Advisory Services Vertical
Advisory Services Vertical

4 reasons to add Advisory to your practice

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The accounting profession has been seeing a shift over the last several years where firms are moving away from compliance and leaning into providing advisory services year-round. This shift has been spearheaded by customers wanting more guidance and financial support from their tax professionals instead of only a tax return once a year. In fact, according to Intuit’s 2022 Taxpayer Insights & Intelligence Brief, 83% of taxpayers would rather work with a tax professional who can give tax advice throughout the year.

As individuals continue to yearn for more guidance, whether that be in everyday life, or through life changes, working circumstances, or finances, it can be in the tax professionals’ best interest to offer additional services to help support their clients. There is a multitude of reasons you should consider offering advisory services to your firm.

Reason 1: You’ll have a stronger relationships with clients

By offering advisory services at your firm, you are moving away from the tax return model, where you only talk to clients once a year, and creating an open line of communication to ensure clients meet their financial goals. As a result, you build a stronger relationship that is equally beneficial and helps both parties reach their ultimate goals.

With a stronger relationship, you will see clients continuously come back to you for more. If you only offer tax returns, the loyalty isn’t being built and clients won’t feel as inclined to stay year over year. If you offer advisory services, you are meeting with clients regularly to discuss their goals, the roadmap to get there, and everything in between. Clients will be excited to talk with regularity to learn about how you are helping them save money to buy their dream house or be able to afford college for their kids. Whatever it may be, you are there every step of the way.

Once you build a strong relationship with your clients, you will be a trusted advisor for them, and they will be more likely to recommend you to friends and family to grow your business. 

Reason 2: You’ll be a trusted advisor

Following the pandemic and looking forward, everyone wants a guide in their corner to help them with financial decisions. By offering advisory services, you are able to share more of your expertise to help clients make a personalized plan for their specific goals, and build your business in these uncertain economic times. All the knowledge and insights you have aren’t being used to their capacity when you’re only working on tax returns. You want to be able to flex those advisory muscles, and show off the knowledge you have and how it helps your clients.

The last few years have taught us that when we experience uncertainty, it is extremely beneficial to have a trusted advisor to help lay out options and the best way forward. When you make the switch to advisory services, you will be a consistent guiding light and the one they will likely trust to ensure their financial goals are met.

As a trusted advisor, you may be able to implement a more technology-first mindset to make interactions easier for clients who aren’t in the same area, while creating a better workflow for your firm by adopting new technologies to help.

Reason 3: Streamline workflow through technology

Following the last few years, taxpayers are attracted to a more flexible tax firm and one offering robust technologies. When making the switch, it’s important to look into tools that can assist you internally as well. For example, Intuit® ProConnect™ Tax can streamline your workflow from start to finish with the flexibility and security of the cloud. You can also explore add-on offerings that offer personalized tax strategies for clients bringing tax and advisory together, including e-signature. The Taxpayer Insights & Intelligence Brief found 66% of taxpayers expect to sign tax documents electronically, benefitting the tax professional and the client in saving time, so the focus is on what counts most: the financial outcome.

If you decide advisory services are right for your firm, there are an array of technological offerings that can help you internally and externally. Find the right fit for you by exploring everything there is to offer in the profession, including cloud technologies, so you can help serve your clients from anywhere. Technology is meant to assist us, not replace us, and make us more valuable. It can help with adopting new tech and helping deliver personalized presentations for clients to understand their current status and the roadmap to reach their goals. Inside your firm, you can automate an area such as compliance, so you can focus more of your time energy on advisory services and less on compliance work–what’s most meaningful. 

Once you create a stronger relationship as a trusted advisor and create a better workflow with technology, you will start to see the road to financial growth for you and your clients.

Reason 4: Financial benefits in the long run

Implementing advisory services is not an overnight flip of the switch, which is why Intuit Accountants created the Path to Advisory. It is a process that starts with looking at your firm and deciding if it makes the most sense for you and your clients. Once you make that decision, you can start the process of introducing it to them and showcasing the benefits.

Once your firm has fully adapted advisory services and has multiple clients on board, you will start to see the positive outcomes. You are no longer providing advice for free to clients who just have “one quick question.” Instead, you can provide smart, actionable advice and goals for them to achieve. Once they see the difference between an annual tax return and a trusted advisor who can consistently guide them on financial planning, they will fully invest in the process. After building that foundation, you will see that there are a lot more clients who are willing to pay for your services. While making the switch is a process, it is beneficial to both parties in the end. You’ll help clients save money and you’ll get paid for the advice you give.

At the end of the day, there are many reasons you should consider offering advisory services at your firm. Don’t be afraid to jump in because it seems like a daunting process. Take it one day at a time, and start by doing your research and discovering the benefits your firm will reap from making the switch.

Editor’s note: Be sure to read this profile of Kristen Keats and her role as a member of the Intuit® Tax Council. This article was originally published by the CPA Practice Advisor.

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