By Paul Latham
You have taken the first steps – having decided that you want to make the transformation and become a 21st Century Advisor to your high net worth business owner clients.
Step 1. You have understood that CPAs need COACHING (see link to previous blog) to help:
– Change your CPA Mindset
- From working “IN’ to working “ON” your business – and thinking more like a business owner
– Change the Perception of your Clients
- from the typical industry stereotypes (like “reactive” and “boring”) to “forward-thinking” and “proactive”
Step 2. You have recognized the need for a PROCESS (see link to previous blog) to help:
– Deliver high margin, added value services in such a way that is
- Sustainable over many years with any client – and
- Scalable across most of your high net worth business owner clients.
These first two steps – Coaching and Process – allow CPAs to reinvent themselves and become Most Relevant Advisor to their business owner clients.
Step 3. However, to truly Maximize CPA Business Potential there is an additional third step required – and that is ACCESS to EXPERTISE (whether that is business related expertise or personal planning for the business owner). Essentially, CPAs can only “get so far” by working alone and/or inside a “CPA Firm silo”.
CPAs can focus and specialize in the “right type” of clients (business owners in the “In-Between-Zone”) with the result that CPA marketing potential is limitless.
CPAs can approach those clients with confidence and lead them and control the discussion agenda – because those business owners have highly predictable business problems.
CPAs can personally work with those clients to help them create both a Vision and Standard Plans – where they most need help:
- Typically business owners need particular help with Standard Plans like:
- 4 Ways to Grow a Business
- 7 Business Wastes
- Team Communication Plan
- Leadership Plan
CPAs can be easily trained to personally deliver these advisory services. Those planning needs are obvious for any business – and as such they can be both “packaged and productized” (so become easy to sell and easy to deliver).
However, the CPA cannot solve all business owner problems. Sooner or later the CPA (working with their business owner client) will require some help – and specifically Access to Expertise.
There are 2 ways for the CPA to address this resource need – the hard way or the easy way.
The Hard Way to Resource Access to Expertise
The CPA Firm can invest in building their own consultancy practice by employing their own experts (“in-house”) where they perceive there to be the greatest client need for services. This brings the CPA some problems:
- Difficult to service all client needs
- Tends to encourage the CPA to prefer to sell “in-house” services (rather than perhaps where the client has a need not serviced)
- Brings recruitment difficulties – are they the “right” person?
- Typically business consultants are “expensive” employees – and that creates a clear financial risk for the CPA
- This is the 20th Century Model – most used by larger CPA Consulting Firms
The Easy Way to Resource Access to Expertise
The CPA Firm works in collaboration with outside experts – sometimes using a “sub-contractor” type arrangement. This brings the CPA many benefits:
- Possible to service ANY client need (no matter how rare or esoteric)
- CPAs concentrate on servicing client NEED rather than selling “in-house” services
- No recruitment difficulties – and can access “best of breed” expert to help client
- No employment cost or financial risk for CPA
- The ability to infinitely scale the CPA business
- This is the virtual 21st Century Model – ideal for smaller to medium sized CPA Firms
As we all know, the world has changed in recent years – and many successful businesses are increasingly becoming “virtual” (think Uber, Airbnb, Amazon etc.).
Where CPAs were previously limited by their lack of size and consulting resources – today the smaller, more agile and nimble CPA – with the right mindset – combined with Coaching – Process – Access to Expertise – can truly become Most Relevant Advisor to clients and Maximize CPA Business Potential – if they know HOW.