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Accountants offer tips on value-added services

14th Nov 2013
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Value-added services are now just part and parcel of an accountant’s day-to-day business with a client, according to practitioners.

New technologies such as cloud computing and the free, easily accessible communication that comes with it - such as Skype - allow practitioners to deliver new services to clients.

Paul Scholes, owner of Atria Associates, Claire Priestley, director of Clarand Accountants and Jay Modhwadia, a former practitioner who is now senior sales executive at Exact, talked about value-added services during the latest Exact-AccountingWEB video conversation on the 21st century client-accountant relationship.

Scholes said the nature of accounting services has changed in recent years. Things he previously regarded as extra, value-added services a few years ago are now integral to what he does. 

“By doing general compliance work and getting to know the client, extra services come out of the blue,” he said. “These days, we tend to work for clients and build a general fee for the entire years’ work regardless of what we do for them.”

Priestley agreed, saying that her firms offers value-added services to all clients as “the norm” and no longer charges by the hour.

When Modhwadia was in practice, he would offer clients “everything and the kitchen sink” as an extra.

Where he used to focus on legislative and compliance work, accountants now have to things such as business health checks and business planning support in their portfolio to help build relationships with clients.

“The hat of an accountant used to be a classic one,” he said. “Now, they are taking a consultative approach and this is benefiting small to medium sized businesses greatly.”

Cloud accounting made a difference to one added service in particular - the "virtual FD" service.

Scholes offers an FD service on a part-time basis for three clients, but it’s something he prefers to do face-to-face. Priestley offers FD support as a standard part of her service and would increase it based on client demand.

The suggested the following tips for accountants who want to increase their range of value-added services:

  • Get to know your clients on a level other than compliance
  • If your business model centres around compliance, then consider offering it to increase chances against competition
  • Look after relationships, as value-added services are key but “How you shape and sell them is governed by the relationships that you have

What value-added services do you offer? Watch the second edition of practitioner conversations and comment below it to let us know. 


Replies (2)

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By malcolm141
17th Nov 2013 10:34

Loss prevention

I 100% agree with Paul, unless the firms strategy is lowest cost where the lowest price because the added value.

As an accountant based in London, my take is that added value is/has been promoted to the profession as a profit improvement opportunity. However, I now see it as loss prevention.

I feel I need to roll in some added value (along with compliance) to keep clients happy. I call this retention marketing and it wasn't necessary years ago.

There are some networks out there who can help firms make the transition BUT just paying money isn't enough; accountants need to educate themselves.

What I have found is that added value business advice is really all about marketing. And, the beauty is that everything you learn to use with clients can be used on your own business.



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By Billy Kang
22nd Nov 2013 09:10

Value Adding - The way forward

Adding 'extras' to your standard compliance work is the only meaningful way to retain your clients. Or as Malcolm puts it 'loss prevention'. Standard compliance work will not separate your firm from another down the high street. Give them a good reason to stay with you. It is building meaningful relationship through value-added services - reads extras or add-on services, that we are able to retain client. Whether this will result in extra billings will depend how well you articulate. However, you must bring their attention to the 'extras' that you are providing. Otherwise it will go unnoticed, and your efforts will not be appreciated. May be you should 'invoice' them even if its F.O.C.

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