It’s 3 p.m. on a Tuesday, and a staff member from my company, MOD Ventures, walks up to me. According to her, a client mentioned that he was too busy to take on the multiple responsibilities of his small business. As an office manager, he takes care of everything from HR and business development to accounting and bookkeeping. Time is counted ; it’s something he doesn’t have enough of. The idea the staff member brought me was simple: let’s help him.
As a firm offering Accounts Receivable Services (CAS), it turns out we have many ways to make their life easier.
Many accounting firms today are looking to expand their roles and offer services beyond traditional compliance tasks. For many, the goal is to become trusted advisors to their clients in all financial matters and to develop a sustainable source of income. The fastest way to get your firm’s CAS practice off the ground is to onboard your clients. What are the ways to quickly get them interested in CAS? Here are some ideas that I have found useful for my business.
Identify the right customers and approach them
While you would ideally want to offer accounts receivable services to everyone you work with, some candidates are likely to be more open initially than others. In my practice, I focus less on the type of business it is (for example, tech companies or restaurants). Instead, I find the top CAS candidates are clients who are already interested in streamlining processes. If a client is willing to make the job easier with technology, CAS is already hugely interesting.
When it comes to bringing up the subject of CAS with a client, MOD Ventures is most successful with an individual approach. Firm staff spend the most time with clients. As a result, they can identify great opportunities as they arise. Take the example above concerning the office manager. It was the perfect opportunity to approach him and discuss the benefits of accounting outsourcing.
Involving your customers in CAS is more than delivering a sales pitch. It is about educating them and empowering staff members. Your role is to provide your customers with knowledge and opportunities: what are the latest advancements, what can they do better and how can they better control and grow their businesses? MOD Ventures staff members are encouraged to take time each week to research new technology. We have internal meetings and are always discussing how we can help clients more. We also attend important conferences like QuickBooks Connect to stay on top of the latest innovations. All of this happens so that when we find that opportunity, every member of the business is equipped to engage in the conversation.
Present the vision of the CAS
Clients don’t always have a vision of what their accounting department should look like. They may have an overworked person who takes care of all the operations of the business, including the accounting. Or maybe they are overstaffed due to manual processes like entering data and sending out checks and invoices. It’s our job to give them a vision and explain what their options are.
I always plant the seed of accounts receivable services. For example, each proposal covers what the client requests as well as everything the firm can do for them. This option reminds the client that while they may not be CAS ready at the moment, they likely will be soon. Sometimes it intimidates people; sometimes that turns them on, especially if they fit the profile of an ideal CAS client. It opens doors for conversations. With that mention, their team can start thinking about it, investigating and eventually joining CAS.
We also share technology ideas, solutions and videos to help customers understand how services like AP and AR can benefit from cloud, mobility, and online payments. We had a client who wanted to do without paper. They had bought an expensive scanner and printer to scan invoices in a module, but this method did not work. I suggested Bill.com and explained how it worked. My client picked it up right away during our conversation and said, “What do I need to do to make it happen? ”
Start small and grow
As nice as it is to jump into accountancy every time, it often starts with offering a single service to a client and building from there. For many companies, AP is the entry point to the CAS. Customers quickly see the value of PA outsourcing. When you successfully manage their access point for them, they will feel comfortable working remotely with this type of service. Once they see how much work outsourcing takes away from them, without compromising control and integrity, they’ll want to know what can be streamlined and outsourced to free up even more time.
Outsourcing one service almost always leads to others. The outsourcing of several services leads to a full-fledged CAS. When you seamlessly manage AP, AR, and collections, you’ll be in a prime position when your customers need help managing their construction operations and budgets. While your clients may not have thought of you as capable of providing these superior analytical services early in your relationship, over time they will understand how much more difficult it would be to function without your knowledge and expertise. of confidence.
The bottom line
Developing successful accounts receivable services is all about helping your customers, not selling them. You want to be intentional and thoughtful in the way you offer to help your customers. By educating them about their options and technology, you will increase their interest in finding new ways to get your help.
Relationship building is the key to creating the kind of advisory business model that supports CAS. Being an advisor involves answering questions and offering better ways of doing things, not just taking orders.
Your contribution is valuable and your customers should see it. When they’re buried in work and don’t have time to do it all, you want to be the first person they turn to. By starting slowly and building your services, you will be in the best position to rally clients with a fully-fledged CAS.