It wasn’t so long ago that the majority of an Accounting Firm’s revenue was generated through end of year services and tax compliance. Today’s economic conditions and the ever growing trend of outsourcing has meant that compliance work has become a race to the bottom with jobs awarded to the lowest bidder.
This kind of undercutting has slashed the profit margins on compliance work and is forcing firms to look to other revenue streams. Proactive Accounting Firms are starting to revaluate their business offerings and move away from the traditional reactive model to a proactive approach.
Higher value services are now needed to better engage clients, and these services need to also provide a deeper level of engagement with the client’s overall business. Greater revenue streams can be found in consulting services such as a Virtual CFO service.
Moving from compliance to consulting can be a daunting task for any accounting firm, but like any massive task, often the hardest step is the first. That’s why we’ve put together 3 ways you can start moving towards consulting right now.
Cloud Computing allows you to access your business from anywhere, this means Accountants can be sent out on-site to offer services like virtual CFO consulting. This kind of flexibility allows you to have all information and applications on hand, build better relationships with clients, add more value, and ultimately generate a higher profit margin.
Even if you're not ready to start offering consulting services to your clients, you can begin to improve the engagement and communication between both parties by visiting your client's office and working with them there. This will allow you to open another level of dialogue with clients and position your business as a trusted advisor.
Using collaborative tools, such as Skype for Business (SFB), in the Cloud environment gives you the ability to communicate easily with your team outside of traditional methods. A project doesn't have to come to a grinding halt just because certain employees are out of the office. This is handy for Accounting Firms that have multiple offices, contractors or just want their different departments to interact more.
Tools like SFB allow you to also communicate quickly and easily with clients as you can add them to your contacts. This is especially great if you have clients in remote areas where it can be hard to send employees.
Though often controversial, outsourcing your compliance work offshore can benefit your team here in Australia by freeing up their time to offer those higher value consulting services.
As accounting degrees in counties such as the Philippines are closely aligned to Australian programs, recruiting quality staff offshore is possible. Offshore staff can complete processing work at a lower cost, allowing Australian staff to concentrate on more rewarding advisory level work.
Sending some of your services offshore doesn’t automatically mean cutting jobs, in fact the opposite can happen. Take one of our VAULT clients Allworths Chartered Accountants for example; Allworths continue to grow Australian staff numbers. They have achieved this by freeing staff from processing work and allowing them to respond to market demand for higher chain advisory services. They now employ more staff, who are more satisfied at work and have more job security because their workplace has maintained its competitive edge.
Overall, the right Cloud Platform can allow your Accounting Firm to step up its service offerings, create a more productive and collaborative office and ready your employees for the switch to consulting. Once you start looking at technology as an enabler and not an overhead, you will begin to grow your bottom line and gain a competitive advantage.