm that has 5 principals, 70 staff and nearly 1000 clients.
Step 1: Pick your team
Don’t be the only champion internally. I did and it was too difficult so please learn from my mistake here. Transforming your practice with the cloud, let alone to be advisors, is challenging enough. If you have too much reliance on one person you’re opening yourself up to failure no matter how much effort and hours you invest.
Step 2: Share your vision
If you want change, you need to make sure people are on the same journey. I wrote a vision document which can be a simple one-pager. This allowed me to communicate with the team (who ranged from 20-40-year-olds) what we were trying to achieve. The minute they see how easy it is and what our future will be for them and the client the engagement and support are so much better. Clients want this – this gets it moving!
Step 3: Get hands-on
Get your team using it immediately. It took me so much longer to realise that than I would have liked. This was ‘hands down’ the best thing we did. As soon as the partners realised that the software was easy to use, everyone got excited because the fear of change is rapidly unravelled.
I suggest an interactive session as follows…
Set up everyone’s account with the same password structure, to begin with. They can change it later.
Set them up in FUTRLI
If they play before, that’s great but if they log-in for the first time that’s fine too
On the day…
- Use Gotomeeting, Zoom, Skype or similar and run an interactive webinar. Just like FUTRLI would with you when they are training you etc
- If you can facilitate two monitors, this is the number one way you can get them trained. If you can’t, perhaps look at setting up a ‘training’ area in the business where you can set up two screens and get them to log in from here. You might, therefore, need to split this session into multiple groups
- On one screen I was broadcasting my screen, which they also had on one monitor
- On the other, they logged into FUTRLI
- Take advantage of the Live Boards so you can also see the updates they are making
- They skipped several steps ahead of me and started playing. The ‘a-ha!’ moment was there
This was the single most brilliant thing we did to get mass adoption across the firm. Rest assured you and your team are not going to break it, so get stuck in and enjoy!
Top tip: Since rolling out FUTRLI we’ve seen value in setting up client Dashboards for our team. This could be a good time to introduce this concept too. Rather than them logging into multiple client files, a Board can show a summarised profit and loss for each client for each Manager. This allows them to quickly check in on clients at a glance and save time.
Step 4: Don’t get trapped at your desk
The headline could have also been ‘have an open door policy’. The entire point of this is that your team need to see and feel this and they need to know that they can come to your cloud advisory team for answers to any questions they have.
I made a point of working 1:1 with our staff and talking to them about their clients, getting Boards set up for them and then working with them on it. What does the board tell us? How can we help the client? Keep sharing what is working internally in your firm and for other FUTRLI partners and make it personal to them.
Step 5: Templates ease you in
FUTRLI’s pre-built templates have to be your starting point as all the hard work has been done for you. So, get stuck in with these or build your own. Copy and bulk edit are your best friends! This allows you to build a Board and duplicate it across all your clients in minutes.
There is a mental mind-shift the firm and your clients need to go through. If you’re always used to discussing the past, moving onto the future is a big deal. But you can see how easy this is by bridging the gap between what they know and understand.
Present your annual year compliance review on a Board. But don’t stop there, include a Card which shows how they are performing against budgets. It doesn’t matter that you don’t have this enabled, that’s fine too.
This is the conversation starter that will help you plant the seed with your client and get them thinking about their business and asking them questions. Of course, by moving your client to the cloud the data will just get richer as the years go on.
Step 6: Pricing packages
All clients get an engagement scope at Morrows – no matter what the project is. We are looking to address their need with a proposal.
Looking back now we have a long term and short term strategy for advisory pricing.
Example: Client needs a cash flow for the bank and wants our help
Package: We built a bespoke pricing package for this need and tailored it around a pain
- 2-year cash flow
- 5-year cash flow
- 5-year cash flow plus what-if scenarios and Dashboards
Example: Client was working in 6-month periods and had no handle on cash flow but they wanted to do everything in-house
Package: We embraced their need and tailored the proposal to focus on training and initial set-up
This client hasn’t embraced the firm yet and is still trying to do the basics but we want to nurture the relationship and be flexible, not say, well thanks but no thanks. We changed the scope from working together to us training them – 3×2 hour sessions. They were so excited that they could see where and how they could grow and invest.
What’s important here is that we watch them in the background. The alerts are so nifty! We can monitor them and give them the odd call about what’s happening. It doesn’t take any time and the alerts go straight to our inbox. We build goodwill with the client and the relationship, just like the other Cloud Advisor James Solomons and Rebecca Mihalic shared in their webinar with FUTRLI. You can watch that here.
Top tip: Think of your clients as if you are part of their team
Step 7: Remember that you’re selling your service not software
Please don’t talk about advisory with clients just show them. You are not selling a software subscription. FUTRLI is just our tool and we are selling our services. The license paid for itself with just two client cash flow projects, yes, just two! So absorb it and get started. It will pay you back multiple times over.
FUTRLI is similar to a marketing tool, which advertises exactly what you can do. For that reason, every client gets FUTRLI, if we don’t take that step we are not changing our firm or opening up the opportunity to increase client fees.
Step 8: Sharing it with clients
We have tried so many different ways to do this and I’m sure it will depend on what is right for you. At the start, we showed clients FUTRLI online in a face to face meeting but we were going into too much detail. It wasn’t right. For us, we stuck with the live option but we minimised what we discussed and instead just talked about their business.
A top tip is to think of a Board as a story, so walk them through what it is showing them and don’t clutter what you show. Your partners might want to do this 1:1, or with your support, or you could bringing marketing in and use FUTRLI’s email campaign. Ultimately, you want to start a conversation. The more you know about their business, the quicker you can find the pain points that you can help them overcome.