How do your clients perceive you? Do they still see you as the person who completes their tax return and sends them on their way until the following year? With the industry dramatically changing, you should no longer be seen as just the number cruncher, but as an advisory partner with the ability to add enormous value.
The accounting profession is taking a step out of its comfort zone, through new technology and the delivery of new services that adds value to clients. And with this change comes enormous opportunity.
The technology shift
Technology is reshaping the world constantly, and the accounting industry is no different. Automation of tax services is growing at a huge rate year on year, and ‘do it yourself’ SMSF services are becoming commonplace within the industry.
This, paired with the rise in cloud based accounting including accounts preparation and bookkeeping software, has accounting firms rethinking their role. But all of this is actually good news for you. Streamlining these typical compliance type services means the money your clients save from software automation can be spent on higher value add services.
The advisory shift
Competition is no longer just coming from other accountancy firms, but from consultants, professional services firms and the internet – the question is, how do you continue to grow, diversify and maintain your client relationships?
It’s important to shift your focus to higher value add services. Becoming the client’s first point of contact for business concerns ensures trust, relationship longevity and allows you to use your full skill set – business knowledge and soft skills – to enhance your client proposition.
Switched-on accountants are incorporating services that provide the insight and business coaching components that no automation software can replace.
Understanding your clients' needs
Just like with family and friends, each client is different. They have different motivations and their needs are unique. In order to shape your clients’ perception of what they need from you, get to know them. Find out more about their hobbies and interests and know their business inside out.
This knowledge will allow you to understand their business and personal needs, and help to develop deeper relationships. Once this trust is built, your clients will see you as an integral part of their advisory team.
Research by Investment Trends in 2014 indicates that of the 26% of clients who left their accountant, the main reason for doing so was they did not believe their accountant could offer all the services they wanted.
What this shows is that clients are already changing their perceptions of what they want their accountant to be. So you need to ask yourself, what will you be to your clients?
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