How to Offer Value Added Accounting Services to Grow Your Firm
Accounting firms today are looking to adopt new technologies that will help drive innovation and add value to their suite of services. Adding value added accounting services allows firms to provide more benefits to customers and gain access to new revenue opportunities — in fact, studies show that “firms that are able to provide strategic advisory services can increase monthly client revenues by as much as 50%”.
For clients, choosing value added services from your accounting firm makes sense. It gives them access to talent and insights from a vendor that already knows the intricacies of their business and finances.
Let’s take a closer look at the services accounting firms can offer and why they might make sense for your company.
Why expand into value added accounting services?
Choosing to offer value added accounting services may not seem obvious at first glance. However, consider the considerable benefits of offering these services:
- Thought Leadership. Accounting firms are in the knowledge business. The accumulated expertise in your firm can be leveraged to deliver new opportunities that your clients and potential clients want and need.
- Competitive Edge. Clients crave simplicity. If they can get one-stop shopping for their financial, accounting, audit and tax services from one vendor, they’re more likely to do so rather than having multiple vendors working on their books.
- Technological Savvy. Many new services can leverage technologies such as automation, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing. Incorporating these technologies has benefits for both the firm and its clients. For the former, it introduces new capabilities that have applications across the firm, adding more functionality to existing work and emerging services. For the latter, technology provides better insights, faster access to actionable information, and more opportunities for self-service.
Collectively, these benefits can lead to the creation of a value-added services suite that could transform your firm.
Types of value added accounting services
What other services can your accounting firm offer? There are many types of value added accounting services to consider branching into. Which services you choose depends on the structure, focus, and strengths of your firm. However, all of the following should be considered as possible additions to drive business development and revenue for accounting firms. They include:
Whether for mergers and acquisitions, succession planning, bankruptcy protection, financing or a business dispute, business valuation is critical. Offering your clients business valuation analysis services gives them a documented assessment of the business, its assets and liabilities, and market position.
Part-Time Chief Financial Officer
Having a dedicated CFO is essential for businesses of all sizes. A CFO provides high-level consultation, financial insights, strategic thinking, board management and financial expertise. These skills are mission-critical for businesses at any stage of development. Growing firms especially can benefit from part-time CFO services that can assist with regulatory requirements, financing and strategy. Large accounting firms already have part-time CFO programs ready to deploy and, increasingly, boutique and specialty shops are offering similar services.
Help your clients prepare for important financing rounds by offering comprehensive financing planning services. Your firm can help ensure that loan applications are seen in the best possible light. By pulling together necessary documentation – a business plan, business credit report, tax returns, financial statements, bank records and other necessary information – you can help drive successful outcomes that help your clients grow.
All of the aforementioned technologies are attractive for your clients as well as your firm. As businesses look to create new business models, innovation and technology are key drivers. However, these drivers carry with them economic implications. Your accounting firm can help with the financial analysis about what new technologies will cost the impact on efficiency, the long-term return on investment and the benefits, synergies, savings and opportunities that new technologies present. Accounting firms can help pinpoint the disruptive influences of digital transformation on processes, markets and industries.
Increasingly, companies of all kinds re competing in a global marketplace. But moving into foreign markets can be complicated, with new tax, payroll, tariff and financial regulations that need to be clearly understood before expansion plans launch. CPA firms can help clients assess what the rules are for conducting business abroad, hiring practices in other countries, currency valuations and rules about making and taking payments, taxes and whether overseas expansion is in compliance with domestic rules.
Cash Flow Management
Your firm already has a good grasp on your clients’ financials, so advising on cash flow is a natural extension. Position your firm to assist with cash flow projections, whether on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or annual timetable. These projections can help clients determine when and how to pursue lines of credit or other types of financing to ensure that bills are paid and payrolls are met.
For small and medium-sized businesses alike, succession planning is a complicated and complex issue. For family-owned businesses, there are emotional and personal considerations at play as well. Your firm can help negotiate family disputes, assist with estate planning and estate taxes and serve as a trusted advisor in crafting and executing a succession plan that benefits the company and the individuals affected.
New Business Development
Carving out a niche to helping emerging businesses can be rewarding and lead to long-term business relationships. Entrepreneurs often need help taking their ideas from concept to reality. Help businesses get off to a strong start by assisting with business plans, business financing, cash flow projections, accounting software selection, bookkeeping and accounting services and business incorporation. A client who starts small can end up sticking with trusted advisors who helped get them launched.
No matter what value added services your accounting firm chooses to offer, you will develop deeper relationships with clients, extend your potential client base and realize additional business opportunities.
How to sell accounting firm added services
Which accounting firm add on services should your firm consider? Start by taking a careful and objective look at your firm, its employees and their skills. You can’t know how to sell accounting services until you know where your strengths lie.
A hard assessment of the current state of your business may be necessary. What are your firm’s strengths and what’s holding it back? Where could you shift away from some services to offer other, more profitable ones?
Also take a close look at what your competition is offering. Knowing what the competitive landscape is gives you a clearer sense of the market and demand.
Consider asking the following questions to help clarify which services are right for your firm to offer:
- How big is my firm now and how big do I want it to be?
- What industries and customers do I want to work with?
- How big are the companies I want to work with? How mature are those businesses?
- What is my ideal client persona?
- What are the core services those ideal clients are looking for? Are we providing that basic list of services now?
- What potential services will existing and ideal clients want?
- Can our firm add those potential services with existing personnel and technologies? If not, what will it take, and how long, to obtain them?
- How will I market the new services to clients, new and potential?
- What tools, processes and education does my team need to deliver new services effectively?
At OfficeTools, we offer purpose-built accounting technology that helps firms expand their capabilities and deliver better services. Your practice management software can help you automate your practice, exceed client expectations, and expand your service offerings. To get started, check out our guide on how to offer your clients virtual CFO services.