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5 Tips on Building Your CAS Practice

Client Advisory Services (CAS) isn’t a new concept but has evolved tremendously over the last few years. From traditional accounting tasks such as bookkeeping, budgeting, and forecasting, to complex financial guidance, CPAs and Accounting Firms perform a plethora of accounting services for clients. What has changed, especially in recent times, is how we can automate advisory processes using tech, AI, and machine learning. CPA Practice Advisor covered this topic well in their recent roundtable discussion.

As trusted advisors, accountants can heavily influence the trajectory of their clients’ businesses. SMBs have realized this impact and are more keen than ever to hire a firm with a strong CAS practice they feel is a good fit for their business. In this blog, we’ll explore 5 tips to help you build and grow your CAS practice.

1. Understand Your Clients' Unique Industry

The foundation of a successful CAS practice lies in a deep understanding of your clients' businesses. To grow your business, taking on clients from various industries makes sense. However, for newer CAS firms, it is better to focus on a few specific industries your team is familiar with. Competing in fewer industries and performing better than the competition can give you an edge and help you capture a greater market share quickly.

The same can apply to larger CAS firms as well. If you see a drop in client retention and positive customer feedback, it may be a good idea to assess how your team is performing regarding different industries. You can always grow your team and expertise later to focus on SMBs in other industries.

Specializing in fewer industries also gives you an edge when it comes to offering unique or tailored services. We’ll talk more about this in the next tip.

2. Diversify Your Service Offerings

CAS is a broad spectrum of services, ranging from cash flow management to fractional/part-time CFO services. While it can serve you better to focus on fewer industries as mentioned above, you may feel growth is dependent on taking on more clients. However, growth can be achieved with your current pool of clients as well — diversifying your offerings within your specialized industries can be a great way to scale.

By proactively suggesting services beyond traditional accounting, such as technology implementation, industry benchmarking, and strategic planning, you can help your SMB clients grow - so that you can grow with them. In some cases, you may be able to help your clients using industry knowledge that goes beyond accounting advisory. The more comprehensive your service portfolio, the more indispensable you become to your clients.

3. Invest in Technology and Training

Embrace technological advancements that constantly reshape the accounting landscape. Accounting software such as QuickBooks, Xero, and Sage keep up with accounting trends in the cloud universe. But there are always new and upcoming tools that can help you get the most out of your SMB’s financial data.

For example, interVal ingests your SMB clients’ financial data and provides visualized benchmarked trends along with actionable insights. Having access to instantly-available automated discovery helps you save time and creates more growth opportunities for you and your clients. 

Investing in continuous training for yourself and your team helps you stay updated on the latest industry trends, tools, and best practices. Most training sessions are available as online resources such as videos, webpages, downloadable guides, etc. This ensures you provide the best available solutions that add substantial value to your clients.

4. Build Long-Term Relationships

CAS is an ongoing partnership, and fostering long-term relationships with your clients is paramount. The primary focus should be on consistently delivering high-quality advisory services. But regular check-ins with clients on a personal level can help you understand their stance on their business or industry, and potentially help you increase your reach and network. 

How often you touch base, and how you catch up with clients varies from one to another. But, there is one constant — building trust and rapport over time ensures loyalty and positions you as a valuable asset to their business.

5. Market Your CAS Expertise

Let the world know about your CAS offerings  — shout it from the rooftops on your social media pages and website. To remain competitive, you need to highlight case studies, success stories, and the value you've added to your clients' businesses. 

Position yourself as a thought leader in CAS through quantitative and measured victories. If you're new to the CAS world, you can outsource your marketing efforts initially so you can focus on advisory.

Build a Successful CAS Practice Through Effective Communication

Building a successful CAS practice requires a combination of the right tools, effective communication, and a commitment to your client's success. We’ve established that CAS is not just about crunching numbers and coming up with the best solutions. Effective communication plays an integral role in advisory. 

Develop strong communication skills to explain complex financial concepts in a way that resonates with your clients. Visualization tools have made it simpler for CPAs to explain their thought processes and suggestions. By helping your SMBs understand the implications of your findings and recommendations on their business, you also develop trust — a vital component of a successful CAS practice.