Client needs are changing and your product and service offering will need to continue to evolve.
Clients are demanding more value, transparency, real-time data, forward-looking advice, and accountants with business nous.
Be their strategic advisor and help your clients to meet their personal and business goals. Know what they will need before they ask for it. This will position you for growth and succession.
Listen to My Client and Me podcast series, which examines the working relationship between CPA Australia public practitioners and their clients.
- Client relationship management is key: Focus on adding value and problem solving
- Allow clients the option to meet their financial obligations digitally
- Allow clients to access their information instantaneously
- Explore ways to network better
- Improve your ability to refer
See also; what you need to know about client engagement documentation.
While services such as bookkeeping and tax returns will be affected by technology and the change programs of regulators, new regulations regarding the provision of financial advice, the ageing population and demand from educated clients for business advisory services will help to drive the evolution of your product offering.
Plan for a reduction in compliance work and be open to expanding your service offering. Opportunities exist in aged care, life planning, financial advice and the restructuring space.
The traditional time-based billing model for service pricing looks at service, cost, price and the client, and excludes any judgement of value delivered. Traditional time-based pricing may devalue the services you are providing and puts a ceiling on your earning potential. While the time-based model helps ensure you recover the costs of providing the service, it may mean that the client is not able to appreciate the true value of the engagement.
Value pricing, where prices are set primarily but not exclusively on the value to the client, is an alternative pricing model. Value pricing can deliver higher margins and more satisfied clients, allowing firms to increase their profitability and productivity. Value pricing, however, is not without its problems. The value is set from the perceived value to the client and this can be difficult to determine.
A good strategy is to develop a flexible pricing model with a range of pricing options, depending on the level of service the client wants.
Showing reasonable care
Not every client is a good client, and accepting what a client says without question can make accountants liable to a range of adverse claims and reputational damage.
Referring clients is a fundamental part of a practitioner's risk management and can add value to a practice.
Client relationship management
The relationship you have with your clients is fundamental to the value of the firm. Getting to know and understand your client will help you be of service to them and to assist them on their journey. Use the below guides to help you better engage with your clients.
Specialising can be an important driver of success when done well. It allows firms to build on their areas of expertise and become more efficient. Specialising can achieve greater outcomes for clients and help practitioners remain relevant in an era of digital disruption, particularly in such areas as self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs), business planning, financial services, and technology. The marriage of the restructuring and turnaround profession with the insolvency profession will also provide opportunities for practitioners to apply their skills in the restructuring space.