[IMGCAP(1)]Accountants are best known for doing taxes, but that perception undersells the potential value of the client-accountant relationship. By focusing on tax preparation capabilities, clients have a very limited, transactional view of what their accountants are capable of providing to their small businesses.
The reality is that accountants can offer so much more to their clients than just doing taxes. With tax season over, it is the perfect time for accountants to promote all of the valuable services they can provide clients to keep their visibility up beyond April 15th. It is time for accountants to reap the benefits of providing more than just tax preparation services to their clients, by offering add-on services of which clients may not even be aware. Expanding their practice’s suite of services not only increases a firm’s revenue streams, but it also allows an accountant to be less dependent on the stressful tax season to achieve their fiscal goals.
Develop business plans
Too often, business owners have a great idea for a product or service, but no clue how to manage the everyday needs of their business to realize their vision. The solution: work with your clients at every stage of their growth to develop and refine strategic business plans. Accountants can help their clients determine tangible and strategic business goals, develop go-to-market strategies and find ways to make operations and management more efficient for both the financial health of the business and to save time. By developing an easy-to-follow plan to achieve key milestones, an accountant can help small-business clients grow their business intelligently – and allow them to focus more of their attention on the unique strengths they bring to the business.
Manage cash flows and inventory
Business owners often don’t even realize how much potential for improvement exists with their cash flow and inventory management. By outlining a tangible way to help a business owner improve cash flow, even in industries with unpredictable income streams, an accountant can ensure their client’s business can minimize payment issues and capitalize on unexpected opportunities for growth.
For accountants, the key to being able to offer cash flow management services to clients is a dynamic financial dashboard. A few cloud-based professional accounting systems offer the ability to import and synthesize various inputs, including bank feeds, and translate that trove of data into meaningful visuals and trends. Top-tier dashboards also provide client snapshots, which let you quickly review essential statistical and financial information for all your clients in summary form. With a few simple clicks of your mouse, you can now provide cash flow guidance to many small-business clients.
Inventory management can also be problematic for business owners. Accountants can draw on their knowledge of busy and slow seasons that are reflected in the company’s financials to help manage inventory. They can help businesses identify what materials and products are crucial to have on hand at all times and in the amounts that are sustainable and practical for the business. By analyzing the company’s numbers and applying that knowledge to inventory management, an accountant can help their client maximize outputs while reducing the need to offload excessive inventory down the road.
Offer payroll processing
Accountants may not normally be thought of when it comes to payroll processing, but they should be. Accountants already provide the clearest insight into vital financial data for their clients, so managing payroll processing and compliance is a natural extension of the client-accountant relationship. Using a cloud-based solution with the power to automate processing and compliance makes it easy for both parties to deepen and benefit from the relationship and ensures the client will be paid correctly, on time, every time. For accountants, offering payroll services to existing clients is an easy, low-overhead way to bring in more money each month.
Accountants can make more money by expanding their practices to offer more comprehensive services for their clients.By listening to client needs and helping with more than just taxes, accountants can help their clients earn and keep more money, while making themselves indispensable.
Chandra Bhansali is cofounder and CEO of AccountantsWorld.
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