Tax & Accounting Blog

Resolve to Evolve Your Practice in 2016

Accounting Firms, Business Strategy & Development January 12, 2016

It’s the start of another year and resolutions abound. While laying off the cookies and hitting the gym top nearly everyone’s list, what about making a resolution to transform your firm’s identity by providing advisory and consulting-based services to your clients? While it may seem overwhelming, especially with tax season looming, making this move is a strategic decision that could guarantee the future success of your firm.

Capitalizing on opportunities

In my years of experience, I’ve learned that clients initially come to their accountant with a simple request, like “file my tax return” or “handle my payroll”. However, they really want much more. “File my tax return” often means “help me with tax strategy” and “handle my payroll” often equates to “I’m interested in outsourcing my payroll and HR functions”. The question is, does your firm have the ability to capitalize on these opportunities?

By moving to an advisory-based model, you can not only make the most of these opportunities, but build a brand around them and price your services competitively.

Reigniting your passion for serving clients

The truth is many accountants are overloaded with tedious work and have lost the spark that once drew them into accounting. After all, most of us did not enter the profession for our love of after-the-fact compliance related paperwork.

The true value of moving to an advisory-based model is that it will reignite your passion for serving clients and enable you to do what you started out in this profession to do—help others.

To truly understand if an advisory-based model is right for you, consider these questions.

  • Do you dream of moving beyond tax returns and supporting your clients as a trusted business
  • Do you envision your experience dealing with a wide range of client issues becoming the foundation of your value proposition to clients?
  • Do you enjoy helping others protect their wealth, grow their business, and secure their future for themselves and their families?
  • Do you strive for a deeper and more fulfilling experience at work each day?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time to move to an advisory-based model.

Proof it works

Chris Coggins established his firm, The Tax Office, Inc., in Roseville, Calif. in 1986. Back then, he primarily offered tax and accounting services, along with some bookkeeping. After moving to an advisory-based model, his firm has not only expanded into payroll and consulting services, but created the “Outsourced CFO Solutions” brand which offers clients the opportunity to “rent” a CFO on a monthly basis for several years, often increasing clients’ revenue anywhere from 3 to 8 percent.

The reality is that these types of consulting services will become the norm for accounting firms who want to thrive in the future.

“The tax preparation business is changing, and the ability to work with clients on a collaborative basis is where the industry is headed,” Coggins says. “To be a next-generation accounting practice, you have to focus on the consulting side of the business. If you’re not on that train, you’re going to be left at the depot.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Now it’s your turn

Have you moved to an advisory and consulting-based model? If not, do you plan to do so in the future?