An Accountant’s Guide to Strategic Advising Services for Small Businesses
Posted Kathy Gregory
Strategic advising is a specific type of small business advising service. It focuses on lean business planning, financial forecasting, and monthly financial performance tracking. In the accounting profession, it fits within the umbrella of client advisory services (CAS).
What differentiates strategic advising from other client advisory services is its focus on planning and iterative forecasting as the primary means of measuring and driving small business growth. It isn’t enough to rely on month-end reporting when you’re trying to help a small business achieve its goals. Not even month-end results analysis or key performance indicators are sufficient. It also isn’t enough to focus on tax planning alone.
Real growth, or change, requires comprehensive planning and forecasting. And it requires one more critical step: adjustment.
The way to keep your small business clients on their path to success is to regularly measure against the plan, and then immediately adjust the forecast. This is because nothing ever really goes as planned. Day-to-day business life will always bring change, and those changes have an impact on the next best actions the business should take to stay on track.
In other words, it’s the realization, reaction, and associated adjustments to the forecast (the course corrections) that keep your small business owners on track.
All large businesses forecast. It’s how they develop actionable plans to achieve their goals. And it’s how they track the progress of those goals. Small businesses need the same type of discipline to achieve their goals. And that’s why strategic advising is so very critical within the umbrella of client advisory services.
The links that follow are a guide to implementing and growing your firm’s strategic advising practice. Think of each article as a chapter in the full story of providing comprehensive Strategic Advising for Your Small Business Clients.
For in-depth training, visit our online learning program; The LivePlan Method for Strategic Advising. It’s a step-by-step program, which you can complete online and at your own pace.
Industry and small biz stats
What small businesses want from accountants and advisors
We know the accounting industry is growing to place emphasis on non-compliance services. New technology is pushing this evolution at a faster and faster pace. At the same time, small business customers are hungry for strategic advising—this is especially true in the LivePlan and Bplans ecosystem.
Setting up your firm to offer strategic advising
The Road to Strategic Advising Services and Developing Your Process
Setting-up your practice to succeed in strategic advising means understanding the work, having a repeatable and scalable process to execute it, and pricing it right. Fundamental to this is establishing your process and implementing your workflow.
This article offers a look into why processes matter for scale and profit, and also highlights our process, The LivePlan Method for Advisory Services.
Productize Your Advisory Services for Easier Sales and Maximum Profit
Strategic Advising is better for you and your clients when you offer it via bundled services. Read how to package and price your strategic advising services for easier sales and maximum profit.
Understanding the work of strategic advising
Planning Is a Key Advisory Service—Keep It Personal!
Understanding your client’s business on a deeper level, and creating a lean plan is a critical piece of your advisory work. It sets the stage for a solid financial forecast. Learn the best way to do lean planning for strategic advising.
Financial Forecasting: The Foundation of Strategic Advising
Building a solid financial forecast will be the bedrock of your advisory service. Learn how to build it based on your clients’ goals and their historical data, and how it evolves over time.
How to Prepare and Conduct A Strategic Advising Client Meeting
The monthly advisory meeting is where it all comes together. Learn a system for scale, efficiency, and a more effective client meeting.
Getting started with clients
3 Ways to Get Started With Strategic Advising
Having trouble getting started? Here are three easy ways to begin strategic advising services with your clients.
Growing Businesses Want Strategic Help From LivePlan Expert Advisors
We’ve built a community of professionals certified in offering strategic advising with LivePlan: Expert Advisors, and we host an online directory where small businesses already in our ecosystem can find you. Read more about that program here.