If you’re a leader within an accounting firm, you’ve probably heard of advisory services and their lucrative impact. This trend is accelerating as traditional accounting firms seek more strategic and meaningful work that goes beyond tax returns.
Offering your clients proactive advice through accounting advisory services is especially important as the regulatory and legislative landscape continues to become increasingly complex. In fact, a Thomson Reuters Institute survey found that 95 percent of tax professionals believe their clients want business advisory services.
But what accounting advisory services should your company offer? And how do you make this transition and market your services appropriately? We’ll see.
What are accounting advisory services?
Accounting advisory services include a variety of engagements designed to help clients streamline accounting processes, improve profitability and improve overall decision making. These services focus on providing their clients with proactive and forward-thinking guidance and advice. This differs from traditional compliance work in that tax returns and related activities report what happened in the past.
Accounting advisory services are all about the future, and this change is accelerating as more and more accounting firms use technology to automate tax filing and compliance work. They are not only most profitable strategic accounting advisory servicesbut they also foster more meaningful customer relationships.
What are examples of counseling services?
From financial accounting to reporting advice, there are many types of advisory services that accounting firms can provide. Their experience and knowledge is integrated into every client engagement, ensuring a mutually beneficial experience for both parties, long-term growth, and revenue opportunities.
Types of Financial Accounting Advisory Services include:
- Examine overall profitability
- Investment and wealth management
- Cash flow planning and forecasting
- Company fringe benefits
- estate planning
- Income transfer strategies and savings for education
- Business Entity Structure Planning
- Property rental operations
- sell a business
Types business advisory services include:
- Tax planning and strategy
- Benchmarking and analysis
- Advice on tax legislation
- Set and achieve business goals.
- Understanding Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
- Strategic planning
- Best business practices
- Independent Contractor/Employee Analysis
- Succession plan
In general, accounting advisory services help their clients identify their business goals and align their business plan to achieve those goals, all while relying on your company’s unique knowledge and experience. As you connect on a deeper level with your clients, you and your staff will have the ability to identify additional consulting opportunities along the way.
For accountants who have grown tired of tedious data entry Associated with traditional compliance work, the many facets of accounting consulting can help you rediscover the spark that drew you to the accounting profession in the first place: helping others achieve their business and financial goals.
How are accounting advisory services priced?
The short answer to this question is to move from hourly billing to value-based pricing. With a value-based approach, your company assigns a price based on the value that your services bring to the customer. Pricing varies from customer to customer because you base it on what the customer values most and what they are willing to pay for that value.
The traditional hourly billing approach can penalize companies for working quickly and increasing their breadth and depth of knowledge. Instead, your company should base the prices of your accounting consulting services around the value you bring to clients.
To price accounting advisory services appropriately, you must define the Workspace at the beginning of the project and make sure the client knows what is included and what will cost more. This may require educating them in advance about what is and is not included in their commitment.
To that end, value-based pricing requires more upfront strategic planning. When you need to develop a specific price based on each client’s unique needs and the perceived value of your services, you need more time to really understand which services will benefit them the most. While strategic planning before the advisory job may initially slow down the onboarding process, it will pay off in the long run. Even after you’ve established your value pricing model, it will most likely need to be adjusted as you grow and become more accustomed to this new way of billing.
At the end of the day, value-based pricing rewards your company and employees for their expertise and efficiency, and results in higher margins and more satisfied customers.
How do you market advisory services to clients?
To effectively market advisory services, you must first identify your target audience. Think about your interactions with current customers. Are they ask for advice beyond your tax return? Or are you seeking advice on recent tax legislation? What about guidance on business processes? Listening and asking questions provides valuable information about your customers’ wants and needs, and about advisory services you can offer to better serve them.
Second, think about your experience and how it aligns with the demographic you serve. What pain points have your customers had and how have you solved them? What is the age, profession, income level, etc., of your target market? Do you currently cater to a particular industry or niche, such as fusions and acquisitions? When you understand your audience, you can develop a marketing campaign with messages that really resonate.
Once you’ve identified your target audience, it’s time to tap into the appropriate marketing channels. From digital marketing to social networks, SEOand email nudgesBuilding a strong online presence will help you reach more prospects and demonstrate your knowledge.
throughout his Marketing campaings, it is important to establish your company as an authority and thought leader on tax and accounting issues that resonate with your target audience. Consider writing regular blogs or offering your unique views on social media or by hosting a webinar. Tapping into tax and accounting “hot topics” will engage your audience and establish you as a leader in your field.
Networking is also an important marketing tool. Get out there and develop relationships with other professionals in related fields so you can build a strong referral network.
Making the transition to counseling
When you know how to market and price accounting advisory services effectively, your business transforms from a once-a-year tax compliance processor to a year-round strategic advisor. This change not only increases profitability, but also has a positive impact on the business and financial lives of your customers, and that’s powerful stuff.
Using a market-proven methodology, Thomson Reuters practice ahead® offers content, tools, and guidance for forward-thinking accounting firms like yours who are interested in expanding into advisory services. start your journey to accounting advisory services today.
To learn more about counseling services, read “Accounting advice: What you should know.”