Charlotte Ing: the rubber's hitting the business advisory
There's been so much talk about business advisory and so many discussions about how it's playing out. Some firms are doing it really well, some firms have added it to their arsenal but haven't put it into practice, and then there are firms who know the probably need to do something about it but haven't. Charlotte Ing and the team at Sagars Accountants have been offering and implementing business advisory for some time now, and she has kindly contributed her thoughts on: where business advisory is now, what barriers are limiting effectiveness, plus leaves a few tips on how to get ahead.
Where are business advisory services now compared to where they were initially touted to be?
Previously advisory would have been year end accounts or management accounts and a discussion around those figures. We would have then done some cashflow forecasts based on assumptions and discussions with the client, which would have previously taken time to put together. However with the implementation of products such as QBO and integrations with products such as Futrli, we can now truly be forward-thinking accountants as we have access to real time information and the ability to undertake sensitivity analysis. Using Futrli, that we have white labelled as Pulse powered by Sagars, we can now take this data and put it into a graphical format which allows us very quickly to identify trends and pick up patterns and any potential future issues, thereby allowing us to work closely with our clients to help them achieve their personal and business goals.
What are the biggest road blocks affecting business advisory services?
Time is the biggest factor affecting the progression of business advisory services. Work is shifting from compliance to advisory and we are now increasingly reliant on cloud software to bring in efficiencies that will intern create capacity so we can spend more time speaking to clients about their needs.
What approach do you take when recommending an app add-on to a business? And what tips do you have for getting clients across the line?
We look at apps as level 1 and level 2 apps. Level 1 apps are apps that can be implemented quickly and easily, with very little set up time required. If for some reason they didn’t work then you can very quickly stop using the apps and go back to a manual approach without impacting the business e.g. Autoentry and Receipt Bank. Level 2 apps are those that require thought and time. These apps are fundamental to the running of the business and if something was to go wrong and the initial set up was incorrect, it would have a big impact on the business and as a result potentially put strain on the relationship between the accountant and the client. Sagars would class stock management as a level 2 app such as Unleashed or job management software such as Tradify.
What does the future hold for business advisory, what would version 2.0 look like?
At Sagars we fully expect compliance fee income to reduce over the coming years as technology undertakes more of the work. We would expect business advisory fee income to increase on the back of more conversations with clients and up to date real time information using integrated apps. We see a lot of potential in Pulse powered by Sagars in the future.
Tradify is equipping business advisors with the tools and insights they need to service the trades industry. Find out how and get more details about our partner programme here.
Why is Tradify the #1 job management app for thousands of tradesmen? It’s the easiest to use, it’s an all-in-one tool, it’s designed specifically for the trades, and it cuts out the BS from their business. From quotes & invoices to timesheets, reporting, and job tracking & scheduling, Tradify lets electricians, plumbers, and other trade businesses do it all from a phone on site, or on a desktop.