For the past 20 years, accountants have debated the merits of providing clients with analyses and graphs regarding past performance. Sad to say, some accountants devote more energy to debating whether to charge clients than in actually providing the services they need.
Irrespective of this, many clients do not attribute much benefit to the compliance documents prepared by their accountant.
A client that the accountant believes to be loyal, may potentially be staying with them through perceived barriers to change and the absence of a ready alternative.
For a range of reasons, many clients are unaware of other areas of their financial affairs that require attention. This is compounded by the natural reticence of many accountants to raise issues outside of the services that clients have specifically requested. This can leave the client meandering along in a financial twilight zone.
The danger is that if they are not receiving a total solution through their accountant’s auspices, clients will ultimately source services from elsewhere. In doing so, clients will inevitably have a diminished view of the role their accountant plays in their financial world.
Accountants who view their position as primary financial adviser as unassailable should think again.
The greater the involvement of a financial adviser in a client’s affairs the more likely it is that the accountant’s role is vulnerable. Financial advisers don’t take this responsibility lightly but they will recommend changing accountants where they sense clients are being held back.
It’s remarkable how clients will readily pay more fees where there is linkage between what they want and the services offered. By only looking through the rear-view mirror, accountants may never actually
find out what their clients’ goals are, much less actively work with clients to achieve them.
It is not sufficient to simply offer compliance services. Clients of all types require additional services –insurance, retirement planning, investment advice, among others – without which there are significant consequences for clients and the firm.
Clients deserve to be told about matters that are relevant to their financial well-being. It’s too late to be enquiring about insurance after a calamity. How much better for your client to have proactively raised the importance of such matters before there was a crisis!
In doing the right thing by your clients and collaborating with other professionals, there is every chance that the referrals you give will be rewarded with new opportunities. These may take the form of additional fees for services required by your existing clients or new fees as your collaborating network of professionals send their own clients you way.
In 2017 Scott Charlton has issued a challenge to accountants, asking them to step up “be the complete adviser your clients need you to be.” In order to meet the challenge, Scott is urging Accountants to be bold. They need to have critical conversations with their clients; offer additional services which will help clients to achieve their goals; and have the courage to follow through and actually implement solutions for these clients.
The Bold Accountant Workshop
When: Wednesday 1 March 2017
Where: Level 13 Waterfront Place, 1 Eagle Street, Brisbane (CAANZ meeting rooms)
Time: 8.15am registration (for 8.30am start) – 11.30am)