If you’re reading this then you’re probably an accountant or bookkeeper who’s also been reading blogs, listening to podcasts, and attending conferences about the AI and tech-driven changes rolling through the accounting profession.
You already decided (correctly) that you need to transform into a firm of the future, adopt new technologies instead of resisting them, and outsource routine work to machines while focusing on higher-value advisory opportunities. You won’t be making this transition alone and there are wonderful people and resources to help you along the way.
Still, it won’t be easy. Very much like a tech start-up you should outline your hypotheses about what your clients need, why you’re best positioned to help, and where you can apply your knowledge, skills and passion to make a difference.
Fortunately, you have a head start: an existing practice! This comes with advantages and assets you can leverage to build your advisory business. The first and most important one is your existing client relationships. Developing your hypothesis and then validating them with some clients will get you through the critical customer discovery and validation phases. (We’re big fans of Steve Blank’s The Four Steps to the Epiphany, which is mostly used by tech startups but could be used by just about everyone.)
Next take full advantage of your fluency with your clients’ accounting data. Realize how valuable and unique the knowledge and skills you’ve accrued really are. Some insanely talented business people don’t know the difference between basic accounting terms. Even more don’t appreciate the insights and learnings hidden inside their books. You do! You can tease them out, and then combine them with your intimate knowledge of your clients’ business to create stories when providing your clients advice.
Finally, there are many stories buried in dry-looking accounting data but which ones are you most passionate about telling? If you get most excited about building high quality sales streams, then you can use sales order histories to give clients new insights into their customers. For example, you could explore how new and repeat customers differ, what drives different lifetime values (LTV) across the customer base, and how much retaining customers contributes to a successful business. To back this up, a popular and well known Bain and HBS study from 30 years ago found that increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.
Other areas where almost all small business-to-business companies need help is understanding customer concentration risks, tracking changes in product sales mix, managing payment risks, and collecting on accounts receivables in effective and customer-friendly ways.
Our goal at Tally Street is to boost the advisory and controller services accounting and bookkeeping firms provide small businesses by surfacing the insights and learnings buried within sales data. By adopting technology like ours, advisors acquire an immediate, operationalized set of analyses to use across all B2B clients. We also provide these insights and results under your branding so you can share them directly with clients.
Please contact us to learn more.