“I have found it extremely rewarding to learn these new skills and work with clients in a much more collaborative way.”

The challenge

Scaling and selling advisory services

Ipsum has been providing strategic business advice to small business clients for years. Director Billy Lacey knew that with the right tools and processes in place, his team could deliver these services more efficiently and that a scalable process would lead to increased profits.

“We've always worked closely with our clients beyond just the end-of-season compliance work, but we didn't really have the system, scale, or toolkit to be able to do this efficiently,” he says.

Part of the problem had to do with software. Their reporting solution delivered great insights, but wasn't always easy to use. On top of that, the Ipsum team needed a more streamlined method for delivering advisory services.

Packaging and pricing services were particularly challenging. For example, unexpected problems—such as errors with the client's accounting system—made it difficult to prevent scope-creep that could chip away at the firm's profits.

Picture of employee at Ipsum

The LivePlan Method solution

A system and software that help firms scale

The team at Ipsum first discovered LivePlan while searching online for financial forecasting tools that integrated with Xero. After a bit of research Billy soon realized that LivePlan could help Ipsum deliver better advisory services.

“We didn't really have the system, scale, or toolkit to be able to do work beyond compliance efficiently.”

“One of the biggest things that struck me about LivePlan was the LivePlan Method that you could roll out,” says Billy. “With the marketing and service packages available in the training program, you can build to scale very quickly.“

How Ipsum Advisors works with clients

Ipsum reduced scope-creep and improved efficiency by creating three levels of Strategic Advising packages, using resources from the LivePlan Method training program. This provides the client with the exact level of consulting they need, while allowing Ipsum to deliver a more streamlined product with a strong profit margin.

“It's a win-win for everyone,” says Billy.

Onboarding the client and setup

Ipsum first gives a new advisory client some initial insights into their business by connecting their accounting software to LivePlan.

“We present to them a topline position in an easy-to-understand format, showing things such as key ratios, cash flow, and all other great outputs that LivePlan provides,” says Billy.

“With the marketing and service packages available in The LivePlan Method training program, you can build to scale very quickly.”

Ipsum's team also helps the client set goals so they can track performance in real-time through the software. And then, depending on the package, Ipsum may also provide business planning and financial forecasting services.

Billy says that if a client selects a full-service package, his team will spend about seven to eight hours setting up the client's account and assisting with business planning.

“This time is invaluable with the client, as it often uncovers improvements they need to make in their accounting systems to get better output,” he says. “We can then help with this part too.”

Ipsum employees helping each other

Ongoing advisory services

After the setup phase, Ipsum helps clients track their financial plan against their actuals in LivePlan, so they can make the best possible business decisions.

“It's a win-win for everyone.”

The client gets regular financial reports and advice to help them understand their numbers. Ipsum's highest pricing tier, Peak Performance, includes one-on-one business coaching, more comprehensive forecasting and other services.

“We use the LivePlan outputs to provide a much neater and interactive way to present the financial picture of their business to them,” says Billy. “Many of the clients that we've helped along the way now have a better understanding of cost in their business and where they are spending their money.”

How Ipsum sells advisory services

Ipsum offers clients three tiers of advisory service packages, plus add-ons like private business coaching. These services are built around a monthly recurring value-based pricing system, which makes them easier to scale.

Billy says offering advisory with LivePlan is an “easy sell” once you learn how to use it.

But unlike compliance work, advisory services require a more proactive sales effort—and that’s where the LivePlan Method training really helped Ipsum.

“Many of our clients now have a better understanding of where they are spending their money.”

“You need to learn the software and then go to the client and give them a taste of advisory,” Billy says.

And to ensure they delivered the best product possible, Ipsum initially offered several clients six months of free advisory services in order to do practice work, commonly called a pilot project.

“This helped us test it out in the trenches, learn from our mistakes, and get some terrific client feedback to help us on our journey,” says Billy.

Right now, Ipsum is focused mainly on offering advisory services to their existing clients. But Billy says they plan to expand on this as they train more of their staff on how to use LivePlan.

Group photo of workers from Ipsum

The result

Added revenue for Ipsum, added value for clients

Ipsum was able to add between $50,000 and $60,000 AUD in their first year of using LivePlan. Billy says he's thrilled with that result.

But the real benefits of the LivePlan Method go beyond added revenue.

“LivePlan has challenged us to think outside the box, and improve our skills and expertise.”

“LivePlan has really challenged us to think outside the box, not to be afraid of taking on new challenges, and, ultimately, ensuring we can improve our usefulness to our clients by improving our skills and expertise,” says Billy.

With those new-found skills, many of Ipsum's clients now think of the firm as their “external fully-functional tax and finance team.”

“Personally, I have found it extremely rewarding to learn these new skills and work with clients in a much more collaborative way,” Billy says.

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