“The most important thing to get into business advisory is to have better conversations with your client.”
This is what Smithink director David Smith said about the belief that advisory software is the key to offering business advisory services.
In the 5th annual ATSA Technology Survey, the firm evaluated nine separate categories of business advisory software and found out the significant increase in its uptake among the respondents. According to the research, integration of software to assist in cash flow and budgeting rose from its incorporation in 55 per cent of firms in 2014 to more than 70 percent in 2015, with scenario planning and business planning software now incorporated in over 50 per cent of firms.
Smith, however, was skeptic about the motives and intentions behind the increased usage of this software. According to him, “a lot of accountants buy the software because they think that’s the answer for them to get into business advisory.” He also believes that the inability of some accountants to separate these new service offerings from compliance work led them to such belief.
“The rest of the business, the tax accounting and compliance business, doesn’t require the same level of engagement with the client. To be frank with you, some accountants don’t have the confidence to have those types of conversations at that deeper level with the client,” he added.
Moreover, he elaborates how accountants should “get used to having these regular conversations with your client at a much deeper level” because this is how you earn their trust. He supports a model within which the accountant acts as the first port of call for the client, pointing them in the direction of a specialist adviser after identifying the key issues, similar to a general practitioner. “If you can help a client deal with the emotional concerns that they’ve got with their business or their personal finances, and you can actually get in there and help them solve that, you’ll get a client for life,” Smith said.
Smithink provides a wide variety of consulting services and educational events, tools and resources under the one roof.
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