How Accountants Can Serve Today’s Clients
There are professions alive today that would have been inconceivable 20 years ago. We live in a world of rapidly changing business models with new and innovative ways to earn a living. Just look at the rise of gig economy workers – vloggers (…like me), influencers (…a lot of whom I follow) and internet natives whose livelihoods aren’t your standard 9 to 5 (…I wish). These are the spirits of the times – and the clients you think accountants would struggle to understand.
Yet it is the traditional professions that are pushing accountants to their limits: builders with new freedom to select projects, time-consuming administrative staff, and companies seeing a huge opportunity to grow.
It is not the type profession that defies accountants, but the changes made How? ‘Or’ What we work, driven by the past two years of global economic, technological and environmental disruption. Companies must adapt, quickly. To do this, they must call on the financial know-how and strategic sense of accountants.
Booming industries, demand for accounting support on the rise
Since the start of the pandemic, some professions have seen an explosion in demand driven in large part by changing human behavior and customer consumption habits.
The influx of demand for home renovations means that now many tradespeople can choose the projects that generate the most value for their business and command a higher price tag. This growth opportunity was offered to those armed with decent financial planning and the support of an accountant.
The truth is, rapid growth is a scary concept for some small business owners, and the thought of “doing the books” alone can be daunting. As taxation becomes increasingly complex, small businesses are increasingly turning to accountants for advice. They understand the importance of working with a trusted advisor who can take their business to the next level, while keeping control over their finances and compliance.
Trust in accountants
The small businesses I speak with know the value of working with an accountant; and Sage’s research highlights that despite accountants suggesting they feel undervalued, 91% of UK small businesses see accountants as essential to the success of their business.
From now on, accountants must convert the trust of SMEs into an opportunity to clarify their true value, by highlighting their expertise, to a business community that clearly needs it.
And the real impact accountants can have is helping their clients earn an income that allows them to be secure and happy no matter what disruptions surround us.
When addressing new and existing clients, accountants should first ask their clients what they want out of their business. Reveal the end goal by challenging clients to think: “What would make this year better than last year?” “How can we work together to build a financial model that gives you the lifestyle you want? “Which milestones are important to you?” Is it paying for your daughter’s college, or taking your family on vacation, or being able to buy your dream car? »
Today, unlocking what matters most to customers is the key to a successful and profitable partnership. Then, it is up to the accountant to support the client in making his dreams come true – through human advice, strategic advice and to the right Technology.
Understanding the true value of accounting services
Accountants need to feel empowered to have more open conversations with clients; not just now, but continually as the world of work changes.
Technology frees up the time accountants can devote to their clients and provides insights that empower their ability to solve real problems, not relying solely on them. gut feelings.
During initial consultations, accountants can use digitized services to help them analyze client activity, provide strategic advice, and break down the specific mix of accounting services they need due to industry demand.
The part that many accountants avoid is the ability to show their clients How? ‘Or’ What they will perform their services. Being transparent – mapping out the process and sharing what an accountant needs to do to keep the client’s financial records under control – is something many accountants miss in these early sessions, lest the client see the recipe for success. and does not adapt to it. . Believe me, customers don’t have the time or the know-how to do it themselves, but they will appreciate the honesty.
Accurate insights driven by technology and the power of transparency will ensure accountants have the confidence to charge true fees for their valuable services.
Riding the waves of change
Selling is not just about money. In my experience, accountants really need to know their clients’ needs, treat them equally, and find the diamonds – that’s the path to happy, successful clients. In 2022 and beyond, the agile accountant will need to serve their clients at the highest level – doing so with passion will shape the client experience to navigate the wave of change they are riding through.
By James Ashford, Vice President, GoProposal by Sage