Good Morning Team,
The more I work with accountants, the more I have come to understand not only what works, but what doesn’t work and why.
I believe there are four levels of value adding that you and your firm can aspire to be achieving:
VALUE ADDING LEVEL ONE: The Unstructured Yet Valuable Value Added Consultation
A traditional accounting firm that is compliance driven can still aim to be successful, even today. What must be explored is what traditional firms must do in order to remain successful beyond today so that the firm retains its client base tomorrow and thereafter
Value-adding is quite misunderstood. It has been pretty much placed in a corner, along with all things new age and contemporary -like Xero, The Cloud, Virtual CFO, and Outsourcing to India.
The reality is, value adding can start right there in your own accountancy practice with little or no stress.
On a primary level, Value-adding is not what some Gurus report it to be. It’s not raising your prices until a pre-determined % of your clients leave you or complain. Value-adding can be as easy as you have the “white space” in your own head that you can simply ask more meaningful questions of your clients and sit peacefully and patiently, whilst they aim to retort a meaningful response to your purposeful question.
Accountants are their last bastion, the only remaining clan of ethics and solitude, of trustworthy advisory reference worthy of their private and important matters.
Give yourself the time to ask better questions of your clients, and do so in the presence of one of your up and coming employees. This practice will assure they too are learning the power and magic of this approach. The outcome will be ongoing growth as well as new client referrals from your satisfied existing clients.
Because clients want to be nurtured, cared for, considered, and challenged to be their very best.
VALUE ADDING LEVEL TWO: The Structured AND Valuable Value-Added Consultation
Having a template approach that you have embraced, to not only capture data but also to impress customers and build your brand, is fundamentally better than the previously mentioned value-adding Level One.
This way you create a system for capturing and retrieving the client’s aspirational data while ensuring the process is scalable and train-able to employees.
As simple as a structured questionnaire on a one or two-page form on a printed sheet of letterhead or an iPad can be all it takes to create a movement that is fundamentally different to just being an “ad hoc do-good-er”
This creates simplicity and builds confidence amongst your team that value-added consulting is, in fact, something they can learn. A checklist goes a long way to addressing what was otherwise going on between your client and yourself but only in your head.
The other valuable insight you will gain from this approach is that you learn to ask more questions more often of more clients which leads to… that’s right you guessed it, more client needs and more services, which can be fulfilled by you.