You are a fiduciary representing the client’s interests. The accounting profession commands respect. One way to grow your business is through referrals, another is increasing wallet share or the fees clients pay for advice.
We often pigeonhole people, considering them specialists in a narrowly described field. One day, clients develop problems yet don’t know where to turn. Because you provide advice and don’t sell product, you are uniquely positioned to help. You need to determine how you will charge for that advice.
How you can provide value
How can you help your clients? Let’s start with the obvious reasons, or why they initially hired you.
- Tax preparation - tax minimisation is legal. Tax evasion is not. You file their taxes with the aim of minimising their tax bill. As the saying goes, “it’s not what you make, it’s what you keep”
- Representation - suppose they get audited. You represent them before HMRC, explaining how their tax return was prepared. This has huge value
Now we move into other areas where you can provide advice:
- Rent, lease or buy - the HBO series “Ballers” focused on US football players and financial advice: “If it drives, flies or floats, rent it.” Seriously, you can advise clients on the advantages and disadvantages of owning or leasing cars
- Executive compensation packages - no, you haven’t become a headhunter who negotiates their client’s employment contact. You can advise a client who might be taking their first long term overseas assignment of the tax consequences and the benefits they should negotiate with their employer
- Estate planning - your client may have earned their fortune, but the government is a silent partner when they die. There are strategies requiring advance planning that can reduce their eventual liability. You can help or refer them to experts
- Starting a business - your client may take early retirement and choose to follow their dream. They are now self-employed. They need lots of advice. If the business succeeds they may choose to sell. That business will need a proper valuation
- Surviving spouses - many older clients lived lives in defined roles. One partner made the money, the other ran the household. The aging breadwinner is concerned how their surviving spouse will cope if they die first. You can provide advice on structuring accounts so bills get paid and their anxiety is reduced
- Lending alternatives - banks are in the business of lending money, but... register with AccountingWEB for free to read the rest of the article.
About Bryce Sanders
Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. in New Hope, Pennsylvania.