Navigating clients through uncertain times

Navigating clients through uncertain times

Accountants can adapt to uncertain political times and exponential technological change by optimising their practices and offering new advisory services.

Whether the UK leaves the EU on October 31 with or without a deal, one thing is certain: the accountancy profession is in a period of transition. Although you have no control over the outcome of one of the biggest political and economic challenges of our times, you can take control of your business and optimise your practice.

Research from Wolters Kluwer in conjunction with Kelly Market Research shows that compliance work is contributing between 0 and 3% of revenue growth, yet advisory services are predicted to produce between 30 and 40% of revenue growth in the next few years.

With the political upheaval of Brexit, your clients will require more advisory support than ever before, therefore, this is a good opportunity for you to make your processes more efficient, freeing up time to offer your clients value add services and grow your client base.

Does this mean the end of compliance?

Software can automate many of the tasks you once did manually, however, this does not mean the end of compliance. Instead, this automation should be viewed as an opportunity to optimise your practice, making your compliance services more accurate, quick to perform and competitively priced.

This will save you time so you can either take on more clients or focus on developing the new advisory services and adding value.

Whatever the outcome of Brexit, businesses will be looking to their trusted advisors to help guide them through new legislation, new tax and VAT regulations and any other outcomes. The uncertainty itself will have an impact on their decisions on investment, exports and employment.

Taking the first steps towards advisory

Start by spending some time listening to clients to understand their goals, and what some of the obstacles might be. Helping your clients achieve their aims starts with a detailed understanding of their sector and their personal motivations.

Now you can draw up a detailed plan, starting with an assessment of your net profit margin, and your practice’s strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities.

Define what advisory services will look like within your plans for growth. How will you identify suitable clients, track growth and charge for your advisory services? A monthly subscription fee or value billing might be more suitable for advisory services than charging daily or hourly rates.

Who will lead the project, and what is your marketing plan for the new services?

A good way to convince clients of the value of your advisory services is to offer to value their business for them. Often, the value falls below their expectations. You can then offer to help them grow that figure.

A gradual start is best, so you avoid taking on too much at once and failing to deliver the quality which clients expect. Pick one or two services which are close to what you already offer, and perfect those first.

Looking for more advice?

It can be tricky to navigate the path from compliance to advisory, particularly if this is new for you.

Wolters Kluwer is holding a series of six free roadshows around the country next month to help accountants prepare for the changes ahead. Framed around the topic of political uncertainty due to events including Brexit, the roadshows will look at how you can prepare for the unknown by optimising your practice and offering new advisory services.

Starting on October 15, they will be held in Belfast, Manchester, Coventry, Southampton, Brighton and London.

The Navigating Change Seminar – Deal or No Deal is a morning event which will start at 9am and finish at 1pm in all six cities.

These topics will be covered:

  • How to optimise the compliance tasks to give you back time
  • Defining what advisory services look like for your practice growth
  • An exclusive product demonstration of a brand-new Wolters Kluwer insight tool

For more information and to sign up, visit the roadshow page at Wolters Kluwer.

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