Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are increasingly looking for more from their accountant. With the explosion of cloud-based accounting solutions to manage their numbers business owners need an accountant who is more an advisor and can offer a comprehensive advisory service. Many clients are now conducting business from their mobile devices and have access to new dynamic applications to analyse business performance.

Information Technology, Advice and the Small Business Client

The challenge here is integrating with this type of client and showing them the financial impact of key business decisions before they are made. In reality this creates an opportunity for firms looking to diversify into advisory services. Business owners need access to the right numbers and reporting to aid strategic decisions They need; 

  • Direction on improving their profitability, cash flow and return.

  • Reassurance that the financial future of their enterprise is healthy and ready for future growth. 

  • A loyal trusted business partner that can help them drive their business successfully.

So, what does this mean for your firm?

The emergence of the tech-savvy SME client poses both a potential threat and opportunity for your firm. Clients may look to your competitors if you don’t evolve to meet their ongoing advisory needs. The good news is that if you rework your practice to offer business advisory services, this opens up a whole new unique client proposition (USP) – not to mention a new lucrative revenue stream.  It’s a chance to re-align your practice for a new evolving market.

By offering client focussed business advisory services you can:

  • Expand your services –a holistic approach for business advice is attractive to existing and new clients.

  • Innovate and create brand new offerings – advance your firm by offering new, beneficial and lucrative services. 

  • Educate staff and develop their business skills in particular soft skills – broadening the talents of your team is good for their and the firm’s development.

  • Build deeper, more proactive relationships with clients – as their most trusted adviser, most business owners will come to you first for guidance. 

  • Create new revenue streams – offering different packages of fixed fee advisory services can increase your potential income from each client well above the existing compliance fee.

So, where do you start the evolution process?

You need to review your practice and decide what changes are needed before offering business advisory services. Are you ready, or are you lacking in certain areas?

Be as composed as possible and frankly work through every area of the practice, its processes and its systems to see where development is needed – or even where change might be the better answer.

Here are a few questions to ask – do we have;

  • the right structure in the firm to offer business advisory services?

  • the services you can offer successfully to clients to get them engaged?

  • the right clients to start with to create success?

  • the ideal staff to recruit or develop with the appropriate skill set to offer this service?

  • the right systems, processes and procedures?

  • the investment in business advisory software and how to achieve a return on that investment?

  • a fast track system to develop your business advisory services using a structured process of accountability?

To really get things moving the best pathway is to undertake a Business Advisory Assessment Review. This process will determine your readiness to offer advisory services and challenge you and your firm to change to meet the demands of a savvier IT literate client.

Smithink would like to offer readers of this article a complimentary Business Advisory Assessment Review. This 45-minute teleconference and/or webinar will address all the above issues and provide a report of where your firm is today, and what needs to be done to move forward with this new revenue stream.

Reply today to [email protected] or call 0414 411 122 to organise a time for the review session.
 
So what do you have to lose, or should it be how much can your firm gain?

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Mark Holton Smithink