4 tips to go beyond accounting services and become a value-added trusted advisor

Accounting professionals are now in a position they have long wanted. With the disappearance of a lot of manual processes that were previously performed using desktop software, being online is creating a lot of efficiencies where accounting professionals can start moving away. daily figures for the consultancy services that they and their clients have been. while searching.

When I practiced, I was part of an alliance group for large CPA firms where they brought in consultants who would work with managing partners on developing strategies to prepare those firms for the future. . This included implementing marketing programs and systems and developing value-added services within the company.

At an alliance group presentation, a marketing consultant was educating managing partners on potential marketing programs they could relate to their companies. Many partners present resisted the advice. An IT consultant present raised his hand and told the group, “I just don’t understand this industry. I have the same problem with my accountant; I want to give him money, but he won’t return my calls.

This frustration, while understandable, can be a thing of the past. Automated processes within the cloud accounting software gave us time to return those calls.

We now have the time to really analyze the work and help clients maintain a cash flow positive business by being a more proactive presence in their business. We can give customers the help they need to make real-time trading decisions.

As an adopter of cloud accounting software and processes, you are already wondering how you can go beyond accounting services. Here are some key steps to becoming a trusted value-added advisor for your clients.

1. Take advantage of automation. Having extra time in your day means having time to spend elsewhere. Consider how you will use this time to better serve your customers. By preparing answers to your customers’ most frequently asked questions, whether in the form of a video or a pre-written answer, you will be able to respond to their emails faster.

If you only have some of your clients on your cloud accounting software, use the extra time to determine which of your existing clients would be best suited for the automation offered by this technology; or spend that extra time finding new prospects that would suit you. Maybe you will decide to use your extra time to improve your quality of life – the choice is yours! The possibilities are limitless.

2. Move all your software to the cloud. Most of you probably use the cloud in one way or another in your business; whether it’s email, document sharing, or even your accounting software, which likely lets you collaborate with your clients.

Consider moving all the tools you use in your practice to its virtual counterpart. Ditch the sticky notes and use Trello to create a virtual to-do list. Use Google Hangouts or Skype to eliminate the need for unnecessary customer visits, while showing your customers that you value your one-on-one time with them. Now you can meet clients virtually, anywhere, anytime.

3. Reassess the billing structure. At this point, cloud accounting software tools have automation built into the ecosystem. These tools can validate data entry, automate client requests, and let you know when it’s time to review work, which can ultimately speed up engagements.

As the time required to complete these tasks is reduced, it may no longer be cost-effective to bill based on billed hours. The value you bring to your customer is not based on the time you spend, especially on non-value added tasks.

Your value is based on the information you provide to them – the sooner the better. Becoming more efficient does not reduce the expertise you bring to your customer. By switching to value-based pricing, you give the customer a more preferential billing method because they have an amount they can budget for each month. It’s a win-win. By revamping the efficiency of your business, you will not only benefit the customer with this new billing model, but also yourself.

4. Remove “I don’t know” from your vernacular. Clients don’t think of accountants as computers and don’t expect you to have all the answers when they need them. However, they want you to be able to find the answer they need quickly so they can make critical business decisions.

Don’t be afraid to tell a customer that you need time to find the answer to their question. Don’t be afraid to accept a new client for fear of not knowing the answer to the questions they might ask you. Instead, be the strategic partner they need in their business.

Let them know that whatever their question, you’ll either find the answer or the resource they’re looking for so they can get to where they need to go. Becoming a trusted advisor won’t happen overnight, but by preparing now, you can put yourself in the best possible position when the transition happens.

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