As an accounting professional, how do you apply your years of experience in finance to the specific needs of your clients? It can be hard, but it’s something you have to consider if you are going to provide advisory services.
To convince your clients that your accounting advisory services can help take their business to the next level, you first have to know what that level means to your clients. Start by investigating their long-term goals and understanding what motivates them. Here are five questions to ask your clients that will help you discover what they need from an advisor.
1. What Are Your Long-Term Goals?
This seems like an obvious question, but it is also a necessary one. You can’t help your clients reach their goals if you don’t know what they are. You need to tailor your advisory services to each client’s unique needs and goals.
This first question will lead to more questions. What is your client currently doing to reach these goals? What are they using to track progress?
Once you have these questions answered, you can help your clients define Smart KPIs to fit each of their goals and give them a map to reach them.
2. Will You Be Seeking Funding Soon?
More businesses than ever need access to capital in order to grow, and it is important to know if your clients are looking for funding. If they are, then you also need to determine how they plan on getting this funding, whether it’s through traditional loans, merchant advances, or private investors.
Once you know the details, you can help them create a business plan with investor slides and develop a plan for how the funds will be used.
3. What Are Your Future Hiring Goals?
If your client is looking to add to their staff, ask them what their timeline is and get an understanding of how it will affect their business. You can use your accounting skills to determine whether hiring someone is a solution to the problem. It also gives you the opportunity to ask them how they are running payroll and suggest more services.
4. How Are Your Supplier Relationships?
Cutting supplier costs is a guaranteed way to increase profit margin, but many businesses get comfortable with the suppliers they’ve used over the years and don’t see a reason to change. But your client’s ordering habits may have changed. If their business has increased, they may now be ordering more than in the past and could potentially get a discount on bulk orders from another supplier.
5. How Can I Help Your Business Financially?
Your clients were willing to start the advisory conversation with you and have reasons. For example, they might want to lower their taxes. The most important question to ask after they tell your their financial goals is, “Why?” Their answer to this question will guide you in positioning your advisory services. Do you tell them you will focus on getting every deduction they can or how you will provide forecasting to budget for upcoming taxes? It all depends on their answer.
These Questions are Just the Beginning
Advisory services can give you the best return on time put in, but first, you have to find the time to ask these questions, and that can be hard to do without the right tools. This is where PathQuest can help.
Using PathQuest® SCALE , you can increase the capacity of your firm by automating mundane tasks like monthly report generation and bank reconciliation. SCALE integrates with platforms like Xero, QuickBooks, and Intact for real-time updates and provides you with a blended accounting team dedicated to the success of your firm. SCALE also comes with PathQuest® BI to help you analyze large data sets easily and build compelling visual stories that will provide the insights you need in your new advisory role.
To learn more about how PathQuest can revolutionize your accounting practice, connect with us for a free demo!