5 Small steps every accountant should take to become a trusted advisor

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“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with all of the new technology tools being  pitched to you and your practice? There are so many software programs and all of them promise to change your practice for the better. The industry is telling you to become a proactive advisor to your clients, but you need to figure out which tools to use, how to implement them, and how to figure out which clients need what services. And then to top it off, you are also supposed to switch from hourly fees to values based pricing. Whatever happened to good ol’ regular accounting where your clients gave you some stuff, you did LOTS of stuff, and everyone was happy?

Here is the big problem you could face, if you don’t become a proactive advisor, and get away from only doing hourly bookkeeping and tax work: You become a commodity. There are so many people who can offer bookkeeping and taxes, and only do that, and bring no value to the business. A small business owner may skip from one accountant to the next, just finding the best price, with no loyalty whatsoever, if you don’t offer then more than just hourly bookkeeping and taxes.

But if you embrace your role as their strategic advisor, you can shine and also re-invigorate yourself and your practice by  showing that you can make a difference in the success of a business and in the well-being of a business owner. At the end of the day, you are not only helping your clients grow their business, you are also supporting them succeeding at their dream, building a solid asset that can be build value for their whole family, and helping create a thriving community of successful small businesses. A rising tide lifts all boats!

While it may seem overwhelming to transition from a traditional accountant to an advisor, it can be done. All you have to do is break it down into small steps.

  1. Start with reaching out to one peer who has done it and ask her how she did it. A couple of our LivePlan Expert Advisors that are great examples for integrating LivePlan into their practice are: Robin Thieme, CEO of Kensington Business Solutions and Keith Bogard, CEO of Azendit Accounting
  2. Check out Doug Sleeter’s, Mr. Sleeter’s Neighborhood, and listen to their views on the industry and why they care about technology in the accounting industry. There is great information about what technology to use and why.
  3. Get certified in a cloud based accounting tool and try it on your practice, first. LivePlan is a great place to start. LivePlan offers free certification programs, and is ready to help you implement with your first 3 clients.
  4. Ask one client, whom you have a great relationship with, how you can help them in their business growth. Ask your clients how they feel about cash, pricing, large expenses coming up on the horizon. Help them identify where their business may be fiscally unsound so that you can help them figure out solutions. 
  5. Create one special service offering for that client and document how it goes with them. make sure that you offer the service on value base pricing and NOT hourly. You need to be able to pitch the value and then get a fixed fee for what you deliver in order to make the move to strategic advisor.

You don’t have to change everything about your practice today, but each day you should commit to making one small step in designing a business that truly reflects your unique strengths and will last for the long haul. If nothing else, start talking to your clients. Ask how many of them need “CFO’ like services. Ask how many of them struggle to grow and keep cash in the bank. Talk and find out what are the most common problems your clients face. Just this small step will help you reshape your business and become that strategic advisor.

Now we want to hear from you! What is one thing you will do today to build a practice that will allow you to demonstrate your unique gifts?

Danetha Doe is the President of Future of Accounting
LivePlan Expert Advisor
Twitter: @danethadoe


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Danetha Doe

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