Businesses are now expecting accountants to take over the role of their tested advisory. While ‘30 percent of small businesses place accountants at the top of their list of trusted advisors (ICAS)’, ‘70 percent of small-business accountants see their advisory roles becoming more strategic (PayPie)’.
Accounting to advisory: What has changed
The new tech-age accountants are already leveraging technology by using automation and cloud-based software to handle the day-to-day repetitive tasks. Even clients are now hunting for more proactive accounting services that excel in benchmarking and can offer valuable advice to achieve those benchmarks through revenue growth, forecasting, and other advisory services. Clients now want to invest more in building strategic relationships with their accountants that can increase the value of their businesses.
So, what has really changed?
While the core accounting functions remain the same the need for advisory services that align with the existing services has risen. Some of the advisory services clients are investing in include:
- Tax simulation
- Wealth management and financial planning
- Monitoring KPIs
- Assigning Company secretarial duties
- Company restructuring
- Forensic accounting
- Accounting insolvency
- IT Audit
- Take notice of GDPR(General Data Protection Regulation)
- Act as Virtual CFO of the company
- Risk management and assurance
- Accountants with knowledge of data analytics
How to be effective as an Advisor:
Advisory roles aren’t totally new and they somehow align with the traditional accounting practices. However, they can be mainly divided into three main roles:
- Analytical roles
- Client-dealing roles
- Technical Accounting roles
While having complete knowledge about one’s profession is always great, knowing your strengths and working on them is always a wise choice. Accounting firms that are under transformation need to recognize the talents of their Accountants and assign roles accordingly. Each advisory role is different, however, each role is interdependent.
Analytical role deals with studying data and using the available insights and aggregate it into financial reports to strategize business expenses. Some of these roles include IT Audit, Monitoring KPIs, Benchmarking, etc.
Client-dealing roles involve using this data to take on roles that directly deal with the client to assist them with wealth management, financial planning, and risk management.
Technical Accounting roles deal mainly with the legal aspects of accounting and accountants in this role are tasked with putting together policy documents for the business.
Moving on to new advisory roles isn’t an easy step to take and to start off with, Accountants( or firms) need to take over advisory roles for themselves and plan out the process by setting realistic goals.
Training and Development
While Accountants and Accounting firms may be considered to be already too equipped, a transformation to advisory services needs a serious mindset shift and sheer determination to learn new things. Also, a lack of immediate success shouldn’t demotivate them. Get yourself enrolled in training and development programs, participate in webinars, and learn from more experienced professionals in the field.
While technology can take over the repetitive Accounting tasks, it can also free up enough time to let you get involved with your client’s advisory services. While you learn new things, implement them on a daily basis to gain confidence, experience, and trust of your employer.
Accounting is an ever-evolving profession and adaptability has alone helped humans to learn that it’s all about the survival of the fittest. So, don’t wait and sit back for an opportunity to knock on your door instead take the first step and grab every opportunity as you grow further.