CPA Firm Advisory Services

Why CAS, the supposed savior of the profession, has created even more problems (and what to do about it)

Colin Dunn
August 13, 2023
minute read

Client Accounting Services (CAS) was not too long ago hailed as the savior of the accounting profession.

We were promised that embracing CAS would fill the gap left by the demise of compliance work (still has not happened and not going anywhere anytime soon!), but the reality tells a different story.


Accountants have long expressed a desire to offer more advisory services, but the truth is far from ideal. Instead of fulfilling their aspirations, accountants find themselves trapped in low-value tasks such as bookkeeping, write-up, payroll, invoicing, and bill payments for clients. This leaves them with no time for meaningful advisory work, rendering the original goal of CAS unattainable.


This has exacerbated an already dire talent shortage in the accounting industry. You know all too well the drudgery of tax season and the toll it takes on personal lives. Now add into the mix the tedious nature of these low-value tasks. Is it any wonder bright young people are shunning the profession?


High-level professionals are stuck doing low-level work. Tax accountants find themselves bogged down with basic bookkeeping tasks, taking away precious time from valuable advisory work. This misplaced focus has a detrimental impact during tax season, creating a mental drain as accountants worry about what they aren't addressing on the accounting and advisory front.


Client engagement suffers when clients don't receive the valuable advice they seek in their monthly financials. But because their accounting firm has supposedly taken this off their plate, they lack focus and have no incentive to provide information in a timely manner. As a result, accountants spend excessive time chasing clients for information, leading to inefficiencies and lost opportunities.


The consequences of this trend are far-reaching. Low-level work equals low value, and accountants end up with a poor average hourly rate for these services. The opportunity cost remains unseen; you are, if anything, even busier but rarely become more profitable.


It's time to confront these challenges head-on and reclaim control over your practice. By reducing the burden of low-value tasks through strategic client selection, you can shift your focus to advisory services and break free from the cycle of unfulfilling work. Engaging clients with valuable advice will not only enhance their satisfaction but also improve your overall practice profitability.


The promise of CAS might have seemed like a panacea, but the truth is that it has created more challenges than solutions. It's time to rethink our approach and focus on getting the right people doing the right things for the right clients. By reducing client numbers and focusing on creating real value for those clients, you'll have the bandwidth to provide the advisory services you truly desire.


At Renew Group, we have seen the transformative power of making this shift. Our firms don’t chase growth for growth’s sake. They solve for profit and time. And what’s really exciting is to see accounting firms do this by introducing a subscription model. We’re seeing firms go from zero to over a million dollars on subscription while dictating the terms of the services they provide and placing the client relationship right at the center.


Easier said than done, but Renew firms have access to all the internal and external processes you need to introduce this in your firm.


Sound interesting? Schedule some time with us to talk through how we can help.

Back to blog list

Articles you might like