The accounting world is shifting. More accountants are moving away from traditional compliance and tax to a more advisory role.
What’s causing this shift?
- Technological advancements: Automation helps accountants get more done, faster and with greater precision.
- Changes in client demands: More clients expect their accountants to offer advisory services. They want to work with firms that can serve as a one-stop shop for their financial needs.
- Changes in accountant desires: Accountants want fulfillment in their careers, and advisory roles help them achieve that. Research from FloQast found that 83% of surveyed accountants want to set the strategic direction for projects.
No wonder so many people are recommending that firms offer advisory services. But where do you start? How do you integrate these services into your firm?
How to start offering advisory services
If you want to start offering advisory services, you have to take a strategic approach. There are so many types of services that you can offer: financial planning, tax planning, exit planning, financial strategy, financial modeling and more.
But not all of these services will be relevant to your clients. So, before you start creating a plan to implement these new services, sit down and consider:
- What your clients want and what you want. For example, let’s say your clients want help reaching their personal financial goals. Helping them achieve those goals would be rewarding for you as an accounting professional. Providing financial planning services would be a win-win for your clients and your firm.
- Your team. Assess your internal competencies. Which services can your team handle? Can you upskill your team to expand your options for offering advisory services? Another option to consider is partnering with a firm to provide services you want to offer but don’t have the in-house resources to provide.
- Your technology. What tools does your firm currently use? Which tech or tools will you need to implement to start offering the services you want to provide?
- Your goals. What do you want to achieve with your advisory services? Do you want to increase revenue, fulfill client needs, find fulfillment or a combination of these things? Defining your goals and purpose will help you determine which services you should offer.
Once you have a clear idea of what everyone wants (your clients and your firm), your capabilities and your goals, you can start implementing these services into your offerings — slowly.
It’s tempting to just start offering all of these new services to potential and existing clients. But if you want the advisory services to be a sustainable arm of your firm, then you need to start slow. How?
Start by offering these services exclusively to existing clients that can benefit from them. Then, you can flesh out these offerings from here, see what’s working, and make improvements.
Once you’ve ironed out the kinks, you can start marketing these services and cast a wider net. Taking this approach will allow you to offer advisory services with greater confidence because you already have some experience under your belt.
Review and improve
As with any other service you offer, it’s important to take time to review and improve your offerings regularly.
Implement a feedback loop, so clients and your team can work together to ensure your advisory services are reaching everyone’s goals.
Ensure your team understands the importance of obtaining client feedback to maintain a culture of excellence and adaptability at your firm.
Advisory services are quickly becoming a standard offering at accounting firms, thanks to advances in technology and shifting desires from clients and accountants. But if you want to start offering advisory services, you must first understand what your clients need, what you want to offer, your team’s capabilities and your goals.
Then start slowly by offering these new services only to your existing clients before marketing to a larger audience. Finally, make sure you implement a feedback loop to continually review and improve your services.
With the right strategy, your advisory services can increase revenue while improving fulfillment at your firm. And if you find there are some services you want to offer but don’t have the in-house skills to provide, you can partner with a third-party firm that can provide these services on your behalf.
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