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Accounting

How to Confidently Implement Strategic Advisory Services, and Get Your Boss On Board

Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting  

Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting  

Whether you’ve read about it in industry publications, heard about it at trade conferences or discussed it with your peers, you know that more and more firms are shifting away from compliance-based practices in favor of higher-value advisory services. You understand the importance of providing clients more proactive, strategic advice, but you’ve been unsure how to make the pivot — until now.

You’ve found the perfect solution that will give your firm the tools and customized coaching needed to successfully achieve advisory-focused client relationships and remain competitive. You see the value in investing in the solution, but will your boss? To help you build a strong case, we’ve outlined some strong points your boss should find compelling.

Implementing strategic advisory services can help your firm overcome industry challenges

A good place to start is communicating with your boss how the service can help your firm overcome challenges facing the profession. Let’s take a closer look.

For starters, the rise of DIY tax software has fueled the commoditization of tax preparation. This is not new. However, as technology becomes increasingly advanced more and more taxpayers are bound to turn to DIY online tax filing services that can walk them through the process for less money than your firm would charge.

Obviously, DIY tax preparation isn’t for all taxpayers. Your firm likely has a good deal of clients with more complex tax needs, but are you really providing them the level of service they desire? In today’s challenging environment, firms must be able to provide more strategic, proactive advisory services to strengthen client loyalty and remain competitive.

Then, of course, there’s staffing. The ability to attract and retain top talent has long been a concern among many firms. Unfortunately, that concern has shifted into higher gear in what has become known as the “Great Resignation.”

Furthermore, recent research by the Thomson Reuters Institute found that, among those accounting professionals who would consider moving on to a new firm, they are attracted to firms for a variety of reasons, including a greater value of work, greater independence/autonomy, and growth and progression opportunities.

By providing staff the tools and resources needed to forge stronger client connections and deliver more fulfilling advisory services, your firm can improve employee engagement and staff retention.

Strategic advisory services can nurture key client relationships

As mentioned, today’s clients are seeking more strategic, proactive advice, especially as the regulatory and legislative landscape continues to grow increasingly complex. This means more firms are bidding adieu to the days of rearview mirror accounting.

Consider this: the Thomson Reuters Institute survey found that 95 percent of tax professionals believe their clients want business advisory services. This trend was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic as clients sought advice about everything from applying for Paycheck Protection Program loans to how to manage their finances to keep their businesses afloat.

Looking ahead, tax professionals said they see this increased demand for business advice lasting.

If your staff isn’t fully confident stepping into the business advisor role, don’t worry. It’s a common concern. In fact, the study revealed that 41 percent of tax professionals do not feel comfortable taking on this role. Turning to training, education, mentoring, and gaining more experience all leads to improved confidence and greater client service. That’s why finding the right solution that provides your firm with a market-proven roadmap is so important. What does this mean?

  • Access to industry-relevant content and tools (videos, templates, pricing tools, checklists, and more) to help your firm execute a successful advisory business model.
  • One-on-one individual coaching sessions with a dedicated consultant, plus access to online learning courses to help your firm implement a market-proven methodology.
  • Open forums where staff can access regularly scheduled virtual meetings for coaching, guidance, and discussions facilitated by a consultant.
  • The ability to easily collaborate, listen to recorded webinars and podcasts, and share content in an exclusive community of like-minded professionals.
  • The ability to share your firm’s expertise and learn from others with peer-to-peer virtual and in-person events.

Advisory services support firm growth

It is also important to point out that, with the right solution in place, your firm will increase revenue while building better client relationships. It’s a win-win situation your boss is sure to appreciate.

Consider this: firms that have implemented such a solution have experienced, on average, a 150 percent increase in existing client monthly billings, and

a 200 percent increase in new client billings. This means the solution pays for itself just two to three months after starting implementation.

Successfully implementing advisory services also provides your firm a consistent revenue stream. Rather than meeting with clients once or twice a year, usually around tax season, you’re regularly communicating with clients and charging a monthly fee for your services.

This consistency irons out the peaks and valleys of tax season, leads to more meaningful client relationships, and eases the strain on staff. Furthermore, by leveraging pricing tools, your firm can ensure staff is getting paid for the value it provides. Plus, clients have a clearer picture of what they’ll be charged. No surprises.

Thorough business case preparation is key to convincing leadership

As you’re in the process of gathering the benefits such a solution can provide, you can further strengthen your case by having a clear understanding of your boss’ concerns and hesitation so you can address them head-on. For instance, is it time constraints? Is it cost concerns? Don’t underestimate psychology’s influence on decision-making and the importance of understanding what will drive change management in your firm.

It can also be very beneficial to speak with other firms that have implemented the solution and learn from them. Tapping into the available resources can be extremely helpful in further supporting your case.

Ready to start the conversation? Check out Practice Forward to start getting paid for your value, help clients completely, and build a more fulfilling career.

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