Facing a rise in client expectations and an increasingly complex regulatory environment, a growing number of firms are looking to transform their practice and take their advisory services to the next level. Is your firm among them?
Accounting professionals have long been trusted advisors for their clients. That relationship was shifted into higher gear by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic as many companies turned to their tax and accounting professionals to help keep their businesses afloat. Today, the need for firms to deliver more forward-looking, strategic guidance remains strong.
The reality is that many firms have already been providing advisory services, even prior to the pandemic; however, too often, they fail to bill clients appropriately for the value and expertise they provide.
So how can firms elevate their advisory journey? Remaining competitive and successfully meeting the rise in client expectations requires that firms have a roadmap in place to apply a more sustainable value-based business model and support advisory-centered client relationships. Enter Thomson Reuters ® Practice Forward.
Practice Forward delivers the market-proven roadmap that firms need. Rich in practitioner-designed content and tools, Practice Forward navigates firms down the path of developing and implementing an advisory services approach that will take their firm to the next level.
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What are the paths to advisory services?
Firms have various situations when working with clients, such as tax planning, tax preparation, or risk management. It’s essential to remember that these situations can lead to providing more valuable advisory services. Let’s examine this further.
- Tax planning and research: Faced with ever-changing tax laws, clients can quickly find it challenging to keep pace and navigate the complexities. They need help ensuring compliance and developing strategies to reduce their tax liabilities.
Rather than meeting with clients at year-end to discuss traditional tax planning strategies, providing year-round, strategic advisory services enables firms to be more proactive in their approach. Firms have the visibility and access to client data they need to provide more forward-looking planning and strategy services to help clients navigate the complexities.
- Tax preparation: Tax season is obviously a very busy time of year. This also means it is a time for greater growth opportunities. The key is being able to identify and seize those opportunities.
To help identify and seize these advisory opportunities, firms may want to consider creating a list of opportunity scenarios practitioners should watch for when preparing returns. When an opportunity is identified, the preparer, or another member of the team, can then schedule a post-tax season client meeting to further discuss the advisory opportunity with the client.
- Risk management: Companies today face a number of risks whether it is breaches in data security or calls for greater transparency, to name a few. Your business clients are no exception.
Strengthen client relationships and drive greater revenue for your firm by helping clients implement the comprehensive solutions they need to better manage risk. For example, use data analytics to uncover trends or patterns within your client’s organization, or help clients test for vulnerabilities and develop a robust information security plan.
What are the benefits of Practice Forward?
Practice Forward helps firms gain the competitive edge they need and further strengthens their role as trusted advisors to their clients.
“By implementing Practice Forward, we have allowed ourselves to really define the process around how to deliver advisory services and how to capitalize on those opportunities as they arise. So, because of that, we have been able to tackle so many of the changes in our industry in real-time and really serve our clients through that,” said Brittany Lanphier, CPA, Managing Partner of Lanphier LLP, in discussing how Practice Forward has benefited the firm.
Through Practice Forward, firms will gain access to such benefits as:
Exclusive resources: This includes access to more than 190 tools (templates, pricing tools, checklists, videos, and more) to execute the Practice Forward methodology.
Guided implementation: Through one-on-one coaching sessions with a dedicated consultant, your firm will have the support and guidance needed for a successful implementation.
Practice Forward Group: Easily collaborate with other Practice Forward members and listen to recorded webinars and Pulse of the Practice podcasts to learn how firms are driving success.
Advisory Roundtables: Connect and share with peers about best practices, challenges, and hot topics during this virtual peer-to-peer event.
For firms that are leveraging Practice Forward, the benefits are translating into real results. In fact, Practice Forward firms have experienced a 150 percent increase in existing client monthly billings and a 200 percent increase in new client billings. And firms are finding that just two to three months after starting implementation, Practice Forward has paid for itself.
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How Practice Forward can help firms achieve success on their advisory journey
Practice Forward, which is rooted in a fundamental distinction between traditional compliance services and value-add advisory work, provides firms the framework they need for long-term success.
This not only includes guided consulting for successful implementation, but also:
- Guidance on how to set client expectations;
- How to develop a pricing strategy to ensure professionals are being properly compensated for the value and expertise they provide;
- Presentations and process guides for effective sales meetings with prospects and existing clients; and
- Client deliverables to standardize the delivery of advisory services and the transfer of knowledge to clients.
Practice Forward provides the proven methodology, guidance, and content solutions that firms need. However, change can be scary. To overcome potential challenges be sure that everyone within the firm has a clear understanding of why the change is taking place and how they will benefit. Communication is critical.
It is also beneficial to turn to peers and hear how they have navigated similar challenges and opportunities. Building a sense of community is invaluable.
To elevate their advisory journey, firms need the tools and resources to implement a sustainable value-based business model and foster advisory-centered client relationships. Practice Forward provides firms with the tools and customized coaching they need to succeed.
Interested in learning how to elevate your team for success and improve your advisory offerings? Watch our on-demand webinar below to learn how to identify strengths, instill confidence in your team, effectively execute knowledge transfer, and establish an advisory system. Get access to the webinar and start strengthening your client relationships by prioritizing your advisory guidance today!