In these difficult times, businesses are looking for ways to get as much value as possible for their dollar. As a CPA, you have credibility in the eyes of your existing clients. Utilize that credibility to help your clients grow their own businesses while you strengthen and grow your own.
Your clients need financial help with more than just their taxes– a lot more. Besides day-to-day financial issues and decisions that need to be made, there are strategies, loans, valuations, technology decisions, and many others. Below is a sample list of the types of value-added services you can offer your clients, depending on your strengths and interests.
- Business compliance
- Bank loan application preparation
- Business valuation
- Cash flow management
- Strategic business planning
- New business formulation
- Small business bookkeeping
- Part-time CFO
- Accounting technology guidance and management
Consider developing a well-defined advisory service plan. You already do it – answering those “quick questions” the client calls with or giving the client some critical advice when you see opportunities while completing their taxes. How much is that advice worth to them? That which is obvious to you and takes you 5 minutes to explain is not obvious to them. If you save them $25,000 with those 5 minutes of advice, how much is that worth to them? If you’ve prevented them from being audited or helped them avoid penalties for non-compliance, how much is that worth to them? You deserve to get paid for that critical advice.
Your advisory services plan could include several different levels, from the basics of starting a company up to part-time CFO. You know your clients. Start by defining two or three levels of service, then adjust as you talk more deeply with your clients about their needs and how you can help them.
But remember, your clients don’t know what they don’t know. The best way to help them see where they need help may be to offer free seminars on critical areas that you consistently see impacting the profitability or performance of your client base or business niche. Include information in the presentation that explains the issues and gives them some solutions that they can immediately apply. However, be sure to include additional aspects that would be more easily handled by a professional (you).
Taking this approach builds your credibility as an expert, provides your audience with some immediate fixes that they can do for free, and opens up the lines of communication to discuss with a broader client base how you can help them. It’s a win-win.
In summary, take these steps to grow your practice:
- Think about the kinds of work you like to do and your areas of expertise.
- Evaluate the problems you think your clients have that you can help with – you may want to do a survey and offer some incentive to those who help you.
- See where your interests and the clients’ needs intersect and create a short list of added services. For advisory services, determine two or three levels with clearly listed services and pricing included in each level.
- Begin to offer your services to your clients.
- Consider offering podcasts, newsletters, or seminars at networking events, public libraries, or conferences to make business owners and officers aware of the issues and where they can go to get help.