The Path to Advisory: Planning your advisory workflow

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Note: Many thanks to the Intuit® Tax Council for their guidance in putting together this article and for their input on “The Path to Advisory.” See editor’s note to download the guide.

Mapping your advisory workflow is the key to recognizing gaps and opportunities for automation and client collaboration. Every firm will have different details in its process, but the goal is to standardize the process.

Scott Sloan says, “Standardizing workflow is the key for us to be productive so that we can serve our clients well. We put every single step of the service engagement in a Trello card which makes it easy to check off as we go and provide quality control for our team.”

The components of your core advisory workflow

The core five segments

  1. Invoicing
  2. Onboarding
  3. Evaluation/Analysis
  4. Guidance
  5. Action

Component intervals

  • Invoicing happens at the beginning of the engagement and continues at regular monthly intervals for most engagements.
  • Onboarding happens next to kick off the engagement and gathers all relevant information.
  • Steps 3-5 happen in a repeat cycle as your engagement continues.

Within each stage, there is generally a dance between:

  • Tasks your firm does.
  • Tasks the client needs to do.
  • Tasks you do together (meetings).

Each firm will have different processes within its workflow and slightly different workflows for each advisory offering, but the process segments are universal.

Supporting software

You can find a tool to support almost every stage in your workflow. Following is a list of tools recommended by the Tax Council.

John Jordan leverages Practice Ignition templates to create proposals for tax plans and other services. “It showcases our brand and makes the client onboarding easier and faster for us and clients. It allows clients to review our proposal, sign the engagement letter, and enter their payment information all in one place.”

Scott Sloan recommends, “We engage directly with clients using all our cloud apps like QuickBooks Online, Slack, Google Suite and other apps. We connect some apps using Zapier to eliminate data entry. It feels like we are in the same office with our clients.”

Invoicing, proposals and onboarding



This segment is about the application of your expertise and sharing that information with the client. Thus, tools might include presentation software, client friendly reports, and virtual meeting tools.


This step is what the client needs to do, but you can offer tools to help them complete your advisory recommendations, such as forms, worksheets, and other helpful tools.

Editor’s note: This article is a small part of a whitepaper, “The Path to Advisory,” that can be downloaded and used extensively in your firm. The PDF includes checklists, charts, and many other activities that could not be included in this article. Download it today. There is also an Executive Summary available for download.

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