Building Business Advisory Capability in the Digital Age

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The digital world is driving fundamental change in how we work across all business sectors, and accounting is no exception. While compliance and bookkeeping remain the focus, technological efficiencies have prompted a new way of working and the opportunity to offer a new set of services to clients.

Accountants are becoming specialists in many new areas of business and customers are welcoming this broader support. In fact, our small business customers often tell me they want their accountant to provide more wide-ranging strategic advice.

Understandably, in my role, business advisory has become a key topic and I seek to expand my understanding. So, I recently spoke with one of our new accounting customers Chris Hooper, CEO of Accodex. Chris and his team offer a business advisory service in his multi-national and agnostic firm.

Chris told me that while compliance work is not going away any time soon, there’s no doubt the accounting service offering is moving toward growth advisory. He added that business advisory has risen because the value-added nature of the work produces positive client outcomes.

In Chris’ words, “Accountants are already well positioned for this type of work given they are fluent in the language of business. In my opinion the first step is to invest in additional training for partners and staff in order to deliver this service. Personally, I went so far as to do an MBA to better position myself for this work.”

You can find out more about the future of accounting and how to build a firm that thrives by attending Chris’ session at QuickBooks Connect Sydney.

Here are my top three tips on how to build business advisory capability in the digital age:

Move to the cloud

To improve business operations, you must move to the cloud and mobile. Cloud accounting software reduces the time needed to pull data, crunch numbers and complete simple tasks. This helps accountants to more easily analyse and interpret data, develop high quality reports, and increase the level of detail and insights they provide the customer.

Moving to the cloud also enables accountants to work from wherever they want, whether it’s the beach or the bus. In fact, more than ever before, accountants embracing newer technologies, like the cloud, will find they can optimise their day and improve efficiencies.

Adopt new ways of marketing

Word-of-mouth and traditional advertising are no longer enough to build and maintain a strong business in today’s digital world. Increasingly, accountants and bookkeepers are recognising the need to build their firm’s presence via digital and social channels, and also harness the power of content marketing.

Find your niche

Small businesses tell us that tax and compliance are a minefield and two key reasons they are prompted to seek an accountant or bookkeeper. While keeping abreast of the latest legislative changes is vital - I also encourage accountants to also stay on top of emerging industry issues and opportunities like the rise in cross-border e-commerce.

To get ahead and offer broader support to customers, accountants and bookkeepers must embrace technology or risk being left behind as more nimble competitors seize the opportunity.
The reality is that a growing number of small business customers are in search of a strategic partnership from their accountants which is a topic we’ll explore in detail at our first ever QuickBooks Connect Sydney on 18 May. Do use this promotional code to receive a 20% discount when you register and I look forward to seeing you there: GROW http://quickbooksconnect.com/au/

 

 

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