How To Pivot To Selling Advisory Services

Published by maccount on

How To Pivot To Selling Advisory Services

CPA firms are in a tough spot. They need more ways to make money. The industry has known for a long time about the need to switch to higher value services. The reason is simple – you get better margins on higher value services than traditional “transaction-focused” services like bookkeeping or simple accounting. Remember, customers themselves are willing to pay more for services that they value.

At the same time, the pressure is on from the other end. AI and automation are taking up all the low value work, so there’s a dwindling supply of bread-and-butter type of jobs, which forces firms to look elsewhere.

There is no commonly accepted term for advisory services. In CPA circles, people mean lots of different things when they talk about advisory. Generally, they are services that come in the form of guidance and expertise, designed to help clients make informed decisions. Some of the areas in which CPA firms sell advisory services include:

  • HR (recruitment/hiring/employee development)
  • IT (risk and compliance)
  • Business consulting
  • Financial planning and analysis
  • Payroll
  • Strategy planning
  • Business leader coaching

What advisory means to us

Let’s get specific about what we at Accsurant mean when we talk about advisory services. We think advisory is more like strategy consulting. Within this specialized field of professional advice, experts like us offer guidance to clients on how to achieve specific goals. It goes beyond broad observations, diving into detailed analysis, identifying current and future opportunities and challenges, and making tailored recommendations.

What could this look like? Often, it’s about taking a look at your financial records and using our expertise in industry benchmarking, applying financial modeling and trend analysis to uncover insights about your performance.

But isn’t that management consulting?

Management consulting focuses on the big picture, aiming to improve the company’s overall health and performance. Strategy consulting, on the other hand, is a more focused approach, zeroing in on specific goals, and working to devise particular strategies.

Organizations often turn to strategy consulting when significant decisions are on the line. Experts like us offer research-driven, objective insights on crucial matters such as enhancing performance, gaining a competitive edge, or increasing revenue.

Strategy consulting is about honing in on the details to guide an organization’s critical choices, acting as a vital tool when stakes are high and precise, data-backed direction is required.

Incorporate operational data as well as financial data

Our advice doesn’t simply concentrate on financial data. It’s crucial to include operational data in your analysis. Operational data are numerical indicators that measure a company’s performance in specific areas. These metrics offer a snapshot of key processes. Think of a fundamental task like drawing up financial statements or preparing tax returns. It’s about assessing how efficiently and effectively the company carries out these tasks.

Both financial metrics and operational metrics are vital tools for evaluating performance. They work in tandem, allowing you to keep an eye on your finances while having a view of the overall efficiency of your operations.

Upcoming reading

Strategic advisory is the way forward for CPA firms. In the coming weeks, we will be producing a range of articles focused on how to launch advisory services in your firm. Some of the topics include:

  • What kind of tools do you need to combine operational and financial data?
  • How do you choose which clients would benefit from strategic consulting services?
  • How might you bundle consulting services with more traditional offerings?

With automation and AI, self-service is the next big thing. Many accounting firms are moving into selling advisory services. They have to do this because they realize they have no choice if they are to survive. Knowing the best way forward will separate your firm from the rest.


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Yann Beaullan-Thong

Yann Beaullan-Thong

Yann is Accsurant’s president. With 20 years experience and six different technology startups behind him, Yann has a proven track record in developing innovative solutions based on his technology and financial acumen.