It’s time to find out what your clients really want from your advisory services, and what you need to offer in order to create more growth opportunities from your business.
While it’s true that sometimes clients are the ones who need to drag their accountants or partners in the direction they want their business to go, this shouldn’t be the case! Accountants and CPAs need to become better at identifying opportunities to better serve their clients through advisory services, because in the end, that’s what your clients want.
But don’t worry. We’ve done it all before and were here to help you along the way.
Small accounting firms or lone-wolf CPAs tend to know their customer base extremely well and what the customer wants. But incase you work for a medium-to-large sized firm, knowing what your customers want so that you can offer them what they want is the one of the most important keys to success.
Is this philosophy useful to accountants?Let’s find out.
We bet that if you ask your clients directly, you might be surprised by some of the answers they provide. It's one thing to believe you know what services they need. Is your business regular in seeking feedback from clients?
In general, small and medium-sized businesses expect the following from their accountant:
1. Discover who your clients are
While this may not be the norm at your firm, it’s not uncommon for clients to turn up with a shoebox full of receipts, invoices, and statements once a year. Despite all our advancements in technology (especially accounting software) some clients are stuck in the past.
Wouldn’t it be great to change this habit? The easiest way you can help your clients to break their old patterns like this is to show them how technology can help advance their business and even earn them more money.
By getting to know your clients better, you can offer them more frequent insight into their business with regular meetings, movement to a cloud-based solution to facilitate these insights, and even real-time collaboration through Dryrun.
Of course, be understanding when you propose these options. Their business is probably their whole life and extremely time consuming. If you see a lot of value in their business, you can even take the time to visit them at their location to help you understand their business operations while providing stellar customer service.
2. Responding as soon as possible
Accountants/advisors could really take some lessons from their small business clients in this arena.
It is quite common for small businesses to respond to inquiries quite quickly and efficiently. Several business owners often complain about their accountant's slow response time and refusal to return calls and emails when needed.
Regardless of how small your clients are, they want to feel valued and like they are being communicated with in a timely manner. Especially if you are trying to offer them a new service.
3. Take initiative
You don't need to wait until someone asks for your advice; give it to them anyway! You won't offend your client. The vast majority of business owners will appreciate your involvement.
Look for ways to help your customers develop their business or to make savings in areas such as tax and overheads by.regularly reviewing their financial position and running reports/analysis like Dryrun’s “what if” analysis whenever they need help making a big decision.
4. Become more proficient with technology
Businesses expect their accountants to keep up with technological advancements. By improving your digital skills, you can create a collaborative atmosphere with clients that improves your business efficiency.
Keeping your skill set current is a duty you owe to your clients since they see you as an expert. The best way to learn is to attend local or online short courses and webinars, or by experimenting with the software yourself.
Luckily, if you’re looking to add Dryrun to your services, we provide training for all our Partners that you can pass along to your clients.
5. Provide more value-added services
Nowadays, an accountant should be able to offer more than just accounting services. Rather than just taking care of clients' payroll and taxes, you also serve as advisors, mentors, and tutors.
Because you’re a trusted member of their business, business owners often turn to their accountants for advice in areas such as employment law and marketing, as they lack the time or resources to look for different types of advice.
The best thing you can do for your clients is to refer them to recognized sources and organizations when you receive inquiries that are beyond the scope of your services. By referring them to someone you trust, they will in-turn refer their contacts to you for your accounting (and/or advisory) services.
Overall, your clients aren’t really asking fora lot of extra service from you. By finessing your customer service and digital skills and adding some extra-value services to your current array, you can turn the value of one customer into much more.
It requires you to take initiative on your side, while understanding what your clients truly want from their accountant/advisor. But when your clients trust you, they will view your advisor services as crucial for their success in business.
Not to mention, these services will make their lives much easier! You just need to show them how.
Your clients will only expect what you teach them to expect, so by providing the best service and reliable business advice throughAdvisory services, you will quickly become their trusted go-to in business… not just another accountant.