How you can start offering Client Accounting Services quickly

This is the first installment in our “How to thrive at Client Accounting Services” series. This post was written by Hitendra Patil, Director of Customer Success at AccountantsWorld.

Does size matter in CAS?

To offer Client Accounting Services (CAS), you don’t need to be a big firm. You may not even need new clients.

If you already have 20-30 write-up / bookkeeping / accounting clients, you can sort them into a few categories, based on the amount of work you do for them. For example, you might group into three categories: simple write-up/after-the-fact work, some transactions processing, and almost all of the accounting work. From that, select clients that you do a lot of work for (e.g. “these are the 10 clients where I do far more than just write-up work”). What are the typical questions they’re asking, and how do you answer those questions? What common information do you give them regularly? From where do you get that information? Does it take too much time for you to compute/compile that information, or I can get it quickly from software?

Serious professional female advisor consulting client at meeting

The moment you figure that out – what is the demand/scope of work and how do I service it –  you can easily identify those existing clients who fit a need for a higher level of services but aren’t yet buying those from you – and you will also identify the possibilities of which additional services would make the most sense for such clients. Take those possibilities to all of your other clients who are not buying those services.

As an example, there may be a client whose business has sizable revenue, but they are obtaining just the month-end financial statements by asking you to only do write-ups. Such clients are missing opportunities that CAS can uncover for them. You can begin a discussion with them by saying:

“Some of our clients have similar business volume to yours, and are in similar industries as yours – and we’re able to deliver them insights (provide a couple of examples) that help them either solve X kinds of problems or leverage Y kinds of opportunities.  What would be the impact on your business if you can overcome similar challenges, or what is the value you can uncover for your business with similar insights?”

Look for the “aha” moments when you present those possibilities to the business owners. Those “ahas” tell you which of the CAS components you can realistically sell to such clients.

Idea and innovation concept

 

What if you are just starting your accounting practice?

Let’s say you’re about to start your firm. You don’t have many (or possibly any) clients. Obviously, you are likely to sign up any client that comes your way – referrals, very small clients, etc.

But you still need to keep thinking about which services you can provide with the technology you have (or plan to acquire).

In fact, many accounting software with subscription models have reduced the initial cash outflow for any accounting firm. It is not as expensive to start your firm. You can get started with a monthly or annual subscription model, and still have access to the capabilities you need to develop your processes the way you want.


Ready to start creating your own profitable CAS practice? We’re ready to help.

That’s why I use the word “possibilities” a lot – because it is possible to offer CAS even with low initial technology investment. CAS is all about possibilities. You are exploring the possibilities, and sharing the best possibilities with your clients and prospects.

If you are just starting up, the first step to starting your CAS practice is just assessing what you are capable of (your knowledge, experience, expertise, processes, insights, even your network of other professionals, etc.) and then identifying exactly which skills you have to master in order to provide some of these services or it could just simply be taking advantage of the skill sets you already have.

As an accountant, you already have a distinct skill set – accuracy, compliance, knowledge of local laws, the ethics, integrity, and technology, to name a few. And you’re capable of combining these things into reliable, trustworthy services. That’s why accountants are referred to as the most trusted advisors. You want to build upon your tools and skills. You leverage accounting technology to the fullest, to provide business insights to your clients so that they can make better decisions – not just create data for them after they have made their business decisions.

In the next part of this series of CAS posts, we will share some insights on how to price your CAS offering. If you don’t want to wait for the next post, you can listen to the podcast at the link below.

In this podcast, Hitendra Patil shows you why you need to proceed with CAS now, pitfalls to avoid, and the first three baby steps your firm can take to start its CAS practice.


Ready to start creating your own profitable CAS practice? We’re ready to help.

 

Hitendra Patil is the Director of Customer Success at AccountantsWorld, the author of Accountaneur: The Entrepreneurial Accountant, and one of the 100 most influential people in accounting, according to Accounting Today. He’s got his finger on the pulse of what’s driving public accounting into the future and is passionate about sharing those insights with you.

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