Why the first steps to cash flow advisory should have started 5 years ago…
Given the current economic situation due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, many businesses and partner services are scrambling to catch up on cash flow advisory.
No one knows when the world will truly recover and the economy will start looking up, which is scaring many business owners and entrepreneurs, rightfully.
But is it too late to catch up with the firms offering cash flow advisory services? A service that is desperately needed and sought after when the economy is doing poorly. This question dates back to those firms that had enough foresight to set their sights on helping others.
It’s often difficult for business owners and entrepreneurs to admit when they need help with their businesses, so when they are seeing cash flow advisory, your firm should be prepared to provide the service, or they will be forced to go somewhere else that does.
Of course, it would be great if we could crank the clock back and prepare a cash flow advisory service so that when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we would have been ready to provide this service. But most of us don’t expect the worst, and unfortunately, many CPA firms and virtual CFOs are now behind on providing cash flow advisory services.
So now we face the question, is it time for our firms to offer cash flow advisory services in the case that this will happen again?
In our humble opinion, cash flow forecasting is not something that will be left in the dust. In fact, cash flow advisory services are often such critical projections for many businesses that new and existing businesses shouldn’t go without them, no matter what the economic landscape looks like.
By providing consultancy and advisory services regarding cash flow will allow accountants and their firms to stay current regarding any potential new regulations, digital transformations, and the changing business landscape in general.
How to implement a cash flow advisory service.
There are a few steps your firm can take to begin offering your cash flow advisory services:
- Streamline forecasting
- Set up automation
- Keep your goals realistic
- Regularly review the forecasts
- Visualize forecasting with clients
As a consultant, your firm should be aiming to simplify the forecasting process with your accounting clients. This transition should be easy for them to make. If the software they’re using requires upgrades, focus on this step first.
Only jump into cash flow advisory with clients that are ready and open to the idea, otherwise, you will be met with resistance. Try planting the seed at a first meeting and then following up when providing a monthly report, or similar.
When they are ready to make the leap, cash flow forecasting apps like Dryrun are available to help simplify the process by connecting all accounting software and other accounts.
Set up automation
This goes along with the step above. If your clients are ready to make the leap into cash flow advisory, there are advanced technologies available to help automate the entire accounting system. Online stores like Shopify offer direct integrations with accounting software like Quickbook-Online, which connects to forecasting software like Dryrun.
Of course, keep manual backups of this information in case any of these services become disconnected, but it is absolutely worthwhile to set up automated integrations to save yourself (and your clients) time and money.
Keep your goals realistic
We’re more aware now than ever before that the future is uncertain. The economy is crashing, and businesses/entrepreneurs are scared they won’t be able to survive the next year of the pandemic.
Because of this, we need to be realistic in our goal setting both internally for our own firms, and externally with our clients. We need to consider potentially losing clients due to COVID-19’s effects on their businesses, but also potentially gaining clients based on this new service offering via cash flow advisory services.
Regularly review the forecasts
By offering advisory services means that you are now on the lookout for your clients’ accounts.
You need to regularly review their forecasts and accounts while flagging any potentially dangerous situations that may be harmful to the business. Of course, growth is always the goal, but your clients may just need to survive for a period of time, so regularly reviewing their accounts and forecasts is a requirement.
Visualize forecasting with clients
Software like Dryrun provides easy-to-understand visualizations to help clients understand the insights being provided. Graphs and visualizations are also relevant to help show clients their forecasts and the results of potential “what if” scenarios that may stem from various business decisions.
While we can’t hit “rewind” on offering cash flow advisory services, we can absolutely start offering them as of today.
Cash flow forecasting will not only make you a more competitive CPA/Firm, but it will provide great value to your clients that are open to this service. They won’t be left wondering if their financial decisions are “worth it” as they can run a forecast to get a better idea of the potential outcome.
Your clients will enjoy better control of their operations along with greater financial discipline and more liquid cash, when needed.
To see both your and your clients’ businesses succeed, a focus on cash flow advisory services is required moving forward. Of course, there will always be a need for task-based services like bookkeeping, invoicing, payroll, taxes, and other services, but those tasks are easily automated by online services and computer programs. Offering advisory services puts your firm in a league of its own and allows you to offer greater value to your current clients as their businesses continue to transform in the current economic climate.
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