By Julio Gonzalez.
Accounting firm owners know how important it is to maintain cash flow and overcome slow periods in business. Now is a fantastic time to offer advisory services to clients to sustain cash flow during the slow season. Why?
A Sage survey found that 82% of firms report that clients want and expect more services from their accountants than they did just a few years prior. The demand for additional services is there, but you need to capitalize on it.
Offering advisory services can:
- Increase your revenue
- Offer stable revenue
- Help you better serve clients
- Feel more rewarding
However, getting started isn’t easy. If you want to begin offering advisory services and enjoy some of these benefits, my guide can help you transition from compliance to advisory services to better serve your clients.
Starting anything new is scary and intimidating. Think back to when you started or acquired your own firm. There’s a good chance that you did a lot of research. You’ll need to do the same thing for this next venture.
Fortunately, there is a lot of great content on offering advisory services. A quick Google search will help you find multiple resources on starting to offer advisory services and what you can offer.
Some of the best resources are:
- Social media, where you can learn what others are doing and discover demand
- Articles from people offering advisory services
- Books on advisory services
You’ll want to absorb as much content as possible to learn about advisory services, what they entail, and familiarize yourself with the possibilities these services offer.
Coaches are available for everything. If you need a little help with starting to offer advisory services, you can:
- Hire one-on-one coaches to help you make the transition to advisory services
- Join group coaching programs
Industry coaches are a good option for any firm that wants to offer advisory services and needs a shortcut to success. These coaches are invaluable and will help you avoid many of the hurdles firms face when they begin offering advisory services.
However, some one-on-one coaches are expensive and demand a lot of money for their services, so keep this in mind.
One of my favorite ways to begin offering advisory services is to attend conferences and events that shed light on these services. You’ll find that these events are:
- A great way to learn from others in the advisory services world
- Networking opportunities
Many events are held in the summer, and one that is coming up soon is the Habu Conference in Texas. You should be joining in on conferences and events to expand your skillset and at least know what others are doing to find success when offering advisory services.
If you want to offer advisory services today without needing to go through the steep learning curve, you can outsource the process. One of the perks of outsourcing is avoiding having to learn the ins and outs of services. Further, you don’t have to worry about staffing.
Some outsourcing companies even allow you to white label their services.
When you outsource advisory services, you don’t need to offer services in-house and just need to work out an agreement, such as what the relationship looks like and how you get paid, with the outsourcing company. Of course, you’ll give up some of the profits when outsourcing advisory services, but you often don’t need to make the steep upfront investment either.
You’ll want to take the time to research the outsourcing company to have a better understanding of how they operate and ensure that they can meet the quality of service that your customers expect from your firm.
This can be a win-win option for you and your firm, even if you want to offer some advisory services in house. Often times, your clients need more. For those you don’t want to offer, consider finding a partner to outsource to.
Finally, if you’ve done all of your research and don’t want to start your services from scratch, you may find firms offering advisory services for sale. This is one of the most expensive ways to offer services, but before you write off the idea of acquiring another firm, consider the following:
- You can learn what the firm is doing to offer these services
- You’ll acquire talent during the purchase
- Existing customers will come with the purchase, leading to an immediate revenue boost for your firm
Acquiring a firm may not be something that you want to undertake, but it is a valid option that you should consider.
If you follow the roadmap above, you’ll have an easier time transitioning to advisory services. Demand for these services already exists, and there’s a good chance that your current clients already need the services that you can add to your business.
The first step in the process is to start learning more about these services. A few industry events are starting in the next few months that you might be able to attend, too.
Take the dive and learn how to begin offering the services your clients already need.
Julio Gonzalez is focused on bringing specialized engineering tax studies to mainstream America, which historically had only been available to Fortune 500 and public companies through national accounting firms. These tax services are critical to creating, preserving, and maintaining U.S.-based jobs. Julio is the CEO of Engineered Tax Services, The Growth Partnership, ABLE: CRM for Accountants, and INSIDE Public Accounting, the founder of Rockerbox, and the developer of the Engineered Tax Services cost segregation app.