As a CPA firm, you may find yourself primarily focused on compliance services, such as tax preparation and financial statement preparation. While these services are important, when offered in isolation they don't necessarily provide the level of value that clients are looking for in today's business landscape.
Leading with advisory services, on the other hand, can help you differentiate your firm, build deeper relationships with your clients, and increase profitability.
In this blog post, we'll explore why CPA firms should lead with advisory, and how to successfully make the transition.
Why Lead with Advisory?
Increased Profitability: Advisory services tend to be more profitable than compliance services. By providing specialized advisory services, you're offering clients something that they can't get from just any accountant. As a result, you can charge higher fees,and the value you provide to clients can translate to increased revenue for your firm.
Deeper Client Relationships: By offering advisory services, you become more than just a compliance provider - you become a trusted advisor. When you provide clients with valuable advice and solutions that help them achieve their goals, you build deeper, more meaningful relationships that can lead to more work in the future.
Competitive Differentiation: Offering advisory services can help you stand out from competitors. If your firm is primarily focused on compliance services, you're competing with countless other firms that offer similar services. By leading with advisory, you're offering something unique and valuable that can help you win new business and retain existing clients.
Making the Transition
Transitioning from a compliance-based practice to one that leads with advisory services can be challenging, but it's not impossible. Here are a few tips to help you make the transition successfully:
· Start Slow: You don't have to go all-in on advisory services right away. Start by offering one or two specialized services that align with your firm's strengths and the needs of your clients. From there, you can gradually expand your suite of services overtime.
· Focus on Your Niche: To successfully lead with advisory, you need to have a deep understanding of your clients and the industries they operate in. Focus on serving a specific niche or industry where you have expertise and experience and develop specialized advisory services that address the unique challenges that your clients face. Remember, you only need one client that you’ve done great work with to promote a niche!
· Educate Your Clients: Your clients may not be familiar with the value of advisory services, so it's up to you to educate them. Explain the benefits of specialized advisory services, and how they can help clients achieve their goals and grow their businesses. If you don’t toot your own horn, there is no music.
· Build Your Brand: To successfully lead with advisory, you need to build a strong brand that communicates your expertise and the value you provide to clients. Develop marketing materials that position your firm as a specialized advisory providerand leverage social media and other channels to reach your target audience. The good news is, most CPA firms do nothing to promote themselves or to build their brand, so taking half a step forward while everyone else stands still or retreats can give you an advantage.
Renew firms approach this by leading with advisory, which means shifting the focus from compliance-based services to specialized advisory services that meet the unique needs of their clients. It also means placing more focus on the advisory component of a year-round relationship. For example, explaining how you run the year from May through April allows you to position a year-round tax strategy and planning service, which is very different from what most firms do (tax planning in December, if you’re lucky!)
If you have an interest in advisory services, you’ll need to get clarity on what means for you. Renew firms regularly promote services such as Streamlined Financial Analysis and Planning, Business Performance Monitoring, and Personalized Support and Guidance, that play to their strengths and provide maximum value to their clients, and they build those into a year-round subscription service for their clients. By taking a proactive, advisory-led approach, Renew firms can deepen their client relationships, drive profitability, and differentiate themselves from competitors in the marketplace.
Renew Group’s focus is making tax season less daunting and creating a better life for CPAs by commanding premium pricing with the right clients through leading with advisory services. Renew’s platform is rich with content & applications, collaboration tools & community engagement plus events. Renew’s world class coaching and consulting is supported by the fastest and most potent responses in the industry.
Renew Group firms thrive as profitable modern firms.
About the Author: Colin Dunn
Colin Dunn is the founder and CEO of Renew, a leading advisory firm that specializes in helping small CPA firms transition from compliance-based practices to ones that lead with specialized advisory services. With over 25 years of experience in the accounting industry, Colin has helped countless firms build successful advisory practices and achieve their business goals.
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