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. With economic conditions today and the growth of outsourcing, compliance work has become a race to the bottom with jobs awarded to the lowest bidder.
This undercutting has slashed profit margins on compliance work and has forced firms to look at other revenue streams. Higher value services are now needed to better engage clients, and these services also need to provide a deeper level of engagement with the client.
How do I engage my clients?
The easiest way to start developing a deeper relationship with your clients is to communicate with them more frequently (this doesn’t mean you send them multiple spammy emails every day).
Probably one of the most important aspects of consulting is the ability to visit a client onsite and work with them from their office. Just by being present in their space you’re already establishing trust and answering general questions throughout the day you’re actually beginning the consulting process.
What tools do I need?
Before you start sending your employees off to visit your clients you need to make sure they have the right tools to do their job.
There are 3 essential tools you need to move to consulting; a Cloud Platform, Collaboration Software and a CRM.
- Cloud Platform
A Cloud Platform gives you the ability to work from anywhere without compromising on data security, which can be a big issue if you’re storing your client’s data. It can also increase productivity as a good cloud provider will handle updates outside of business hours and take care of time consuming activities like updating software licenses, meaning your staff have more time to focus on consulting.
- Collaboration Software
Collaboration between staff is key to moving into the consulting space and the right technology can help you achieve this. Tools like Skype for Business allow staff to communicate easily, whether they are in the office, working from home, or onsite with a client.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Having solid CRM software is essential to offering consulting services to you clients. The ability to manage your database, your agreements and keep general information on your clients is so important to not only your staff conducting the consulting services, but also your admin and support staff so they can correctly bill the client.
Become a trusted advisor
With all the in-house knowledge they possess, the majority of accounting firms could move into the consulting space today, but many are held back by lack of confidence in their staff and their ability to engage their clients. By implementing the right technology you can empower your staff, harness their collective knowledge, build better relationships with clients, add more value, and ultimately generate a higher profit margin through consulting.