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Fighting the commoditization of advice

It’s been a tumultuous year. Business owners are hyper-focused on monitoring their company’s health, knowing that keeping up to date on their resource management, payroll, accounts receivable and supply chains is pivotal not only to growth, but to survival. As 2020 (finally) draws to a close, your calendar is likely filling up with year-end (virtual) client meetings. This is a great opportunity to talk to your clients about services offered by your firm that aren’t just focused on compliance – but instead are looking out for the best interests of the business owner, specifically in a post-pandemic world.

Adopting technology – whether voluntarily or, more recently, to simply continue servicing clients –  has allowed many firms to develop new areas of expertise and differentiate their service offerings, adding strategic advisory services to complement their line-up of compliance-driven outputs that people typically associate with their advisors. These additions allow financial professionals to offer greater impact on the clients’ revenue-generating abilities and future potential, instead of just crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s.

A more prominent focus on advisory services has long been the goal of many professional advisors, but the enemy of this focus has been available time. Now is the perfect time to double down on this focus, because you can help solve a real client problem and set the tone for future advisory discussions that are undoubtedly on the horizon, if they haven’t started already.

Take advantage of your regular year-end meetings to communicate the impact that your specialized technical knowledge can have on their business. You are no longer a generalist simply offering compliance-related services; you are an advisory service with specific specializations in areas targeted to help these businesses monitor their health and grow sustainably. Firms that have been most successful in shifting to advisory services have advertised these offerings front-and-centre, sometimes ahead of their former bread-and-butter services like tax preparation.  Right now, you have a rare opportunity to increase your value and your revenue-generating potential.

Communicating your ability to provide targeted advisory services during year-end meetings is a chance to educate your clients on the strategic value you provide now, and how you are well-positioned to increase this value moving forward and support them well into the future. Accounting has become commoditized – and now is the time to push back against it.