What are you doing to grow value added services?
We all know that with the current developments of cloud technology in the Accounting Industry, that there’s a huge opportunity to be able to provide true value added services. There’s no doubt that we have always had tools like Excel but these new business intelligence tools that are now available give us the ability to deliver at a new level.
However there’s one key point that I would really like to emphasize and that is, it’s not just about presenting the data in a visual manner or in a different manner. It’s not just about running a series of reports and maybe emailing them to the client or giving them access to the particular application. If that’s all you’re doing then you’re massively undervaluing and neglecting the real opportunity that is available for accountants, bookkeepers and advisors. The software is not a panacea. It is just a tool in the tool kit.
Small businesses the world over want help to make smart decisions about growing their business. They want help with cash flow, they want help with understanding where their money is going and where their money is coming from in the future. They want help to make correct and informed decisions about which levers of their business to pull, what to focus on, what to ignore. This is not just done by a few reports. The reports are the starting point only. it is being able to make sense of the numbers and identify the real measures that matter (that usually are never found in the financial statements).
If you’re just providing the reports and having a quick conversation about these numbers then you will have moved significantly in front of the other accountants who are still trapped in the world of compliance only but you will have missed the real opportunity which sits at the next level beyond just interpreting the numbers. It is the level of where you are examining the drivers of the business so we understand the critical success factors of the business. it is about understanding the concepts of free cash flow and that we understand where to look to make a detailed assessment to provide insight to the business owners so they can make smart decisions.
Often time I’ve heard the objection that clients are resistant to these value added services. And that they will not pay for this. Aside from the issues of a having a clear methodology behind these services one of the key challenges most firms have is with being able to price these services and communicate the value to clients. The value is not found in the amount of time spent. Understanding value starts with having a conversation with a customer and asking deep open ended questions about what they are trying to accomplish. In coming newsletters and webinars we will focusing a lot on this question of communicating the value of these high value added services.
There is no doubt that there is a significant demand from small business owners for help to make informed decisions. It is important for your firm to identify who specifically you want to serve, how you want to work with these people and then communicating the value of these services.
Recently I was working with one of the clients and he has introduced this insight based service which is beyond interpretation into his client base. He’s had an incredible success rate but the one he was talking to me about was that a client that normally had previously been under $4,000 per annum in just compliance fees. By crafting an Insight based offering this same client had just signed up for a $27,000 annual service.
As we know the real product of an accounting firm is a transformed client. We need to have a focus on being able to provide this insight that will allow us to take our clients on a journey of transformation.
Are you helping small business make smart decisions?