The role of accountants is changing, with new technology and new client expectations prompting more firms to shift away from compliance-only work, and towards advisory services.
And while managing your clients’ accounts and statutory obligations is still important, there are a lot of good reasons to start offering business advice.
Compared to the kind of guidance someone could get from a business mentor or consultant, a financial accounting advisory service brings your financial expertise and your existing knowledge of your clients’ accounts together.
This means you can provide real value to your clients and develop your practice’s offering.
Support your clients when they need it most
Times are tough. The current cost of living crisis and ongoing political instability makes for a very difficult environment to run a business in, and many businesses are going to face some difficult decisions in the months to come.
Under these conditions, getting advice from a financial professional is more than a nice-to-have: it could mean make or break for many business owners.
Whether you’re helping to interpret the numbers and assess your clients’ position, tackle imminent threats to their business’s financial wellbeing, or work with them on specific projects to meet their goals, your advice is hugely valuable at this point in time.
Making it available through a formalised service could provide the lifeline your current clients need, as well as draw in new clients who are looking for that extra support.
Make the most of efficiencies in compliance
Helping your clients to meet their statutory tax, accounting and reporting obligations is just as important as it always was. But the resources you have to do that are more varied and more sophisticated than they were 10 or 20 years ago.
A range of software solutions are available to manage your clients’ bookkeeping, accounts, tax returns and more, and many firms have the opportunity to save hours of time by automating the more routine aspects of those tasks.
That leads to a more efficient service, but it also means more time for you and your team to spend on other tasks.
Business advisory is one example of a task that brings a lot of value to your clients, but also requires a high level of human judgement. It needs a personal touch that can’t easily be replaced by a machine – beyond synthesising and presenting the figures, you’re able to explain what they mean in practical terms for your clients.
Build lasting relationships
As well as allowing you to use your expertise to inform your clients, advisory services also give you the opportunity to add a personal touch to your work. Unlike a piece of software, you’re able to sympathise with your clients’ worries and understand their ambitions, essentially working in partnership with them to reach their goals.
This is a great way to build lasting working relationships. We saw it during the Covid pandemic, and we’re seeing it now as accountants help businesses to cope with economic pressures – being able to work with your clients to solve a problem in tangible ways can help to build their trust.
Business advisory services give you more regular touchpoints with your clients beyond delivering their year-end accounts, and they allow you to be more actively involved in the workings of their business. This should lead to better financial outcomes for your clients, and longer-lasting client relationships for you.
Make more fulfilling work for your team
It’s a nice feeling, giving someone your advice and seeing it make a real difference to their life. Through business advisory, your team can do this for your clients.
Compared to having their heads in the data all the time, advisory work can open up more interesting and more varied tasks for your employees, as well as opportunities for their own career development.
This, in turn, should mean more of your team stay within your practice, rather than seeking that development in a larger firm. And as your staff’s skills develop, you can delegate more of the sophisticated client work, giving yourself time to focus on an overarching strategy for your firm and plan its future.
Capium’s fully integrated accounting software gives you the time and data you need to establish an effective business advisory service. Book your free trial today.