Accountants and bookkeepers are the backbone of any business–it’s as simple as that. They oversee every aspect of a company’s accounts: keeping their clients fully compliant, and ensuring that they stay afloat.
But this isn’t all. The best accountants are those who also offer up invaluable financial insights to help companies manage the present and plan for a profitable future.
According to one study, a whopping 86% of Business Owners view their accountants as trusted business advisors. So the question remains: why do accountants and bookkeepers still focus on selling their compliance services?
Sure, it’s great that your practice completes tax returns in a timely and efficient manner–and that you’re on hand to answer any questions a client has about their accounts–but this is far from the extent of an accountant or bookkeeper’s expertise.
It's a good time to redefine your offering
Move away from promoting your ability to handle compliance-related tasks and step into the coveted role of true business advisors.
Accountants’ and bookkeepers’ bread and butter service has always been their ability to manage their clients’ books. Mundane, data-heavy, compliance-orientated tasks have taken up most of their time, and therefore most of their focus.
As a result, they’ve naturally been pigeon-holed as reactive business associates who are there to safeguard companies from any financial malaise.
But with the rise of automation taking the accounting industry by storm, accountants and bookkeepers can now automate these low-value and time-consuming tasks: making them quicker, more efficient, and more accurate in the process.
That doesn’t mean the death of the accountancy profession. In fact, far from it.
By automating these processes, accountants and bookkeepers can spend more time focusing on what the data is telling them: using their vast experience to offer strategic business advice which guides the future of the company.
Such a change in day-to-day focus requires a similar change in marketing strategy. Instead of saying to prospective clients “We’ll handle your tax returns and keep your accounts up-to-date”, accountants and bookkeepers now need to say: “We’ll provide ongoing, forward-thinking financial analysis to safeguard your business’s future.”
At first, it might seem bold to adopt such a drastic change in messaging. After all, clients are only looking for peace of mind and to know that their finances are under control–right?
Wrong. A company’s books tells the complete story of how it’s performing: highlighting where it’s doing well, where it’s doing poorly, and what the future looks like.
Instead of looking at a company’s books to simply complete their tax returns, accountants and bookkeepers need to start looking at them with a view to guiding how the business operates going forward. Your clients aren’t financial experts, but you are.
Put simply, firms which adopt this shift in mindset will be successful–not just in 2020, but for many years to come.