Packaging Accounting Services
You have to change more than services to attract clients. Accounting firms are like any complicated machine; changes in one place will invariably affect performance in other areas. New services must be matched with changes in brand perception, client relationships, and even changes in mindset.
As you transform your firm into offering higher tiers of service, knowing the value of your services becomes key. That includes the value of service to clients, as well as their value to your practice. If you want to package an accounting service that clients want to buy, then you need to know client need. And that’s much simpler when you have the skills and tools appropriate for the job.
Value for Growth
Firms which develop a business consulting service may initially discover only marginal changes in revenue. Sales revenue is too narrow a criterion for measuring growth, especially if you’re trying to develop value-driven, trust-based client relationships. This type of growth is better measured in metrics like client conversion, customer retention, and customer acquisition costs.
When changing between new technologies and skill sets, it’s important to change your mindset as well. The mindset which served CPAs in the past may not necessarily serve them in the future. While CPAs are used to thinking strictly in terms of hourly billing, and are used to having much of their advice taken with the seriousness of a physician, consultancy is different.
A New Mindset
A consultancy mindset is about being able to provide unique solutions for client problems. It’s about developing a better understanding of client business processes, learning to better analyze the data for insight, and communicating what potential value you’ve discovered for clients in a compelling way. In short, it’s about looking for any step you can take to make a client’s life a little easier.
Of course, there’s a gap between believing you can help, and getting a client to listen your advice. Creating services that have pull on your clients requires you change your mindset to pursue value-first, allowing you a more objective way to put yourself in a client’s shoes. It’s about changing the way you think about the services you provide, and why those services are worth what they are.
This change in mindset is further involved in making a successful shift from billing hourly to billing based on added value. It’s a change that needs to be felt within internal communications, as you help your peers understand the greater significance of each incremental change. It’s a change that affects your marketing in the way you want others to perceive your brand. And it’s this value-oriented mindset that’s helps to guide and redefine client relationships in support of consultancy.
Skills for Successful Consulting
Consultants have to determine what to charge, but they also have to convince clients of the value of their service. Packaging an enticing service within a consulting business model requires two skills. The first is the ability to define, package, and name a service.
Packaging is about communicating precisely what you can provide, which becomes almost trivially simple once you thoroughly understand the benefits of your service. What kind of unique value proposition do you offer to clients? Supported with the appropriate data and analysis, packaging is simply about communicating a quantifiable representation of the value you can provide for a client.
Once you’ve packaged one type of service to one type of client, the next skill you need is the ability to scale those packages to different sizes, and make those services adjustable to different types of clients. What gravitates businesses to accept consultancy is your unique value proposition, how you can accommodate diverse business needs, and what you do that your competitor can’t.
With a menu of services, proven packaging, and pricing strategies, the process of matching clients with services becomes far simpler, allowing you to improve cash flow while reducing time losses to WIP and accounts receivable.
Even tools once believed to be essential to accounting will eventually go the way of the abacus.
For accountants and their clients alike, keeping up with the most relevant tools is a concern of any growing business. And as a firm expands into new sectors, and as technology becomes more sophisticated, it’s important to regularly reevaluate your toolset, relative to your objectives.
This is particularly true for firms packaging accounting services, and want to develop relationships with client-facing features. With improved efficiency and more opportunities to search for client value, it’s tools like that which best equip CPAs to enter the world of consultancy. And that’s an excellent starting point for drafting a unique value proposition.