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Looking ahead with a focus on advisory

Although your firm’s tax compliance practice is healthy and well-established, you may have a desire to grow into a new, larger role for your clients. Taking on the role of trusted advisor to your clients and offering advisory services is the way of the future.  

This is not some underwear gnome’s profit plan – this is based on facts. Industry experts predict that 78% of finance processes can be automated, leading to reduced revenue. Meanwhile, advisory services have emerged as in demand and highly profitable.  

Phase 1, automate. Phase 2, offer advisory services, phase 3, profit. Simple, right?  

Automation & Client Expectations 

The evolution of tax and accounting software tools combined with the new ways of working forced by the pandemic have made it possible to automate compliance processes and meet modern client expectations while giving time back to your staff that they can then spend on more meaningful work, training, or better work/life balance. 

Any loss of revenue due to automation and the ensuing time savings can be made up by offering highly profitable advisory services, which after all, is what your staff were trained to do. 

Automating Compliance begins with Thomson Reuters Software Tools 

Thomson Reuters software empowers large firms like yours to supercharge how they serve clients, accelerating success while elevating confidence. The impact of cloud-native tools can be felt most keenly in 4 areas:  

Speed 

Automation lets your teams work faster and produce critical answers in less time, no matter which cycle you’re closing.  

Insights 

Combine your expertise with deep insights produced through advanced analytics and critical business and industry benchmarks.  

Confidence 

Confidence means the right content delivered at the right time – everything stays carefully managed and secure.  

Collaboration 

Your top performers and new talent deserve the latest tools for modernizing firm operations while improving collaboration, for on time delivery with unmatched quality and unexpected insight.  

Impact on Staff 

When asked about the impact of adopting Thomson Reuters cloud tools on her staff, Kim Beauchamp, Director of Operations at Whittlesey shared, “One of the very nice things about using the portals in GoFileRoom is – back in the day, we would send out a paper organizer, the client would fill out the paper organizer, would take all of their documents, would mail it into the office, and someone would scan it in.  

Now, if you ask a client for a document, the document can go up on their portal immediately and the client can see it and then staff can take it. That’s has been a great help, having that immediate transfer of information. You’re not worried about emailing something. You’re not worried about password protecting something. It all goes right in the portal and it’s secure and it’s immediate. So, that’s one of the very best things.  

But also, I often have someone call me on Teams and say, you know, I’m not quite sure what’s wrong with this document or I don’t understand what this says. I’m able to pop right in GoFileRoom with them and look at the document because it’s all online. I can help and I can get other people’s help and everybody can touch everything. So that’s been huge for us in cutting down the time between a client’s request and getting a response from staff, just because the information is accessible to all of us.

Now that all these changes have been made, the administrative staff of the firm is doing more meaningful work. It’s not like back in the day when we were sitting around a table, all cutting coupons out for estimates and extensions and things like that and copying tax returns and stapling them and putting things through the mail. They’re doing meaningful work during their workday, and they appreciate that very much.” 

As you can see, GoFileRoom offers an arsenal of features that give your firm 24/7 access to document storage in the cloud, allowing you to streamline processes and create a truly paperless office.   

Making the leap from Compliance to Advisory 

What if you could set aside fee pressures for traditional compliance services and instead engage your business clients differently? 

While products like GoFileRoom and the Cloud audit suite allow for automation, freeing your staff to do more, Practice Forward was designed to leverage the efficiencies created by automation to create the big-picture strategy needed to drive your firm’s profitability and success.  

This means your firm can identify the right advisory services to offer – that your clients actually want – and apply a value-based pricing model, while also putting the right team members in place to handle day-to-day routine tasks.  

Framing the advisory opportunity in a conversation with clients can prove awkward. With existing relationships often focused on compliance issues, there isn’t always a natural opening to present the benefits of having your firm serve as a trusted advisor. Practice Forward offers a way to open the door to advisory and enter these deeper, consultative conversations.  

“It draws the line as to what services will be provided within an engagement, everything else outside of scope becomes an advisory offering,” says Louis DeLuca, CPA, MST and partner with Friedman & Huey Associates. “It eases the transition into an advisory role with clients when you didn’t know how to start in the past. Advisory engagements often include what we normally did in the past, but we were not recognizing and pricing properly for those services.” 

Practice Forward comes with content and tools, coaching, consulting, and other concrete methods for practitioners, allowing them to become comfortable developing and maintaining this enhanced relationship with clients.  

Instead of mostly looking back at compliance, the opportunity to look ahead with a focus on advisory is nurtured. 

To learn more about how you can reduce your staff’s workload, improve efficiency, and free up time to become advisory focused with Thomson Reuters software tools, please visit the Large Accounting Firm resources page.